Saturday, August 29, 2015

readings: sound and (sometimes) vision ...

This coming September I will be doing at least one, if not two, poetry readings here in Adelaide. The definite gig will be Tuesday, September 29th 2015, at the terrific on-going series of Lee Marvin readings curated by the indefatigable Ken Bolton at the Dark Horsey Bookshop, part of the AEAF in Adelaide's West End. I'll be sharing the stage with my colleague, Brian Castro, among others. As soon as I know details of the other reading, I'll post that. I'm also scheduled for a reading in Sydney in late November and I'll post details of that if and when they are firmed up.

I used to do more readings. I've always liked doing them, especially in the company of other poets. I believe poems and poets need to be heard as well as read. Presumably because (a) I live in Adelaide not big smoke, (b) I am (ahem) not as young as I used to be, and (c) I don't hang around in gangs or coteries, I rarely get interstate gigs (even if I pony up with cash/FF for flights and can conjure accomm). OK, it is what it is.

And, in general (ie, it's not just me), the so-called writers' festivals (meaning prose writers' festivals, by and large) that seem to spring up at will across the country, have little interest in featuring poets, unless they can do double duty as a prose writer and/or are some kind of 'celebrity'. If these festivals use poets at all, they segregate them on the poets-only panel and, maybe, have a poets-only reading, as if poetry wasn't anything to do with (umm) writing, 'but, hey, yes, we did poetry'. There used to be more poetry festivals but they seem to have died away with one or two exceptions, and are either a bit of a closed shop or seem to have more of a 'performancey' focus, which is as you'd expect. So far as I'm concerned, all readings are performances and the more diversity the better, but that's not the popular view. OK, I'm non-fashionable, my problem.

Yep, it is what it is, no matter how much ye grumble. From time-to-time, various ideas have been put forward to try to get more poets out and about (funding for national reading tours, for instance), but nothing substantial has ever come of it. Writers' festival directors/curators aren't going to change their focus either, so no point in knocking on those doors. And sometimes I think they're not the best platforms for poetry (indeed, writing) anyway.

Ideally, poetry readings should be live, but in lieu of that, ie, instead of waiting for 'the gift of sound and vision' (apols to D. Bowie), is the online thing. Not ideal, but better than the proverbial poke in the eye with a limp fish. So, as it's pretty unlikely you'll ever see me (or indeed a whole bunch of us) read poems in your city or town, here's a few links below that include sound recordings of me (yes, of course) reading - some include video. Even better, on some sites there's a whole bunch of poets reading, not just yours truly - a veritable salon. One of the links is actually a recent interview I did with Nathan Hondros and Robbie Coburn as part of their Australian Poetry Podcast series, but I do read a few poems at the end. Same with the Writer's Radio, Radio Adelaide interview (Writers Radio has, indeed, been a stalwart in broadcasting writers of all kinds for a long, long time). A couple of the recordings are me experimenting with soundscape and/or soundtrack, which you can take or leave as you will. My thanks to all the site curators and engineers/recorders, professional and amateur, doing this increasingly necessary work, here and elsewhere online.

Australian Poets at PennSound

NZEPC Home & Away: Sydney readings
 

Red Room Company

Radio Adelaide interview

The Australia Poetry Podcast


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