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Showing posts from August, 2006

end of August - conditions

So that's it for August and 'the project'. Thanks to those that stopped by and left a comment (and those who visited by leaving other traces, I could feel the pixels rustlin'). This weekend (family duties) and next week (grand happenings, including weekend after) are absolutely chockers, and near impossible for anything outside the squares, the envelopes, the grids, the whatevers. If I get to watch the last ep of Dr Who (on tape), that'll be something, I tell ya. But I might still try to do my own rustling from time-to-time. Maybe.

conditions

I contemplate my modern soul not too much. There's something of steel in the sky and it bears down through clearances of blue. I’ve tried stepping into the same sea twice, or more, and nearly drowned in the shallows. The sand occupies me with its waywardness, its withholding of evidence, debrading millions of dead skeletons. The crust is temporary but the wind taps each wing of a high albatross. A headland is always that far, a lighthouse flashes with some ghost climbing. The rocky beach is littered with fur seals. Danger moves in their sleepy regard and their bloodied necks. I realise stepping here is wrong as well. But the wind is cold and sometimes that’s enough.

conditions

Each day is impossible as I fight with contours. My horizon breathes its narrow fog, as militaries hedgehop by day. Dusty trees tremble in darkness. Silver-plated clouds and tiny craters slip stones into my mouth. Here I wait for breaks at sea, cracks in holes made by language. I am a stone at the bottom where each word will be stolen. I could head for the pale yellow distance or die in repetition.

how it might sing

I've just come across Jeff Davis's blog called Natures, . I'm glad I did. I was actually tracking down some information on Thomas Meyer when it turned up. So, first of all, there's references to Meyer and to Creeley and others. There are some good considered things here including, for starters, an entry tackling poetry and music which, as a poet who makes much musical reference and with a concern for the sonics of poetry, I found useful - thinking in terms of sound forms and the lexical. I liked that 'natures' is the plural, rather than the grandiose Nature.

conditions

fragile tears or strong enough falling all that’s left the uncertain lengths there are possibles, rain on earth lacunae and lostness but are everywhere and to hear crackles of diodes think of a few recovered scraps ardent/ ears/ eyes the taste, skin some future time will think ? acts in time along with leaves - with a fragment from a fragment of Sappho
Yes, I know that was a bit of a flurry of words. But the idea of 'conditions' (aka The August Project) was to end up with 31 poems - not necessarily one written every day but one for every day. So they were all written this month and, no, those last ones weren't just written tonight. I extracted them from notebooks and recent drafts. I didn't post much last week as I was unwell, bit of spring flu. I saw the Al Gore movie tonight. That was a blow to the head. Not new, mind, but necessary.

conditions

The sting in light brings its news and warnings Faces circle a shining of dust Sleeping lightly the empty room is a never empty space The coin is tossed and it sings through the air

conditions

Osmosis What do we say to barriers or wounds, that we descend along them? What do we say to the other side the sun and moon we do not see? What of this tide, the thoughts in any tide making minutes in the gauge, traces in the grain? The passage of water in concentration a meditation on the wave, without it no shore or skin. It makes and moves the heart vessel and every rocky boat. Side by side we are rising – chest, rib, ventricle, moon feather, branch, plinth fall, returning stream, arrow, light, dark pulse carbon, membrane, light in light, wave and wound.

conditions

What is this? While we’re talking light passes, though it’s easy to ignore its radiant shift. We’re neither passengers nor eternal. Though we trip on each other’s recall there’s another history being rearranged in shades drawn on ground. I say, it’s how you think in circles, wanting to merge rather than mark. The four corners of a centre tremble as they touch space. Our argument may ignite in small layers or return to its great elasticity. It’s no more than extending a mirror into the existence of zero. But I can do nothing unless I lose my own track, in land that made the curve, neither fleeting nor continuing, but always drawn on ground. Here are the difficulties - of clusters, pebbles, mind moon, that great vacant sign, an eternal jewel, the head’s empty bucket, containing all things yet without, rearranging itself within clarity’s blue shadow. the light of your fingers skin under sky

