This one is via link. ‘Excalibur’s Lament’ is one of a number of poems on the theme Arthuriana, which is the title of the latest edition of Eye To The Telescope. Adele Gardner has edited this issue, and I am finding it fascinating to see how other poets approached re-telling, or re-imagining, the world of the round table.

Eye To The Telecope is an on-line journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, based in the USA, which has members in other countries. (Including at least one in the Grand Duchy of Canberra.) Scroll down to find my poem, and enjoy reading all the issue.

excalibur

He wouldn’t know a poem…

…if it had a business card that said A. Poem
(‘read me and weep’) which it presented to him
while waving a bright purple beret under his nose
(which organ is unable to detect the whiff of poesy)
while reciting itself, excitedly or coolly,
while pouring itself a sixth large glass of wine
(which would be hard, because of clutched beret and card case,
except that it would first return the beret to its poeting head,
at such an interesting angle, and would put the card case back
in a voluminous tote bag, full of its brother and sister poems
gathered into slim books which are now remaindered)
while squatting and shitting lines of the purest gold.
He just wouldn’t know it,
for what it seems to be.

P.S. Cottier

furtive beret

Talk to the beret

Now I could have the heading ‘nasty little poem’ for that but I’ve become a tad bored with that self-generated meme.

***

I’m been working on a little manuscript of fantasy poems at the moment; more about that anon. Speaking of that type of thing, there’s a nice competition on at the moment, run by the Science Fiction Poetry Association in the US, for poems of all lengths written in a speculative genre (fantasy, horror, science fiction etc.).   If you write such things, why not have a go?  It is only $2 (that’s the ‘somewhat more valuable than the Australian $ at the moment, but we’ll see after their election, American $’) to enter.  You don’t have to be a member of the SFPA to enter (I am a member), and it would be lovely to have more Antipodean entries.

It closes at the end of the month, and entries can be lodged on-line.

Publications and sloth

April 18, 2015

No, I am afraid you won’t get a picture of a sloth engaging in upside down cuteness on these austere pages. But here is one of some dogs. One of them is even upside down, and some say she is a cross between a dog and a sloth.
mango and scupper asleep

I have been at the beach for a week or so, and relatively slothful, aided by very dodgy internet access. Although I did enter the best poetry competition, whereby a list of ten words is provided and the entrant/masochist must write a poem containing each of the words. In 48 hours. There are, it seems, very few sloths in Canada. That festival of energetic composition is organised by Contemporary Verse 2. For some poets, this contest would seem overly prescriptive, but I quite like the challenge of using the ten words without them screaming ‘We were given, not found’. It keeps you on your poetic toes.

If you would like to read a poem I wrote which did not derive from a competition, please press this link. The poem deals with space and jazz, and is called ‘Miles and Beyond’. It was just published at Eye to the Telescope, which is the online journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, based in the United States, a nation to the south of Canada, also bereft of sloths. Diane Severson edited this issue, which is made up of speculative poetry about music.

Now, to drag sloths into a blog is terribly out of date; a bit like a parent trying to speak to a teenage child and speaking of ‘Instantgram’ and ‘Readit’. (Tragedy often wears a cardigan.)

In fact, including sloths here might be described as slothful.

***
The issue of Midnight Echo I mentioned in my previous post is now available for purchase. It is currently only in PDF, but will soon be available in different formats. I wrote a column about poetry and an actual poem for that issue, edited by Kaaron Warren.

UPDATE 21-4

Midnight Echo is now also in epub and mobi.

Tuesday poem: Pod, cast

April 29, 2014

Pod, cast

Cradled in my pod, my body shut up like a bedside book, with a bookmark of drugs inserted to continue me some day, I had a nightmare. It was an old fear for the fourth millennium, that of being buried alive. And it came to whisper panic in my ear; you are forgotten. They have entombed you in speed. No-one will be there, at journey’s end, to dig you out, little podded pea. Fool, to accept this alien life, to dream in airless space, a ghost not dead, a man suspended beyond hope. Hanging in time, rope of frayed expectations slipped around your neck, tightening. And still you fly stupefied, dumb, trusting those not yet born to release you. Listen to your heart beat the retreat, a jerking jazz rhythm of fear.

The living dead, that shady cast of zombie, of vampire, flickered like ancient film shadows through my mind, a hazy cloud of horror where no cloud ever forms, out here between one star and the next. Feeble belief of resurrection somewhere, beyond the years.

Sleep left me. Gulping, choking, drowning in doubt, my eyes scanned the dark inside of the pod, looking for escape, for any feature to tell me that I was, in fact, awake. That I was, in fact, alive. But the pod was like a closed eye, and I was trapped inside its blindness. How could I know? Was this lulling pod a grave? I fought to feel the walls of the capsule, read their enclosing story in Braille, but my arms were pinioned, would not shift. I was wrapped in spider’s silk, a stupefied unbreakable embrace. My disquiet lead me further inside myself, with no twine of reason to bring me out. Knotted in a strait-jacket, tangled in progress, I sped on into darkness.

Machines detected, read the chemicals, adjusted. Put me back to sleep, rocked a thousand years. But now I dream only of death, and the heavy years and the speed of light smother me. I staked my life on stability, that there will be no upheaval in which I will be swept away, an insect unmourned, amongst the crumbs of swarming stars. I am the unborn, dreaming in the womb, this metal womb, quickening towards my second birth, but bracketed in iron ifs and buts. Icarus with untried wings of steel. Hiatus, hubris and hell here, inside me, inside the pod, cast away.

P.S. Cottier
bigstock_snowflakes_and_stars_descendin_15991001

I wrote that piece of prose/prose poem for a competition in the United States way back in 2008. I was lucky enough to win, and actually went to the convention which had organised the competition in Wisconsin. (The Odyssey Convention.) This was a turning point in my writing, and although I had been exploring the speculative in my work, it certainly helped to strengthen that element.

Since then, ‘Pod, cast’ was republished in the Indigo Book of Australian Prose Poems, edited by Michael Byrne.

Currently, I have a poem up at Eye to the Telescope, the online journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association based in the United States. This one is edited by Robert Dutcher, and is one the interesting topic of ‘mundane’ science fiction, that is, the idea that we are basically stuck in our solar system with no aliens and no journeys to other galaxies, as undertaken by a million travellers in a million science fiction novels and films. And by my nameless traveller in the prose poem above.

Speaking of speculative poetry, here are the launch details for The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, which I have been editing with Tim Jones for several light years:

Melbourne, 6pm for a 6.30pm start, Friday 6th June, Collected Works Bookshop, 1/37 Swanston St, Melbourne. To be launched by renowned poet Philip Salom. This is to be a joint launch with Gemma White’s new collection, which is also being published by IP.

Canberra 6.30 for a 7pm start on Thursday 12th June at Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, ACT 2603. To be launched by the multi-award winning novelist Kaaron Warren.

There has been a wonderful response from poets to our request that they read poems from the anthology at the launches. I am looking forward to the two launches so much. Anyone reading this is most welcome to attend.

I’ll post the proper invitations here, and of course, sent them out (by email) to lotsa persons.

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Tuesday Poem