April 19, 2017
She stalks them, device in hand, in a modern bloodless hunt. They hide near buildings, the cute light beings, and she captures them with her e-net. The one she desired most appeared; half hedgehog and half platypus.
‘Great!’ she said. She had been searching just for him. He was king of all the cute light creatures. She lined up the e-net with the furry ball, with his fringe of pink spikes.
The hedgepus pounced, all claws and teeth. He skinned and ate her, with the efficiency that only practice brings. They stalk humans, the light things, and no nets are necessary. Their hunt is not bloodless.
His cuteness returned, with only a few stains on the fur near his mouth. People would assume that he had eaten too many berries. The hedgepus is said to relish the raspberry.
A kidney marked the spot, flung out like confetti.
This micro story was highly commended in the Microfiction category of the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Awards for 2016, just announced. (I’ve edited it a little since then.) I also won another category, called the ‘How-Tweet-It-Is Poetry Award’. I won’t post that one, though, as I have submitted it for publication Elsewhere. That second award allowed me to try out a poem short enough for Twitter, without joining that foul and parasitic ‘conversation’.
I also enjoy writing the occasional wee story, like the one above, safe from the constraints of character. And often plot… Prose poetry morphs into story quicker than seagulls wolf chips.
Very happy to be highly commended for a tiny horror story, too.
Next week, I promise fewer internal organs, and even a different image.
January 20, 2017
On the sticky retirement of myth
Pegasus got too old
so Bellerophon melted him for glue.
Useless glue; for each pot is full
of feathers. Lovely scrapbooks
are ruined by inconvenient discards,
as grandmothers grow downy beards,
and babies sport Trumpy wigs.
And they fly into the air, too,
the photos, nay, the very books,
and escape into the ether,
to gallivant with feckless clouds.
Never use a famous wingéd horse,
where a broken legged nag will do.
There’s a bit of my recently adopted veganism peeking around the corner of that poem!
A thoughtful review of my chapbook Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth just appeared at the Science Fiction Poetry Association website (also extracts of the review appear in in Star*Line, the Association’s journal). The reviewer is Sandra J. Lindow, a well-known poet in the speculative field. (The review appears quite a way down the linked page.)
Ms Lindow writes of the chapbook that that ‘(t)he tone clip-clops down a slope elevated by the language [of] Victorian fairy-lore poetry…’. I hadn’t consciously thought of that, but she is quite right. That’s what happens when you write a PhD on Dickens, I guess! And Goblin Market has always fascinated me. The review refers to Christina Rossetti, author of that long poem.
Nice to have an Australian chapbook reviewed at the US based site. I am a member of the SFPA, and recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction, horror, or fantasy poetry.
I was rapt to read that ‘P.S. Cottier’s slender chapbook of nineteen fantastic poems is like an elegant carriage ride through a department store of social criticism.’ Or perhaps I should say enraptured, in keeping with that older time?
Now I’m putting my fingers in my ears and repeating ‘la-la-la’ during a certain inauguration ceremony. Feel free to join in.
December 31, 2016
I feel almost forced to reflect, like a cross between Narcissus and the kid in that eye device in Clockwork Orange.
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.
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!
August 15, 2016
A short wander through the head of a poet
‘I am finding a lot of this poeting business is learning how to hack your own thinking.’ (SB Wright)
Axing myself near every day
with nouns like blades
or is that the verbs,
sneaking and executing
behind my weary back?
Adverbs are the worst,
obviously, and I try
to expel them from thought.
Does a bear? Does a bear?
It doesn’t work, naturally.
My head is a jungle
of the old Tarzan sort,
and even a cunning machete
won’t clear a way,
despite avid hacking,
and the sticky tape I use
to reattach feckless fingers.
I will staple a handy volume
to my brow, perhaps
one that tells how
to write truth slant,
like Dickinson E,
and to be picaresque,
and appropriately Byronic.
A coupling that, of itself,
will cause sparks to leap
as if one were to jump start
an elderly ute gone bad.
Now, where are my cables?
Is this an Allen key
I see before me?
Statbadgers of the world unite!
Pick up your tongues like sticks,
and lick the befuddlement of brains
from cracked and gnarly windows.
SB Wright is a poet who, this year, is detailing the process of writing and learning more about poetry at his blog. It is well worth a look. He is far more honest about the struggle involved in writing than many of us, particularly when it comes to how he manages a ‘real job’ (my words) while trying to write. He posts actual numbers, written by helpful Statbadgers for those who like that type of thing.
Occasionally he also posts one of the results of these struggles, aka a poem, and he frequently directs you to poems by others, or books and talks about poetics. (Poetics is like choreography, but involves people who are a lot more clumsy.)
SB Wright is not plagued by adverbs in his poetry, incidentally. That was poetic licence.