Sunday, June 25, 2006

the hard stuff

It’s the grass, you don’t notice but it’s uneven.

The life under a tough sun.

It’s been too easy to lie down, not take any of it.

A smoked out clarity as well.

And loud music always carries in these times.

Fire sits inside the wood, but it dies at some time.

There’ll be time, risen in air, breath of desperate ages.

For knowledge, you can still go there.

How I found out is skin, and underneath.

Nerves flower out bare need.

Sun sits on the air.

A day slowly wears and is moved by turn.

Clouds don’t need to know.

Raw being which moves.

Welcome to a new overlay.

And out there the valley knows nothing.

to dream whenever lights go

We
may be
afraid of need

the
very sound
of the portal

between
the ever
and this reality.

Perhaps
you feel
there’s something jerky

about
the music
inserted at horizons

though
it once
had been sedated.

Perhaps
the trees
will stand willingly

sounding
strange wind-up
notes like strings

as
midnight specials
to remember, again.

birds, falling

Below in passages, the shadows are shuffled

The moon was full but now discounted, falling

What are the benefits of living underground

If I touch your breath will it release me

Sand replaces sand, and water …?

The birds fall out of the valley

Perhaps it’s because I’ve become excess

The freedom to empty your mind has gone

Careful even laughter is falling

Some days just holding up

Oh my beloved grass, you are like the sea

Within the ear lies the difficult pearl

The crow becomes a small episode

See how stars waver before falling

listening ...

Métropolitain (includes a poem by Boris Vian) - Emmanuel Santarromana

Olé - John Coltrane

Plays the Blues - John Coltrane

Le Pas du Chat Noir - Anouar Brahem

DJ Kicks - Daddy G

off the street updating

I've added a few things to some pages at off the street.

Into blue

Blue lifts from the horizon
fish hide in the eye of the sun.
Travelling back over, closing.

The dark water's mouths
whisper at the bow
white songs.

So wave cuts story
in green sea, cross currents.

Salt stings our vision
oil spreads surface with shadow
slippery, memory's taste.

Journey sticky with scale
pattern shaded with weed.
And always moving away.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

walking ...

The city is itself a walking, which the poet merely traces, trying to stay on its trail. The city is always something going on ahead, something that just turned the corner, that just slipped out of view. - Cole Swenson on poetry as city.

I often (though not as often as is made out) write the city, take the poem for a walk. Mostly, people here sneer at the idea - I think I'm supposed to write about gum trees, or 'relationships' or 'the sea', or something. I've given up worrying about it. Swenson doesn't say anything new, but nice to read.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

latest issue of the drunken boat!

The Spring/Summer issue of The Drunken Boat is now online. It includes a major feature on Chinese poets from mainland China (including poets from minority groups), Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore ... and an interview with my good self along with a sonnet series, "Traverse", and a collaborative project with my partner, photographer Annette Willis, called "Breath, the hours".

Many thanks to The Drunken Boat's editor, Rebecca Seiferle, for inviting me to contribute and for working with myself and Annette to get the poems and photographs online. We are honoured to be a part of this latest issue.

honoured

Two tireless workers in the fields of feminism and literature, sisters Gail Hewison and Libby Silva, were recently honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Among many many things, through the Feminist Bookshop, Gail has sponsored the Perverse Verse poetry readings held during Sydney's annual gay and lesbian Mardi Gras festival.

Congratulations Gail and Libby!

the latest poetry sturff

Chrétien Breukers and Ton van 't Hof have started Headlines Poetry, a feed from the latest poetry blog entries. It's updated several times a day.

When too much poetry is never enough. Bring it on!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