conditions

I have been working up to this all day. The gas and incense and the lowly trash invite quick contemplation of older pasts. The sunset spreads its saffron quilt, then the bra-a-ck bra-a-ck of gates and ticketing, the sweet lyres of homecoming. And coming home can be hard, that place. To live there after other places, to move into it smelling of the tunnels, taking delivery in the peculiar accent of dusk, an old-fashioned and decadent indigo, slightly denatured. There’s been a canopy set here for years. It’s used to the complaint, to bearing the weight of schedules and mistakes. ‘Once there was …’ is the beginning of the kind of sentence that can ruin you. And this was? Not equality but your long fingers and your long mind. I still have the entries and they never grow cold.
The next issue of foam:e is now looking for submissions, by the way.

conditions

note the calm in ruination thereof the morning sings the damages blacken the deceasing birds but that production, useless warms up the skin with spring world, will tell it is exactly necessity in the switches of an emergency the question will not move in the screen, windows and the transformation of love that breathes directly increase extreme scar the hand has in answer to loudspeakers infinite poetry of senses a question of fixes the end to given forms that eat dryness already manufactured under gas the constant of abundance stops memory that might be destroyed

conditions

All we killers raking air out of lungs and the trees. Although I’ve no force I comply breaking the chain removing dirt and odours the while with petrochemical skin that lights up and in my hair the slippery molecules and plastic roots. As if efficiency was enough god and out of the tar pits you raise the candle.

conditions

the wine is portuguese the drums new york outside is snowy sydney if sydney had snow it’s cold though the weather’s in the south seems like a trick bomb clouds and machines humming like fat silver planes with hefty wings dropping dropping more than passengers tonight love isn’t enough you just want it to stop molesting your psyche while you paint the sign as we used to don’t. give. up. not. yet

conditions

I'm to eat the bitter herbs and give up my innocence lost when I was less than six or twenty or yesterday when I confused the taste among gas markets and asphalt linings the false spring of jasmine. Yet the bitter clings to the lips the hill, last summer’s gully. Did you know it sang through its threads? Somehow its green colour reminds you this is only a campfire where we lie together waiting.

conditions

Raising questions, just like the body, each curve in a sentence, of before and after - that I never arrived at the time stated, that the trains stuttered. This wasn’t the time to fall. Small toys still clutter the boxes along with the old believers. A promise as quick as youth, the insouciance of languages between aisles and ring tones. Now, through each eye, everything appears amber, an effect of late winter, and a day after hail. There are 101 rendezvous we never made. That isn’t a wound, of course, nor is it a direct statement. There’s too much that we never really had. The price of junk mail. The embroidery on our predatoriness, a dalliance with ten thousand songs saved on the soft drive. Beware of the yellow sliding doors, they’ll kiss you quick. Alongside tender self-absorption, fog on the towers, an unfinished restoration where stone goes grey and wistful, there are the high dissatisfactions. But it was good in that moment, wasn’t it?

A little paragraph (or two) of congratulations

First, my partner, photographer Annette Willis has just won the Friends of Wollongong City Gallery Photographic Prize. Her photograph was a triptych portrait of our friend and fellow photographer William Yang. So we went down to the Gong last week and Annette received real prize money. Yay! I can't get hold of the image at the moment but I'll work on that. Annette will also have another work quite prominently displayed outdoors in Sydney in October. More news on that later. Also, this weekend there's been a bit of a poetry beano up in BrisVegas, the Queensland Poetry Festival , and this included the presenting of a couple of poetry awards. Poet/artist Angela Gardner , my friend and one-time collaborator and editor of that fine e-journal foam:e , has won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Award For An Unpublished Manuscript for her unpublished manuscript, Parts of Speech . And my friend Louise Waller was also runner-up in the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award For Unpubl
Poetry all round the big old world - the same and not the same: Poetry wars in Russia Poetry in taxis - Taipei

must read this

CA Conrad: "If you start a poem you start from where you are, which is where everything wound up." Every SINGLE thing that went into making you as you are at this moment is in some way responsible for what kind of poetry comes out of you. An absolute must-read interview over at e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s.

