Sunday, March 26, 2006

listening ...

Having a bit of an Art Pepper jag. Mainly Modern Art (cute name) and "Smack Up" (yes, does seem to be the original title - how they got away with that in 1961, I don't know - they didn't know?).

As well as enjoying, it's making me think I should get back to writing more 'free' again. Not all over the shop, but ... you know.

Am working (and enjoying) two particular projects, but they are very much in the 'being worked' stage. So enjoyably exhausting.

I will stretch out into another groove soon as.

new to the blog roll

I haven't done spring-cleaning for a while. And this is autumn-cleaning, anyway.

But have added Pam Brown's new blog The deletions - welcome to blogland, Pam! - as well as blog-rolling recent mentions: Michael Farrells' reading revival (I'm still looking for my copy of Duty) and a link to the gay e-books site.

And one or two other bits and pieces.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

codes and ... conspiracy?

Also from The Bookseller:

If you take the ISBN number of any book and multiply the first digit by 10, the second by nine, the third by eight, und so weiter, and then add all the answers together, you get a total that is always divisible by 11.

Lovely! Goes in the category of either ‘Trainspotting’ or ‘Conspiracy’.

when I paint my masterpiece?

‘Writers always get painters wrong’, according to Peter Carey (The Bookseller, 10 March, 2006, p. 20). Which is why, I guess, he’s just written a novel about art forgeries called, amusingly, Theft: A Love Story.

I’m quite happy getting painters wrong. I’m sure they would get something from getting poets wrong. We should all get each other wrong. Sounds like a good thing to me.

Carey also says, ‘The assessment of worth is always a very dodgy business which we’re all in all the time, and we’re mostly wrong’. Hey, a further vote for wrong!

grumpy old persons

“… someone is bound to ask: what’s the problem with putting Dylan [Bob] on the front of a literary magazine? The answer is, there wouldn’t be one, if Keats was on the cover of Down Beat.”

My favourite grumpy old man writing the NB column in the TLS, March 3, 2006, p.16. But I think he (it is a he isn’t it?) really meant Rolling Stone or NME, not Down Beat.

I get worried when I start agreeing with this geezer. But agree or often not agree, he brings me joy.

It also fascinates me, as someone also pointed out recently, is how absolutely and terminally boring the poetry is in the TLS. Nearly always the usual suspects, and I can’t read beyond the first phrase, let alone line. It’s not bad, as such, just boring.

angle of the sun

A yellow gleam bends walls open
inside replenishes its fruit
a quiet exhaling slips through day.

Breadth of flowers – welcome! extend!
Sun shapes the ordinary, an open drawer.
The long silence perfects blue walls.

Or in afternoon’s lateness, light of
a day’s weight, and instant, encircles
the near motionless, books half hidden.

Intercept shape! catching that can.
Forms steep and soften, green and white
in the window’s presence, brush flowers
as though they are slow, erasure

is never complete, curves are wild props
and what is collected, never still …


- after ‘Chinese Screen and Yellow Room’, Margaret Olley

One of the poems I read out at the S.H. Ervin Gallery reading on Sunday.

The painting is in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW so I assume that, once this exhibition tour finishes (I think it is going now to Brisbane), it will be back at AGNSW.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

but today ...

... it is less hot and humid. Autumn is coming, slow but definitely. It has been a bad summer (bad summer! naughty) so to have cool nights and mornings, at least sometimes, is a small bliss. To open windows and blinds to a breeze rather than close them against the heat. Very nice. And to be able to think, to work, that is good as well.

humidity

In almost sung summer along street sweat, a miasma, jangle
there’s an odour out of soft places, armpits of buildings
the city groin. I walk across lines at my usual angle.
We’re looking towards the wind where it was last night, the traces
of that flute that’s returned, a vernal breath, the drum clouds
a not quite moon-shaved spread, each garden waved up to windows.
I laid out my eyes under cover, a lamplit blue shroud
air knocks on a dawn story, love and buildings in unidentified country.

