October 3, 2016
Here’s the cover of my new book, Quick bright things: Poems of fantasy and myth. It features an excellent illustration by Paul Summerfield, based on the poem ‘The Laws of Cricket rewritten for the Fairy World’ inside the book. It’s a chapbook, with 28 pages packed full of striking gnomes, somewhat sporty fairies, unpleasant elves, skiving but environmentally responsible goddesses, underachieving ghosts, paisley pitbulls, and similar oddnesses.
I particularly like the see through paper after the front cover (and before the back cover) but you can’t see that here. (A kind of parchment, I think.) It feels great, and adds an appropriate air of mystery to the chapbook. I am celebrating its arrival with a coffee in this photo.
The title, by the way, comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where Lysander says:
And ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
The book is available from Ginninderra Press in the Picaro Press imprint. It costs $5 plus postage. Or buy it direct from me if you are in Canberra. I’m thinking about a wee launch for this wee book, although I’ll certainly be selling it at readings before any such potential extravaganza. (The ISBN is 9781760412197, by the way.)
Note that this is not a book intended for really little children, as some of the fantasy creatures are fairly awful. This is my first collection of purely speculative poetry, if we ignore The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, which I edited with Tim Jones. And that is full of Other People’s Poems. Here is the cover in greater detail:
Overseas (or local) buyers can also contact me via the contact form. This is the best option if you’d like to arrange a signed copy.
August 10, 2015
No, there is not a poem called ‘Via link’ at that link, but there is one called ‘The laws of cricket rewritten for the fairy world’ and one called ‘All the ships of the world’. I am obviously overwhelmingly worldly. The publication is Eureka Street.
I am very happy with the cricket poem, as it combines a couple of interests, namely, weird imaginary creatures and sport.
It was written a couple of months back, and is therefore not a feeble attempt to escape the true hideousness of the Ashes* by an escape into fantasy. But please, if you wish to read it that way, be my guest. Leave a comment at Eureka Street, if you feel that way inclined.
The ships of the world poem is far angrier and political, although it does contain several puns. You have been warned.
Other Tuesday Poets may or may not be celebrating England’s victory in the Ashes. Some may not even follow cricket. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.
I’m going to watch some netball.
*That means the Ashes series for men in this post.
April 5, 2015
He is risen indeed!
— like Daniel Vettori, one-handed catch,
or Wingard marking like a boofy angel,
or Medhurst steadying before the net,
but with no ageing, no hamstring tweak,
and no second division.
And one day, we will see his face.
Perhaps tomorrow, or Tuesday week.
Now, for benighted foreigners/those from non-cricketing, non-netball, non Australian Rules Football nations (for I hear that such places actually exist):
* Daniel Vettori is a cricketer who plays for New Zealand, who took a spectacular catch on the boundary in a recent World Cup match. I shall say no more about the eventual result of the tournament, although the word ‘plucky’ springs to mind. (Or plucked.)
* Chad Wingard is an AFL (Australian Football League) player who took a fantastic mark playing for Port Adelaide in a match against St Kilda last season. (A mark is where you leap up to catch the ball, often using another player as a fleshy ladder.)
* Natalie Medhurst is a prolific scorer in the Australian netball team, who exemplifies calmness and accuracy under pressure.
The ‘he’ of the title is rumoured to have been born in a non-cricketing, non-netball, non-Aussie Rules playing country. Can this possibly be true? (-: I shall try and understand this as I eat my weight in chocolate.
June 25, 2014
A game of two halves
The leaf seemed to be symmetrical,
a neat seam running between halves,
opening into two jagged edged wings.
But look closely. DNA scissors slipped,
so one side is wider than the other.
If it flew, it would flap lop-sided, lurching
like film hunchbacks in mad scientists’ labs.
Nature’s dropped stitches, strict patterns misread
knit perfection. White Staffies’ black eye patches,
piratical, the thrown ink blot puddles sloshing
on magpies, the pale amber stripe that glints,
floats in calm sea blue eyes of my daughter.
She looks unwinking at misshapen leaves,
falling elliptically, ways gone widdershins.
That child is watching, with her opal eyes,
envying my air-stroke. Poor thing, to be always
so rooted to ground, a fleshy turnip, although soon
I too will form one bump, just one, in thick brown
rotting carpet. But I will have tasted wavy air,
felt its shoulders spin me into curved flight.
Bowler has sent me down as googly, circuitously
aimed towards tree stumps. Flocking downwards,
kinked arrows of flight, our debut is denouement,
yet we knot a rug of mulch to warm tall parent.
We never die, you see, for we conjure up spring,
sleeping under us. Or so we will, if that girl,
wound into kicking action, would leave us in stolid peace.
Instead, we leap, and fly again; in jerky errant judders.
A rather confusing title; who didn’t think of The World Cup when they read the soccerific headline? Certainly, I have been losing as much sleep to the round ball as I usually do to Stephen King when he has a new novel out. The sporting metaphors used are mostly cricket-related though. Hence the cicada you may just pick out amongst the leaves in the photo.
That is an unpublished and old poem, from my ‘running on a bit’ period, but I quite like it.
There are many wonderful poems published this week at Tuesday Poem. Hop over and check them out:
January 28, 2014
Perfect beyond compare, the composition
glimpsed behind the sand dune, visitation
of a nation, expressed in three fork prongs:
a cricket stump, a tinnie, and a single thong.
Was there an arranger, of design intelligent,
or was it just luck, dumb evolution, that bent
time and space to make this eloquent trio?
Leprechauns fix just one shoe, but there’s no
Irishman likes cricket, it’s just not their game.
Should I search for walkers gone lame,
one side leaning? Or a patriotic drunk
who made tribute, through placing this junk,
into a precise summation of our Antipodes:
weird sport, sour booze, and feet liking breeze?
A very light poem indeed today. Ye gads, it’s not even a proper sonnet! Yesterday was the public holiday for Australia Day (which was Sunday the 26th, for all you benighted foreigners), and the flags hopped out like feral rabbits. I find the yobbo aspects of patriotism very hard to take.
But the rhyming thing above celebrates a moment when I saw a thong (a flip-flop for all you benighted foreigners), a tinnie (an aluminium drink can that once contained beer – oh, do keep up!), and a cricket stump (surely you know what that is?) discarded at the beach.
Meanwhile, of course, morons are killing sharks in Western Australia as they occasionally bite people who are in the water. Meanwhile, our navy is reportedly pushing boats of asylum seekers back to Indonesia. Meanwhile, we still don’t recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
But at least we beat the Poms in cricket. (Men’s cricket, that is.)