conditions

ruined in translation the birds you know you, exactly the way and curve but always and constant in my delay and when tender the hour is simple, read entering the world, with I continue that way

Australian Poetry Festival

The Australian Poetry Festival is taking place at a number of venues this year. Full details on the Poets Union website. One of the main Sydney venues is at Sydney Grammar School on College Street near the Australian Museum, on 9th and 10th September. Here's a list of some of the sessions. Sat 9th September 1.00-1.45 Reading: Yve Louis & Michael Sharkey. 1.50-2.30 Reading: Brendan Ryan & Alan Gould. 2.50- 3-50 Between Possibilities : Poets discuss the proposition that good work is seldom produced from a single position. Poets: Joanne Burns, Jaya Savige & George Szirtes. 4-5.10 Reading: Fay Zwicky, Jill Jones & Kathryn Lomer. Sun 10th September 11 – 11.40 A Poets Union Journey into Spin. With John Carey, Jill Jones, Kerry Leves & Les Wicks. 12.30 – 1.10 Tributes: The Festival pays its respects to Lisa Bellear, Richard Deutch, Phillip Martin, Vera Newsom & Margaret Scott. With Craig Powell & Judith Beveridge. 1.15–2.00 Reading: Stephen Edgar &a

conditions

My body fills with arguments each day, sometimes they are about yellow borders the blaze along the bone. There’s a bomb in my brain an irregular tick inside my breast an ambiguity in each step requiring more words newly repeated that do not think themselves into place. I am my own discourse and am never alone.

conditions

The night bends back on itself. It does not hail or conquer time, almost it doesn’t. We offer the hoops, we take the dive. Years later we may emerge. I am not attending, even so, or getting even. Words will betray any time. The tongue is an instrument, we play as most serious. The way uncovers itself in mysterious shudders, the sudden winter cold. Actions trace their truths and I am in their constant presence without aid. I do not do this lightly, except with breath. The bed is wide and tonight the moon is thin and elegant, an etched nail on the sky. We hang ourselves there as if it’s the only time we have. There is no music. There is no need for music.

conditions

with morning brilliance filters, silhouettes plans here's our montage maps, negatives our grain contact is the art - for A

conditions

act bas ket cycle dress eagle flare gas has ten interzone jig kes trel layer meander nes tle open pat query ride s ofa tres tle underwear venture walk x ylophone yell z anz ibar

conditions

This is not a category it blows its blossoms clear over the trees and it is over looking up the ladders and the trunks with someone searching their packets for something meaningful, at least a map, a stereoscope a fine landing a syntax that isn't anxious about its sequences

that project

I've decided that 'The August Project' was slightly naff - kind of stiff. As I'm feeling it's all a bit conditional at the moment, I'll keep posting poems till the end of the month under 'conditions'. If anyone's been following, just so it's clear(ish). Well, I don't quite get it either. Onward.

I wandered lonely as a ... whatever

but I do like clouds, as does the cloud appreciation society .

would you believe ...?

... a literary salon run by Ben (record producer, DJ and the boy half of Everything But The Girl) Watt - at Cherry Jam, 58 Porchester Road, London, W2. And also featuring Poetry Boy Band .

bits about cities n stuff

Interesting interview with John Foxx and a quote about cities . Meant to post this weeks ago. Asleep at the wheel?

... doing that you break out in tears

Dear Mr. Fantasy Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune Something to make us all happy Do anything, take us out of this gloom, Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy You are the one who can make us all laugh But doing that you break out in tears Please don't be sad, if it was a straight life you had We wouldn't have known you all these years Music and Lyrics: Winwood, Capaldi, Wood I've played this a couple of times on the weekend, making of it what I will. In case you've never heard it or don't have a copy, here's an article about making the LP including 30 second snip of the song - perhaps not the best representation of the whole song (remember phasing). Err, I'm talking about the band Traffic, thought I better mention that.
I really liked these pieces from Raoul Vaneigem's Journal Imaginaire , translated by Pierre Joris at nomadics .

