Monday, July 26, 2004

Stayed up last night, late, to watch the finish of le tour de France. A bit more interesting than last year - the finish, that is, not the overall result.

We'd just got off the plane from Melbourne around 9pm and ought to have gone to bed early but there we were at 2 in the morning, slightly bug-eyed and a school day ahead.

Monday, July 19, 2004

more ek-phrasing

I'm going to be doing some more ekphrasis stuff with the Diverse poets in a couple of weeks. This time we're responding to paintings in Australian Surrealism: The Agapitos/ Wilson Collection which is currently at the S.H. Ervin Gallery on Observatory Hill. The exhibition is now in its last weeks. We are reading on the final Sunday, 8 August at 3pm. The reading is free (but you have to pay $8 for exhibition entry) and will feature four of us: Marcelle Freiman, Carolyne Bruyn, Robert Kennedy and myself.

I spent last Saturday afternoon there, walking around, making notes, having a coffee. As well as paintings by obvious contenders such as James Gleeson or Albert Tucker there were a couple of Jeffrey Smart pictures, a Joy Hester and two German artists who were interned in Australia during World War II. Worth a look before it closes.

Meandering leads to perfection.
- Lao Tzu

after hours diner

darkness, tofu, peppermint, storm
gone, fresh, slippy, anxious
each after each in the slick
go-light, smok-o, hang-out, thought-full
swishy, hissing, wooshy, brrring
each along each in the drift
I'm glad my house didn't blow over
I'm sad we'll never see snow
darkness fresh, go-light anxious
slippy, swishy, peppermint drift

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

double feature in melbourne

Many thanks to Michael Farrell for organising this double feature. (Margaret and David both give it five stars.)

Double Poetry Feature: 2 Launches

Poetry International 7/8, to be launched by John Mateer, featuring readings by Martin Harrison, one of the issue’s editors.
Struggle and Radiance, a chapbook by Sydney poet Jill Jones and published by Irish press, Wild Honey, to be launched by Michael Farrell.

Venue: Collected Works Bookshop, First Floor Nicholas Bldg, 37 Swanston St, Melbourne
Time: Thursday 22 July, 5.30 for 6pm start
Free/ All welcome / Light refreshments

Further details of publications and writers follow.

Poetry International: double edition 7/8

A world selection of recent poetry in English, the current double edition of the Californian journal Poetry International (7/8) takes the idea of guest editing to dizzying heights. English language poets from Africa, the US, Canada, South East Asia, the Caribbean, the UK join company with a selection of contemporary Australian poetry and a selection of recent New Zealand poetry. Guest editor of the Australian section, poet Martin Harrison, invited thirteen contemporary Australian poets to contribute recent work to the double edition. What results is a moment of excitement, a glimpse of the enormous range of accomplished, future tending poetry being written in Australia.

The double edition is an extraordinary attempt to give an account of the ways the language is on the move around the world. Poets represented in this issue include John Ashbery, Gerald Stern, Ruth Stone, Kim Addonizio (U.S.) Kofi Anyidoho, Taban Lo Liyong, Lupenga Mphande (Africa), Agnes Lam, Edwin Thumboo, Cecil Rajenda, Alfian Saat (Asia), John Tranter, John Mateer, Jill Jones, Peter Minter, Martin Harrison, Jan Owen (Australia) Gary Geddes, Don McKay, Patrick Lane, Stephanie Bolster (Canada), Derek Walcott, Kamau Braithwaite, Pam Mordacai, Lorna Goodison (the Carribean) Jo Shapcott, Alan Jenkins, John Burnside, Mimi Khalvati (United Kingdom [edited by John Kinsella] ) Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Mary O'Connell, Peter Fallon (Ireland) John Geraets, Paula Green (New Zealand) and many, many others.

The Poetry International website has more information.

John Mateer is a poet and art-critic. He has published four books of poems in Australia, among them Barefoot Speech (which won the Victorian Premier's prize), and a number of chapbooks that have appeared in South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and - in translation - in Japan. His most recent publication is a work of non-fiction, Semar's Cave: an Indonesian Journal.

