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.

Too busy Toosday

August 22, 2016

I apologise profusely for no original poem today. I am a tad busy at the moment.

Thursday 25th at 7.30, I am reading poetry at Manning Clark House, Tasmania Circle, Griffith. Many of the poems will have first been published on this very blog, or at Project 365 + 1. I will be reading for about 30 minutes, as will Hazel Hall, the other reader.  There is an entry fee of $10, I think, which covers wine, some small items of food and the wee literary stuff.

On 27th August (Saturday) I’ll be moderating a discussion on The Poetics of Politics, at the National Library of Australia (a big building by the lake). The immoderators/speakers are Lizz Murphy and Susan Hawthorne, and it happens at 12pm, just after a launch of novelist Kaaron Warren’s new book, The Grief Hole, at the very same library at 11am.

On the 31st August I’ll be going to the launch of Award Winning Australian Writing in Melbourne, and reading a poem, and then attending the announcement of the Australian Catholic University Poetry Competition results the next day. I am short-listed for that, but I don’t think I won a prize this year, for various reasons.  Still, they produce a really nice collection of poems short-listed in the competition.

 

life-hair

Then I will hopefully get some writing done.  Plus I’ll soon be proofreading a new chapbook of poems.  More about that later.

 

ship-went-away

Frequent Flyers:  The Lives of Coastal Birds is a group exhibition currently showing at Durras Progress Hall, cnr Corilla & Banyanda Streets, South Durras, NSW, running until Sunday 29th May.  On that Sunday, at 3pm, there will be a poetry and music performance at the venue, and I’ll be reading some bird poems, as will Sarah Rice, Johanna Rendle-Short, and Kerrie Nelson.  Helen Maxwell, who has organised the event, will be reading a poem by Francesca Rendle-Short and another one by Sue Fielding. It sounds like a fun afternoon!  There will be flutes and ukuleles, although probably not at the same time.

Sunday 29 May, 3pm – Bird concert and poetry recital – followed by exhibition closing drinks  $10 – BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL.  For bookings contact Helen Maxwell helen {AT} helenmaxwell.com, or ring 0439 876 645.

South Durras is a beautiful part of the world, about two hours drive from Canberra.  The photo below shows the main surf beach, from the dunes.

beach

 

20151102_182320

Smith’s Alternative used to be a bookshop and is now a venue. I was lucky enough to be asked to be the first poet to read as part of ‘That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday’ aka An Evening with P.S. Cottier, by MC Norm de Plume.

I really enjoyed chatting to Norm (aka Josh) about writing and reading my poetry. In between there was a really lovely set by musician Gabriela Falzon. I wanted to listen more closely to the lyrics, but I had to compose a poem from words given to me by the audience at this time. God damn them. The words were:

aardvark
relic
lumps
flaccid
flying.

Here’s what I wrote in ten minutes or so, between the interview (why, how, where) and the reading (what):

So I googled aardvark, and it took me
to South America, where the plants
are lumps of pain, needling the air,
the air thin as capillaries.
I want to be a gaucho,
chasing beef and capybara
through the blank page plains.
I wear chaps like parchment,
tattoed with macho glamour.

So I fell asleep, my pen flaccid
as a pancake’s Sunday hammock.
I am no gaucho, my purple bolas
do not spin. There is no flying
revelation, no roasted meal
in front of tossing, avid fire.
All I have is knowledge,
received knowledge, that the aardvark
seeks ants amongst ruins, as I seek
relics of greater words.
The cactus blooms, and no-one sees.

P.S. Cottier

Rough as a superannuated gaucho’s knees, but I enjoyed the process. (That is unedited, except for the spelling of aardvark, which is a word specifically invented for spelling comps.)

Smith’s has been a significant place for me. My first book launch was held there back in 2009. I wore the same dress tonight that I did then. My second poetry book was also launched there, and I remember independent MP Nick Xenophon read a poem from the book, the night the bar was opened. (Hal Judge launched that book, and Geoff Page launched the first one.)

Senator Xenophon takes a gamble

Senator Xenophon takes a gamble

Now Nigel is the proprietor, and I hope that the space works as a venue for years to come. Thanks to everyone who came along.

I suppose this can act as a Tuesday poem after all!

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets by pressing here.

I have been asked to lead off a new series of poetry readings/discussions about poetry/general poetic hi jinx (the lesser known relative of the execrable Jaja Binks). Details for Canberrans/people with private jets who are not Donald Trump:

That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday @Smith’s Alternative, Alinga Street Civic
An Evening With P.S. Cottier
7pm, $5

That’s this woman, escaped from the psychedelically besmirched attic.

quiet dress

I am looking forward to being quizzed by JC Inman, fellow poet, about what inspires me and why I do it, and a myriad of other matters. There will be music! Hopefully composition on the spot! And then I will read for twenty minutes or so.

Do come along and keep the poet in fete money.

(I have an awful feeling that rugby may be mentioned, too…Josh Inman has some New Zealand blood, I believe.)
***
And, if you are seeking a Tuesday Poem, please press this link: http://cordite.org.au/poetry/toil/a-hard-poem-to-market/ That will take you to Cordite Poetry Review. This issue is on the idea or theme or prompt of toil, and is edited by Carol Jenkins.

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets by pressing here.

By late Monday, I will be far too happy (I hope) to type.