The August Project

It's a straitened time for me, like the era parched and full of small agonies related to bewilderment My pumice mind abrades its home there are no more arbors You hear each day alive in its runnels a kind of delirious boredom that, sure can variegate at times So you might need an up-to-date glossary or something shiny above the wall a wing off the sun blithe in the way it's taken you up again in ferment of air, it's not pure but it moves

The August Project

after all these years the cats are back and my mind still has its dust the moon trembles rain as a leaf is waiting to begin this fall of night the quarrel has no extension and no silence the house isn’t still but holds its own quiet

The August Project

You forget everything is attached to wires. Getting up sometimes does work. Once you missed salving your left hand. That hurt for a while. Rain drops inside. Peace should never be left to them. The morning parrots are night’s ghosts rearranging. We should get drunk more often and hold hands. To have gone away or reframed the problem. There’s music on the road: pick it up! it sings. Better to have let the cats look after the station. Needing no locks. Then kiss me! Patience is my secret vice. Making green water. Even the trains need to rest. Careful on the slope.

blog'n roll

Couple of changes to the blogroll. Just added Richard Lopez's really bad movies , definitely on a roll, and Derek Motion's typing space , another Australian in the blogosphere.

The August Project

The things you try when you’re 18 leaving nothing behind so beautiful as 1956 a bell-hop’s hat ghost of a morning’s love in a river city mysterious travellers with, maybe, a .38 riding round all night everyone looks like Elvis

The August Project

The fire exhales slowly. What you’re looking at doesn’t matter. Clouds make room for rain. Even my clothes are cold. You take your pick. All the while a cat picks out yards and grass.

The August Project

electric dark extends footsteps among secrets

new

A few things added to Off the street . First additions for a while.

The August Project

Say what is worth the monsters Only when there’s cowboys in here

also new

The latest and, sadly it seems, the last issue of Space is just out. The editor is Anthony Lynch, with David McCooey assisting. It includes: poetry by Peter Bakowski, Connie Barber, Annie Barclay, Craig Billingham, Grant Caldwell, Louise Crisp, Nathan Curnow, Stephen Edgar, Toby Fitch, Claire Gaskin, Paula Green, Hilaire, Jennifer Harrison, Matt Hetherington, Richard Hillman, Phil Ilton, Lisa Jacobson, Jill Jones, Paul Kane, John Kinsella, Anthony Lawrence, Louise Oxley, Dorothy Porter, Kimberley Rankin, Peter Rose, Robyn Rowland, James Stuart * paintings by Michele Burder * fiction by John Cameron, Gregory Day, Karin Francis, Fiona Hile, Joanna Kujawa, Alex Skovron. * essays by Madeleine Hamilton on the voyeur of Playboy pin-ups, Amanda Johnson on the road to nowhere in Australian painting, Lee Kofman on Odessa’s hard rain. * reviews from Lisa Gorton on two recent memoirs, James Ley on an ambitious first novel and Michelle Borzi on five recent Australian poetry collections

new

Another edition of Haiku Review is now online. Stuff by and about poets and artists.

the translation blog

I've added a couple of new posts to my blog on translation, latitudes , after a rather long hiatus. They include pointers to useful references on translating classical Chinese poetry, an 'imitation' of Mandelstam by Rosemary Dobson and David Campbell, and my version of a well-known Montale poem. And - my newest translation, of a well-known poem by Du Fu.

The August Project

Three wandering poems How words graph the sky and fall onto us. Fever dreams. Doing, leaves, birds. This world. — - — The material empty lights through in the running, still or today, world of things. Washed, curved. — - — Smiling in the haze of water moon. Crows flying, white, dark. The laughing unseen, bottom of your feet.

The August Project

A history of love, in parts Red leaves and a storm. The early life without mirrors. Broken lines in a coast. Another night gone inland, into rain. Not in my voice, but in gardens. Is sky anywhere? Sympathy and trees, meaningless, half-seen. To have gone away. — 3/8/06-5/8/06

sometimes ...

..., as if working at the far end of the imagist project - uninflected, concrete, monosyllabic.