a day

I have had nothing interesting to say for months, which is why I've been hidden away. The train this morning made an alarming clunk coming into Central. I am supposed to go shopping tonight and have rid myself of a heavy a load to carry. Just yesterday - yes, much late because this is Australia - I actually found two decent poems in The New Yorker, one by Adonis and one by Rae Armantrout. I am suspecting that Mark Young is getting all my mail and I'm getting someone else's bills, with my name on them. People kept bumping into me near the turnstyles, like planets, like that poem I once wrote. I was enjoying the Sydney Film Festival until I got a sore back from the bad seating and, thus, am not a fan of the State Theatre because of that, lovely art deco palace that it is. I am coming to the conclusion that we in Sydney must be some of the rudest people in the world, let alone the least curious. My BPPV is backing off but they say I may just look up again, in an instant, and it's all down the dizzy way again. I have enough difficulty with keeping track in the world so I don't have the need to wear machines in my ear. The crows seem to have gone from the street, we have the magpies back and the little birds. I was standing next to an airconditioning vent yesterday in RPA and it was making a wonderful thick swirly off-rhythm and I wished I had a recorder to get it down. I am working on some projects and find I have to walk away from a lot of work I did recently because it just would not 'go'. I deal with a lot of angst in my job. Speaking of angst, Mads Mikkelson must be one of my current favourite actors. I was reading Ange Mlinko's Starred Wire on the train this morning, first opportunity, and it's blowing my head off, and you all must read it, though undoubtedly you all have. I wish people would stop hosing their own personal concrete. The air is thick with winter sunshine hanging off fume.

blurbism

I am being inundated with press releases about films, as it's film festival time. I realise they are fabulous templates.

Here's one for the next [book/film/whatever it is you do]:

The book/film/etc is a sharply original, amusingly [dark ... or whatever ...] take on what is ultimately [whatever your book/film/etc 'ultimately' is]. The book/film/etc is full of [let's say ... "obsessions, compulsions"] and presents a darkly [comic ... or tragic, if you wish] alternative to [whatever ... anything, really]. The [whatever] ... dealings with [let's really go for it ... 'sex, death and authority'] make it appeal to [whoever] like their books/films/etcs laced with a taste of the [whatever is the flavour de jour... in this case 'the dark side'].

illbient samples

Ron Silliman's blog pointed me to a review by William Logan of some recent poetry books. I make no comment on the books, as I've not read them, nor do I have a set against the poets reviewed - indeed, I have enjoyed some of their specific works - but I will pluck some comments as they mirror a little some of my general unease about current poetry I find around me - and suit a winter sheen of 'illbience'.

The comments also made me larf, with their smoothly-turned 'grumpy old man' stuff, Logan being a conservative critic (well, that's what he seems like to me). As well as rolling out the same-old same-old against soft targets (and some of the below are such), savvy conservatives can neatly pick off the mild middle ground where it lives - and, of course, mess with our own personal likes.

On bad days, I think one could get in first with the 'bad review' of one's own work by doing a properly 'bad review' of the actual work, not the poet or the blurb or the expectation. Anyway, these are all deliberately out-of-context and mixed about, and you can place them against whomever or whatever - me 'n you and a dog named boo, even:

"... wide-eyed, well-meaning poems ... the embodiment of 1970s narcissism—conversational and intimate, chatty at times, they burnished old hurts into the sentimental routines of confession. ... — the poems are now dusted with New Age spirituality (often Buddhism lite), the once easy phrases kinked, the imagery tortured or simply malformed"

"... poems have become parlor games of extraordinary tedium."

"The language is over-earnest, over-egged, the poems collapsing on occasion into lathers of guff."

"assumes that the reader will find her life endlessly fascinating while she kneads her tidy domestic moments into parables (and ties them with the ribbon of homily in the boudoir of second thoughts on the avenue of regret)."

"... the only good thing about these poems are their titles"

"The claustrophobic form ... — the nervous, shivery lines; the agitated sentences — whispers what the poems sometimes shout, that we are lonely, atomized beings with little to offer each other, or nothing at all. ... every beautiful moment makes her think of death, as thought of her terrible return to the marriage bed no doubt tormented Persephone, the months she was allowed to walk the earth. The unnerving quality of these poems lies less in what the myth offers the poet than in what she offers the myth."

"The verse in this new book is sloppy and casual, the poet running through his routines with great skill—but they are routines, without the routine magic he once brought"

"Everywhere you turn you find the nest of self-regard fouled by the bandage of metaphor in the forest of piety"

listening posts

News of poetry sites with downloadable readings:

The iPoems site has yet to get up and running but there's plans.

And my owen publisher, Salt Publishing now has some downloads, apparently. Nothing of mine, but some from the newer titles.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

from The great dive

1.
You cannot separate it and say

this
startling sunlight

attached to clouds, the rain, the moon
cyclones, atmospheric pressure

intensity
if you are a woman on the street
a man in the mountain

the girls, school dreaming future
naked under cruel fixed glance.

You draw with startings
you break even a filament and form
part of destiny

the leaves are unhappy, tomorrow.