Martin Harrison is the author of The Distribution of Voice (University of Queensland Press 1993), The Kangaroo Farm (Paper Bark Press 1997) and most recently, Summer (Paper Bark Press 2001) which was shortlisted for a NSW Premier’s award and which won the Wesley Michel Wright award, and the inaugural Platform Papers essay, Our ABC. A Dying Culture? (Currency Press). He teaches poetry, poetics and writing at the University of Technology in Sydney. He has also been the recipient of various Australia Council fellowships, including residencies in Italy and the USA. He is now at work on a new collection of longer, narrative poems.

Struggle and Radiance: Ten Commentaries, is the latest publication by Jill Jones. It was published in Ireland by Wild Honey Press in 2004. See the Wild Honey Press website for further details of their publications.

Jill Jones won the Mary Gilmore Award for her first book of poetry, The Mask and the Jagged Star (Hazard Press). Her fourth book, Screens, Jets, Heaven: New and Selected Poems, published by Salt Publishing in 2002, won the 2003 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. She is currently involved in a number of collaborative projects. They include the DiVerse series of readings at galleries and museums in Sydney; c-side, a project of word and image live music slideshows by poets, photographers and DJs; as well as multimedia presentations with photographer, Annette Willis.

Michael Farrell’s ode ode (Salt) was published last year. He is the Australia editor of slope, and recently edited an Australian poetry feature for Gutcult. He teaches poetry when he gets the chance.

Monday, July 12, 2004


It is finally raining in Sydney. It hasn't been a lot of rain but over the last few days the gardens are drinking, at least. Maybe it is because rain can be rare here that it gets into my lines, the wish for that smell and splash which gets sounded out in words. These are often my lyric moments, the material evidence of the weather, how air touches you, heat and cold inside and outside.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

and again ...

Walking around
                an early spring garden--
going nowhere.

-   Kyoshi

Monday, July 05, 2004

walking again

'The Great Frost'
or The art of walking the streets of London

O roving muse, recall that wonderous year,
When winter reigned in bleak Britannia's air;
When hoary Thames, with frosted osiers crowned,
Was three long moons in icy fetters bound.
The waterman, forlorn along the shore,
Pensive reclines upon his useless oar,
Sees harnessed steeds desert the stony town,
And wander roads unstable, not their own;
Wheels o'er the hardened waters smoothly glide,
And rase with whitenened tracks the slippery tide.
Here the fat cook piles high the blazing fire,
And scarce the spit can turn the steer entire.
Booths sudden hide the Thames, long streets appear,
And numerous games proclaim the crowded fair.

John Gay (1685 - 1732)

I thought it was about time to have some more walking along The Street. And as I had been walking in London recently, this one seemed a good idea.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

blues power

T. Bone Walker singing 'Stormy Monday'. How cool is that. 'Lord have mercy! Crazy 'bout my baby.' And Little Willie John singing 'Fever'. I don't have the blues, but the blues just is. A sunny day, still no rain. 'I Can't Quit you, Baby'.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Carl Rakosi is still reading

Recordings of the late Carl Rakosi reading ten of his poems are available in downloadable MP3 format:
The poems are:

1. Love America, Uncle Sam Needs You
2. Go Preach Christ
3. The Country Singer
4. Captain Paterson
5. from Three Cheers for the Star Spangled Banner: A Silent Movie
6. How to be with a Rock
7. Oh Sestina
8. from The Old Poet's Tale
9. To a Collie Pup
10. In What Sense I am I

These recordings of Carl Rakosi's poems have been made available as part of the PENNsound project.

[This information via James Finnegan from Al Filreis.]

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Annette and Anne's exhibition, Shadow Light Texture, was successfully opened last night in Camperdown, Sydney. The Chrissie Cotter Hall is a long narrow sixties space which works well as a gallery. But it was very cold until the crowds arrived. New faces, old friends. I made a speech which, inevitably included poetry. One of Anne's photos takes its title, Abandoned Moon, from a line in one of Neruda's poems (no 11 of the 20 Love Poems). Everyone was talking about the pictures on the wall as well as the usual small talk. Talking a lot about the pictures. In my speech I talked about a new look at modernism. One of Annette's influences is Aaron Siskind, abstract expressionism and all that. Is modernism coming back?

Anyway, if you are interested in their work, they both have websites:
Annette Willis
Anne Lynam

go low
as grey light

tears me
from my head

dances sun
so slow now

steer me
into the cold

go now
where words tear

song slapped
against sound catchers

moves me
into long voice

blurs lines
against open gates

go now
into home light

poured ached
gone and open

- a hay(na)ku written recently for the snapshots project.