The August Project

out there they are killing time another word that's not about ceasefire the price of petrol and bananas comes in torrents whosoever sees action

does nothing?

"Li Kan once castigated the poetry of Yuan Zhen and Bo Juyi, which he considered to be so finely seductive and reckless that people who were not sober and refined would be destroyed thereby. When such writings were disseminated among the populace, the fathers of sons and the mothers of daughters would transmit and teach them from mouth to mouth. All those lascivious words and flirtatious phrases on winter cold and summer heat would penetrate so deeply into human flesh and bone that they could not be removed." Wang Zhuo (d. 1160) from Biji manzhi , trans Anthony C. Yu, in Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism , eds Kang-i Sun Chang and Haun Saussy.

The August Project

The Thought of an Autobiographical Poem Troubles and Eludes Me But all words are autobiographies. I use them in my story told in half sentences and the quarter turn of mood Today is a world of sound. I hear words that mean landing jet or rustled plastic a book that depends on poetry. And the gas, breathing. I've been leaning against the names of things not just walls but the very air the rug, the pen the silver garbage bin. I was reading a magazine today which contained a poem called 'Autobiographical Poem'. In a way, that seems daring in this day and age. Though 'autobiography' is fashionable as a genre.
"The poem ... is enmeshed in circumstance." David Buchbinder, Contemporary Literary Theory and the Reading of Poetry ... like the phone ringing and I hear her birds in somewhere garden eucalypt seeds the line elsewhere comes close luggage drops in a plane the mohair rug is thirty-five and still feels fine rough and fine.

The August Project - Versions & Covers

The Spare Winter Each week the weather spirals cold on the rails The blue falls. I've pinned hopes on a ticket away closed my door on the Snowy winds. The camellia gave up two flowers - alone I write myself into a mystery at a window. I gather simpler things on the plate and count the birds I've missed in the strife. Each day tendencies penetrate headphones no-one sits among silence. In deep city thralls there's a kind of happiness at each counter something ordinary and bright. 'Praise and blame belong to youth and glory.' Even a pair of sneakers grows old quick. Winter rain cannot manage its balm the black cat softens the iron roof. - after reading Du Fu Note: one line quoted from Angus Graham's translation of 'The Autumn Wastes', in Poems of the Late T'Ang , Penguin, 1965 The first draft was written on the train. The seat was cramped, bad design these new trains. But the sun was good, though day is colder. I bumped into an old colleague in t

a pinch and a punch

First of August. Wattle 's birthday, horse 's birthday. Beginning of the windy season in Sydney. And the beginning of The August Project. This is a kick start, to get the words rolling. They will roll in various ways each day - written daily if not always posted/pasted at the time - as I get the pen (yes, real pen, real ink) kicking along. First up will be the first of some Versions and Covers. But there will also be some Evidence and some Breathing Exercises.

fresh ear sand - get it now!

The second edition of Mark Young's Otoliths is on free this morning. Full of poetry texts and visuals by Karl Young, Juhana Vähänen (translated by Karri Kokko), Martin Edmond, Rochelle Ratner, Louise Landes Levi, Cath Vidler, Michael Farrell, Christian Jensen, Ira Joel Haber, Bruce Covey, Jill Jones, Allen Bramhall, Derek Motion, Caleb Puckett, Sandra Simonds (a mini-chap — The Tar Pit Diatoms), Vernon Frazer, Pat Nolan, Donald Illich, J.D. Nelson, harry k stammer, Steve Tills, David Meltzer, Tom Beckett, Thomas Fink, Crag Hill, Ira Cohen, Carol Jenkins, Miia Toivio, John M. Bennett, Michael Rothenberg, Geof Huth, David-Baptiste Chirot, Aki Salmela, Sandy McIntosh, Michelle Greenblatt, Janne Nummela, Tom Hibbard, Marko J. Niemi, Phil Primeau, Kevin Opstedal, Olli Sinivaara, Nico Vassilakis & John M. Bennett, Michael McClure, Pam Brown, Leevi Lehto & Eileen Tabios. Read not once, read often. Thanks Mark.