Now at sultry corners, I relieve my breath of a second’s water.
Urgent, that crow calls home after summer rain, greener than ordinary
my minerals are drawn away, drip from me, my precious metals
sucked into cloth, as each drop has no end in the stream that passes
each door, last night’s spit and perfume smells invisible
everything is suspension, at crossings and my opening of the glass.

and another thing

I've noticed when I use another computer (a PC using IE) to look at this blog of mine, that all kinds of hideous pop-ups keep appearing. I'm wondering if it happens to anyone else and what might be the cause.

I don't have that problem using my old Mac with Safari or Firefox, even when I turn off the pop-up blocking dee-vice.

Curious.

a blog for reading poetry

Michael Farrell has just begun a blog to encourage reading and discussion of poetry books. The first one up is Geraldine McKenzie's terrific book, Duty.

So scoot on over and check out the blog and get yrself a copy of the book - Michael has all the gen on how to get a copy for non-Australians - and start discussing.

some reviews

And a touch more blatant self-promotion. A few reviews of Broken/Open have appeared in print and on-line. Here are some links:

Angela Gardner at foam:e
Peter Boyle in The Famous Reporter
Gig Ryan in The Age

I won't comment on the reviews but will just mention that this is the second time Gig has reviewed the book in case anyone is confused and I hope that the link to The Age still works.

You might want to browse around the latest foam:e (a wholly on-line publication) and Famous Reporter (the full version is print so only part thereof is on-line) while you're at it.


 

perversity

Many, many, many years ago, I was involved in founding BlackWattle Press, publisher of Australian gay and lesbian work. I moved away from direct involvement after a few years, but my colleague Laurin McKinnon and that stalwart of gay publishing in Australia, Gary Dunne, continued on for many further years publishing books under that imprint.

Laurin has now set up a website to take the BlackWattle idea into the digital realm. One of the first projects, just this Feb, was a free CD documenting the Perverse Verse reading held during this Mardi Gras at he NSW Writers' Centre in Rozelle (Sydney). All those who attended to the very end got a copy of the CD but anyone anywhere in the world can, of course, download a pdf of the CD giveaway. Not all the poems were the ones which were read but they give you a fair idea of what went on.

You might want to check out the archives and other things on the site. A lot of work and a lot of memories there.

transcriptions

In late 2005, a group of poets, mainly from Australia and New Zealand, did some, for want of a better word, experimental transcriptions - using 'found' texts to make new texts and producing a 'studio note' on the process.

The work was done on the poneme list and the results have now been put up at Haiku Review No. 5. This is Ruark Lewis's site, so many thanks to Ruark for hosting and for also encouraging us into and through the project. The process, of course, being as of much interest as the outcome.

been a while

I haven't blogged at all this March, until now.

I was in Adelaide for a week, working, and never near a computer that was remotely capable or available for blogging after hours. I attended a small part of Writers' Week, also work (truly). Met Vikram Seth while holding not one but two drinks (one being minded for the SO). But how did that look! Chatted away with a bunch of British novelists - mainly crime novelists (I do like a decent crime novel). That was a hoot. In fact, had a fairly poetry-free time. Even got me thinking about dusting off the old novel under the bed.

I've 'been unwell', as you might have guessed. Series of tests - fancy having ice cold water poured into yr ear? Bloody well hurts. But I have the hearing of a 20 year old (OK a 21 yo DJ, which I'm not sure is very reassuring). Still some is-shews, but nothing sinister.

I've been working away at a couple of poetry projects and that took up much time, in between all of the above. One project has yet to come to fruition (it involves sonnets, lots of them) and t'other will result in a reading this arvo at the SH Ervin Gallery. Poems written in reference to paintings by Margaret Olley and Donald Friend. Yes, our old friend ekphrasis. These poems are also, loosely, sonnets, one being a sequence of two sonnets.

And, finally, whenever I got to Blogger to put something up, it seemed to 'go all weird' on me.

So I let it go for a while.