Very happy that my suggested name for a beer to be served at the baseball at the Canberra Cavalry’s matches was the winner of a poll by the brewery.  Designated Bitter is the name, and I can’t wait to try it!  Bentspoke will have the beer on tap at the ball park.  You can read more about that here.  Next to having a beer called Penelope’s Special, this is as good as it gets!  Here’s the logo.

DBdecal

To celebrate, here’s a poem I first posted 5 years ago on this blog.

 In the pub

Wedges of moon
float in my glass
sky lemon stings

Vodka ice glass
nine tenths hide below
Cold leg’s hard kick

Poker beeps
sour head nods in shame
beer swims laps

Salt chips taste
absent smoke feathers
long since flown

PS Cottier

That’s all a bit grim, really, but I’m too stuffed to write one about the joys of beer (and baseball) just now, as…

I returned from Bega an hour ago, a town just inland from the far south coast of NSW, where there was a launch of a new publication; a chapbook called Muse which will hopefully appear once every season.  It is the sister publication to Mnesomnye, an online journal edited by a group of women on the south coast.  It contains great photos by Jodie Dickinson.

Muse

Bega was a real surprise; a great bookshop where the launch was held (Candelo Books), a table raising money for Rohingya refugees, and a really nice shopping strip on Carp Street.   I wish I could have spent more time there.

Driving back there was about a kilometre of highway with enormous cows grazing unconstrained on each side, so it wasn’t exactly like Braddon.

 

Theatre Tuesday

October 9, 2017

Sedation group happy

So you’ve been feeling a bit past your use-by date, and a little tarnished by time.  Perhaps you are terrified that you are losing your way, and becoming the type of writer who repeats themselves, not to work and rework ideas like an artisan kneading bread, but because they can’t do anything else.  You meet that type, and they piss around the corners of conversations, lest new ideas insinuate and undermine their certainties.

And then someone* finds one of your poems, tucked away on this very blog, and includes it in a theatre work, and it is given a new voice and body by an actor**.  And you listen to it take its place in the work, and feel glad that someone felt its energy and its humour; a humour wedged between despair and hysteria.

Because you’re a total dag, you adopt a horizontal position in a photo amongst some of the other poets, and the actors.  You*** would underline how much the production meant to you in some alien form of punctuation.  You really need to discover decorum, rather than dwell in a cellar of rum.

*Adele Chynoweth, who directed the work Under Sedation, currently showing at The Street Theatre, as well as selecting/arranging the poems

**Ruth Pieloor (The other actor is Ben Drysdale and you can probably spot him in the photo above.)  The photo below shows Ruth adopting a Polonius stance, after the production.

r as p

***You obviously doesn’t mean you, dear reader.

 

Moderately threatening bird

Between budgie and hawk
you flutter your mild wings,
which still cause wee jumps
in heart rate or blood pressure -
more wallaby than pole vault.
You don’t pick eyes out
like ravens of ill repute
(though I’ve always been partial
to those most Victorian birds).
You don’t trade messages with the dead,
or lead the undead back to tossed bed
of sea doona, or semen sheet.
Yet you are somewhat disquieting,
with your cleverness beyond our control.
So we clip your wings, and ignore
the unclipped birds flocking in our heads.
Ideas swarm like sparrows
and each one is falling into dread.

PS Cottier

starling

Something weird is happening with that poem’s formatting, in that it won’t let me insert a proper em dash, just a hyphen.  Moderately threatening glitches/your less successful witches/wedged in the keyboard like sandwich ham.  (Said witches also make you experiment with Instant Poetry, which is A Truly Dangerous Thing.)

For those in Canberra, I’ll be doing a reading at University House next week, Wednesday 8th of February.  This is the series that used to be at The Gods, and the other readers are Chloe Wilson and Keith Harrison.  You can eat there before, should you wish, from 6pm, and the readings start at 7.30pm, in the Drawing Room.  It costs $5 for the unwaged and $10 for those with gainful employment.  (Otherwise called Not Full-time Poets.)

I’ll be reading my usual mix of poems about elves, and poems with a serious political slant.  Often both exist in the same poems.  I sometimes think I should do a collection called Fairies of Social Realism Playing Football on Mars.  Or perhaps I already did.

The new year is finally picking up, and I have had news of a couple of forthcoming publications, which I shall post about soon, witches permitting.

