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.
January 10, 2017
Corrugations echo with cluck,
the occasional illicit crow,
ear-pecked neighbours pick fights;
shrill voices make 6 a.m. alarms.
Frosted into internal mush,
harder shell of fallen white,
strawberries mimic the avid snails
munching them like Frenchmen.
Orange peel, meat and coffee
strewn on sacred stewing mounds
create decomposition. Disbelief
that she knows so little, cares less.
An old poem this one, and I don’t think it’s been published anywhere before.
In Canberra the bigger backyards tend to be in the innermost suburbs, although many old houses on big blocks are being demolished for units. So many a chicken scratches within a few kilometres of Parliament House. (Insert manure joke at will.)
Happy new year, by the way.
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!
December 21, 2016
It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem
right now, a satellite says.
Cold, but not cold enough
to freeze a woman, kill a man,
or icicle a donkey.
But babies are mere hope,
hope wrapped in folds of flesh,
and that needs relief from wind.
Even 12 degrees will bite
a baby with teeth of blue,
suck out crimson hope
faster than any ghoul.
So came a shed, some hay,
the pleasant fug of cattle.
And god, mewling in the grain,
seeding time, forever.
It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem,
a satellite says, just now.
The funny thing is that when I searched for the weather in Bethlehem, I was first directed to the United States where there’s another place by that name.
Have a wonderful Christmas and see you next year (through my special reverse-blog glasses).
December 13, 2016
Very happy that my wee book Paths Into Inner Canberra has been short-listed in the non-fiction category of the ACT Writers Centre Publishing Awards. Last year the book I edited with Tim Jones called The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry was highly commended in the poetry category, which is a different kettle of aliens.
The photo by Geoffrey Dunn above shows me pedalling vigorously (or coasting) between genres. Of course, poetry often describes the world in all its maddening detail from a slightly different perspective. Slant, as one Ms Dickinson put it. So rather than speaking of the bike-path running between poetry and non-fiction, perhaps we should picture two lanes separated by a weirdly curving, vivid orange line. Poetry as high-vis non-fiction? Non-fiction as poetry elongated into paragraphs? Mmm, I think I need to do a bit more thinking from under my invisible helmet.
I’m afraid I haven’t read the other non-fiction books nominated. Here is a link to all the nominations. I have read the two poetry collections nominated, and they are both excellent.
Looking forward to the announcement on Thursday, and I am more than happy that a book that retails for $4 (plus postage) has made it to the short-list. Makes an excellent alternative to the type of Christmas card in which Santa hovers over the chimneys like a rum-filled Hindenburg.
My new poetry collection, Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth, marks a return to fairies. But often rather unpleasant ones, not so far removed from reality. It is also available at that link.
UPDATE: 16-12 Very happy that Paths received a Highly Commended at the awards last night. Building a City – C.S. Daley and the Story of Canberra by Jennifer Horsfield was the winner in this category, and well done to her.