Tuesday, April 25, 2006

thinking along the river

Walking by the river, again, early. I am always half asleep until we reach the second half of our walk. But even semi-somnolent, I can hear the birds. This morning the very noisy lorikeets, seemingly fearless and diving low over us, gathering in trees. We also see a cormorant diving for fish in the river and a large crane sitting on the aqueduct. I hadn’t realised what large bodies they have but this one, sitting next to a pigeon, looked huge.

Not many walkers, runners or cyclists today. Either it is because it is Anzac Day, a holiday, or that it looked severely like rain. It still hasn’t yet rained but it is darkening.

As we were walking Annette and I talked about a short series of presentations I will be giving to Masters students at Sydney Uni, about my work. I seemed to have worked out a structure in my head.

One thing I wish to talk about is the importance of the book, both in the narrow sense and the broader one (‘the future of the book’ and all that). The poem is one thing but a book is another. Even the book length poem must find its book, its field of play. The making of a book, from the sequencing to the physical or coded construction of it, are worth talking about. I always work at the parts of a book I can control. Some publishers give you more say than others and a house style can be an interesting thing to engage with, a constraint.

Covers, margins, type (people tend to talk about ‘font’ these days) and setting, binding, illustration, front matter, any notes or appendices. How do the poems, the lines, unroll through this?

So there, I have already a lot to talk about, something to show and tell.

Now I am waiting for the coffee maker to warm up and for me to finally wake up when I get to that first cup. At the moment I’m drinking 3 Amigos, organic coffee from small plantations in East Timor. I’m currently juggling my usual blend (the one and only Lavazza) with coffees from specific origins. Last week was Costa Rica, a bit dark and bitter to my tastes. The Timorese is also dark but a bit less bitter, not needing to be cut by the Italian blend.

A quiet day I hope. A lot of things to organise, poems to wrangle.

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