 

 

bigstock-Barbells-781666

I feel almost forced to reflect, like a cross between Narcissus and the kid in that eye device in Clockwork Orange.

Achievements:

I leg pressed 200kg, which is pretty damned good.
Lots of publications. Lots!
My chapbook Quick Bright Things came out.
I did more live readings this year.
I was highly commended in many a poetry competition, which is winning’s peculiar cousin, sitting in the corner playing endless games on his device.

Not so achievey:

I spent too much time worrying about the news, and letting it affect me.
My budgie won’t talk.
My canaries won’t sing.

20151016_114238

Irresolute:

I don’t do resolutions, partly based on the fact that I heard two very fit people at the gym sneering at those they called ‘the resolutionists’, who join in January and are never seen after February.

But I will continue with the poeting, the gym, and letting the budgie teach me budgie. And this blog will continue as long as blogging is a thing, and Tuesdays exist.  Back to Tuesdays after the celebrations end.

Happy New Year, and easy on the Rabbie Burns!

Firstly, if you want to hear me talk about poetry at some length, and read a few poems, please go to the Verity La podcast.  Michele Seminara and Alice Allan are the interviewers/fellow discussants, which means that they like hurling questions like flattened orbs, but in a polite kind of way.  I am just getting up the courage to listen to myself.

Secondly, I was in a most excellent night at The Salt Room on Friday 23rd September.  I was the first reader, armed with lectern, and stayed rooted to the spot, even if my poetry didn’t.  I read about fantastic creatures and climate change.

Then came Miranda Lello, who read a long poem, or poetry sequence, called Election Day 2086 (a memoir, a map), which she had written for the reading.  She also made a zine specifically for the night.  The election described in very grounded in Canberra, but a Canberra that stands as a kind of ghost of the current one.  Black Mountain Tower

‘…rises from the forest pointing
To our neo-retro-future selves
Empty for decades beaming signals to the stars –
Stories of school groups’ noisy chattering
The cruelty of children…

She is a great reader/performer, and I enjoyed her travels in time, and the way she recasts the very familiar in a slip of unfamiliarity. She needs no magic call box. Or lectern, either!

Scott Wings also dealt with time, but for me his use of space was the most remarkable thing; his crawling up a tree by lying on the floor, his pacing the room, so that even the shyer people up the back were made part of the performance.  If you gave Scott a lectern, I think he’d probably use it in some unexpected way.  His work is quite moving, too, dealing with aspects of his life and how he came to poetry.  Here we all are:

salt-room

Joel Barcham and Andrew Galan were their usual form of excellent, too, and I am very happy to have been asked to read at The Salt Room.

Yesterday (and thirdly) I went up to Sydney for the  inagaural  first Poetry at Sawmillers reading, and enjoyed the brief taste of the lower north shore.  Some really good poetry read and performed, and I’ll post a link to the winner’s poem if it is published.  For me, sitting at a local pub with a view of a bay and a bridge, sipping booze was so pleasant I can imagine another poet, say SP (“Sippy”) Cottier, who would miss the reading and simply stay on the terrace, sunning herself like one of the lizards living under the succulents on the deck who have no idea that they have a view worth about 3.5 million dollars.

But I am not that poet, and really enjoyed reading my poem, which I present forthwith:

7 ways to look at a sculpture

Firstly, it seemed a frozen poem,
which I read in different drafts
as I skirted around it.

Then it was time captured,
as if to trap the watchers,
and so release us from fervent rush.

By Wednesday I saw it more
as a mere mirror to catch
any cracked thought I threw at it —

but the next day it restated
its being as a question, set to
disrupt our certainties with what?

Friday, it seemed to push up the sky,
a small, persistent fist clenched
against wind and mess and change —

but this changed on Saturday.
The grass seemed to give birth to it
as tulip, rocket and shining tree,

which unfurled into beauty
on the stretching, languid, seventh day,
an exclamation, an endless ah!

P.S. Cottier

Now I am off to stare at the Verity La site to see if I’m brave enough to listen to me.

***I have also received my new chapbook, and will post about that very soon.  That’s a fourthly.

UPDATE:  I listened to the podcast and I’m not as inarticulate as I had feared.  I particularly like the discussion on ecopoetry and climate change.