I just had three poems published at Eureka Street called ‘Three aspects of Australian racism’, ‘Doing a Bradbury’, and ‘Release the dogs of scorn!’.

Why not have a read? I was quite angry when I wrote two of them, and I think it shows. Some think that poetry is the loser if there’s too much anger, but I don’t necessarily agree.

A very well-balanced type of poem, where everything is smooth and lovely, and where any aspect of the external world that manages to sneak in seemingly exists only for the benefit of the poet, begins to annoy me very quickly. There’s certainly a place for political poetry of the more obvious sort, so long as it avoids rant and cliché. You can comment at Eureka Street, should you feel so inclined.

And here’s a very cool picture of a giant. I’m not quite uncouth enough to make a political statement out of him. Not this week, anyway.

giant-drink-stream

(For overseas readers, the Bradbury mentioned in one poem is Steven Bradbury, who won Australia’s first Winter Olympics gold medal in a memorable way.)

Forty-league boots

We cross the Pacific
leaping between plastic islands.
Great ballooning whales
squeak beneath our soles,
harpooned by our heels.
We  are the waste-walkers —
everyone her own Jesus.

PS Cottier

under-water

So we’re contributing to the flooding of small Pacific nations, while creating huge floating islands of trash. Gives a whole new meaning to the word recycling. ‘We’, in this context, refers to all the industrial economies that refuse to take global warming seriously.

And I know Jesus walked on water, not convenient piles of trash, but it seemed to make a kind of sense.

Greyhounds release

Let them run —
but run as they would
chasing the wind or their mate
not a screeching curl-tailed baton
flung round the track
in a circular curse.

And let them live —
just as long as greyhounds live
not dispatched for slowness
and spaded into the bush
in a quotidian slaughter
nose to tail, tail to nose.

P.S. Cottier

 

greyhound

So weird to find myself agreeing with a Liberal government…But the Baird Government is right in banning greyhound racing.  (As is the Labor — with a sprinkling of Green — ACT government.)  No decision is ever totally pure, but this ‘sport’ is undeniably cruel, and the sooner it is abolished, the better.

To all those whinging about the attack on the working man (and it is usually categorised in that gender specific way) that the ban represents; note that there is something incredibly insulting in this thinking.  Working class does not mean cruel and unthinking, and unable to act ethically. Most people with pet dogs would shudder to think of them being treated in the way this industry has treated greyhounds (and other animals used as live bait) for years.

My PhD on images of animals in the works of Charles Dickens touched on the history of the RSPCA, and around the time it was created, there were people mounting exactly the same arguments against bans on cock-fighting and the like, categorising such activities as important recreations for the working man.  Implying that the ‘working man’ is necessarily a brutal moron.

The NSW Labor Party, in defending the greyhound racing industry, is showing that it is pathetically out of touch with anything progressive.

The ban, which comes into effect 1 July next year, does open up thinking about how we treat other animals, and that has to be a positive development.  Go, you good thing!

(I know there probably should be an apostrophe in the title, but it looked so bad I removed it.  Fussy.)

UPDATE: October 2016

The Baird NSW Government has changed its mind and decided not to ban this cruel and outdated ‘sport’. Weak and very sad.

All I know about poetry
(Part 1)

1. A rural location can easily slip into nineteenth century pastiche.
2. Some people still worry so much about form that they forget the poem part.
3. Shouting is neither good nor bad, but thought is quite worthwhile.
4. Better Byron than Wordsworth (see 1. above).
5. Those who avoid politics like herpes are often boring —
except for your rare and surprising, Emily-grade genius.
6. Birds are usually to be avoided like the word ‘roseate’ —
why write a poem about a feathered poem inevitably more complete?
(Exceptions include galahs, budgies, swamp dwellers, vultures, and anything else.)
7. Even an Irish accent doesn’t guarantee a good poem.
8. Gatekeepers are attracted to the mundanely beautiful.
9. Bathos is easy.
10. Most people regard poetry as a weird type of embroidery —
at least you only prick your soul on it.

spectacled-caiman

Everyday Canberra scene

Now I hope you have been taking notes.  There will probably not be a quiz next week, but still…In another life I was a hideous teacher in an old-school school.

Project 365 + 1, or my involvement in it, is drawing to a close at the end of the financial year, which is purely coincidental.  30 poems in 30 days.  There should be a law against it!

On mistakes

March 31, 2016

So you’ve laboured over a poem, and it’s as near to finished as it will ever be.  So you upload it and pay the fee for a comp, and sit back and have a cup of tea (or coffee, or wine, depending on the time).

So you realise that you sent a draft, and that draft was over the line limit.  So you refill the form with the proper poem uploaded, and ask if it can be substituted.  So you kick your computer and yourself.  So you don’t know if the poem will be disqualified.  So you may never know!

So you have a glass of wine, and stuff the time.  Wine is the only cure for idiocy.

cheers

So you are not as celebratory as the woman in the picture.

UPDATE:  So on the way down to your favoured wine place, you remember that you are picking up your daughter from school later on, and therefore, that you can’t drink.  Let middle class sulking erupt like an erupty thing!  (You maintain you are working class, but people tend to laugh when you say that.)  So you vent on your blog like a whingey Vesuvius.

UPDATIER: The lovely administrators have accepted the second submitted version of my poem.  Drinking in celebration is so much nicer!  (Please read with slightly slurred eyes.)