No wonder it obtains thunder.

It’s easier to cry for finished innocence
and the newspaper.

To cry harder.

when a door opened

Pastures still drink in resistance
they begin and progress beyond singularity
there’s wanting in the midst.

But come, assemble for burial, taste lights
the roughcast water filled from our roots in the sea
swept by the emptied wind

What type of knowledge is this
that continues its being until full of cancellations
and windows — that type of intensity?

Didn't a track barely leave pain behind?
What is the first colour of enchantment?
The prosperity of the unburied lies in the allure.

Here on the hour that ascends gradually
there’s a disturbance of glass in the thickness
there’s desire in melting honeydew.

The present of the city doesn’t exist as façade
so where is the other extremity of the chain?
Grass still downs a dispersion of abundance.

Stood shivering in a night at the other end of the line.
Once there was plenty of time to drink up
as usual, as though afraid of being heard.

Would I be bored by a drained windswept pool?
What more could I eat beside it?
What am I responsible for: lights, water, the ruffled ocean?

To have left scarcely a trace of pain behind
what kind of knowledge is that?
Nor is it complete to this day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

sprucing ...

... although it's autumn, I've been doing a little spring cleaning and general tidying up. Especially of links.

A number of sites were moribund, had disappeared or things had changed. Also, I found that a few sites are exceptionally slow to load these days and/or seemed to hang - the wick in my computer engine only burns so hot and then it's useless.

Have also added some new sites and updated the vagabonds.

By all means, contact me if anything's been lost in the mix or there are still errors in addresses, etc. Or if something really ought to be listed.

Some more about Rakiura from Martin Edmond who was at OBAN 06.

day span

the day span as it passes

wrist flick and ancient pencils aside

fuzzy horizons at angles

inside and somewhere beyond delayed

aching bones swivel hours on

out of the box into the night where

a dream of unlimited perspective hazing

pixels dance amongst the drops

golden breath fleshes the street's leaves

Il Bosco dei Poeti - The Wood of the Poets

Anny Ballardini has just posted some information about works she has selected for the Wood of the Poets project in Italy. Below is the beginning of Anny’s note. The full press release in English and Italian can be read on her blog narcissus works.

“I accepted the kind invitation by Lorenzo Menguzzato, in art LOME, to contribute to his Wood of the Poets with eight chosen Authors taken from the Poets' Corner. The gathering will take place tomorrow [5th June 2006] ... The work Lorenzo Menguzzato has been bringing forth is unbelievable. Last year his effort was awarded with the Telecom Prize and a notable amount of money he spent in tractors and trucks ...

"I finally translated the press release I sent to Lome; to follow the original one in Italian.

Foreign Poets Section

"Upon the kind invitation of Lorenzo Menguzzato to open a new section at the Wood of the Poets dedicated to foreign authors, I chose the following poets:

Douglas Clark
Jon Corelis
Joel Weishaus
Fan Ogilvie
Grace Cavalieri
S.K. Kelen
Karl Young
Jill Jones


"Poets published on the Poets’ Corner, page supported by the Pedagogical Institute in Bolzano on the Fieralingue site, of which I am the curator. A choice I found very difficult and with the hope that in time I will be given the possibility to increase it. ...”


It is a great honour for me to be part of this amazing project. Thank you, Anny.

***

Anny also features in a recent interview by Tom Beckett on the excellent e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e v-a-l-u-e-s site. So much to value in this interview, as well as in the many others on Tom's site.

mark young's episodes

To my knowledge, I have never had a poem written for me nor dedicated to me until Mark Young wrote a poem for me, which he posted some time ago on his now-resting blog pelican dreaming. That is something I am still chuffed about.

The poem appears in Mark's new book, Episodes, which I've had for some time but am now just posting about. (You all know I'm behind-hand due to some physical troubles - vertigo is more than a disease named after a fillum.)

Here are two poems from Episodes.amongst so many wonderful (and often funny) works.

fast amulets

parrakeets anneal the landscape

he changed the room around

five metres of mud lay between the path & the water

the last vestige of light was a yellow butterfly


- Mark Young


switching over/ switching off

come in from
the garden

tea flavoured
with fresh-picked lemon

sink into the chair

Miles


- Mark Young


If you haven't got it already, get this book. Not only is it the best of reads but it feels good in the hand.

Books are essential and sensual. See them, touch them, smell them.

Thanks, Mark.