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:

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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.

Review at Verity La

August 13, 2016

I just had a long review posted at Verity La, of a book called Backlash: Australia’s Conflict of Values over Live Exports by Bidda Jones and Julian Davies.  I love writing for Verity La, as it published both great poetry (modesty doesn’t prevent me…) and long form reviews.  Check it out.

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This is a link to a poem I just had published at Verity La, called ‘Carrying an Injury’. I an settling down for a few weeks watching the World Cup in Canada, so it seems appropriate, although the players in the poem are male. And this is an image of a far less pretty sport than that being played in Canada:

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Last week I bought the latest Stephen King novel, Finders Keepers, and read it in the usual feast, all in one sitting. Each new book by Mr King leaves me actually trembling until I hold it, and obsessional until I have finished it. It’s a weird sort of bliss!

I can’t stand the idea that eventually, there will be no more new novels by Stephen King; his Carrie and Cujo and Pennywise will haunt his study like Dickens’s characters, looking for their creator.

Hopefully not for another thirty years! (Though I suppose that might be up to the writer himself…But can anyone believe that Stephen King would voluntarily stop writing?)

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

Wednesday 24th June, I am reading poems old and new at Manning Clark House in Canberra at 7.30pm. I think that Mark Tredinnick will be the other reader. More on that later.

I’ve been thinking about found poems recently, that is, poems made from bits of text found in other poems, or elsewhere (signs, newspapers, comments on blogs). Famously, Voltaire wrote that “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.”

I think recycling is a better metaphor. Although some types of recycling become vandalism: you know, where someone cuts all the pictures out of an old book, or makes a bag from an old volume of say, Voltaire. “Look, I’m an intellectual. I carry my smartphone in something that could once be read.”

But a found poem can be an interesting mutant. Something as dangerously delicious as a mushroom can sprout from other people’s words. A spore type of poetry? An unhappy monster?

Click this link to find a poem about a found poem who hates being just that. In fact, he is a lost and found poem, who finds himself at Verity La:

http://verityla.com/thy-poetry-and-thy-pathos-all-so-strange-ps-cottier/

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Other Tuesday poets may have found their poems on the beach, or at least made them up from lines from letters in a number of bottles. Those which were empty of wish-granting genies, that is.

Click this feather, dropped by a seagull, and find out:

Tuesday Poem

If you are reading this and live in the cities of Melbourne or Canberra, and don’t come to one of these launches, my drone will find you. It sprays honey and drops hungry wasps.

Just saying…

Click on the relevant poster to enlarge. Clever people manage to enlarge things before posting, but I am not at all geekish.

I have yet to receive any books, but I am sure that will happen soon.

I have my longest poem ever up at Verity La.
It is a list poem called ‘100 holes in my bucket’. Enjoy! I like this one quite a lot.
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