In Which I Express Some Opinions About Doctor Who

I’ve been doing a bit of Doctor-Who-related stuff of late, as part of the celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the show. Last night I hosted Night of the Doctor at Castlemaine library, a kind of talk show/showcase event that was just a whole lot of Who-lovin’ and wonderful to be part of.

At the end of the night I sat down with ABC Open Central Victoria’s Larissa Romensky to talk about Doctor Who for Breakfast with Jonathan Ridnell. Of course I was a little too busy this morning when it was broadcast at 6.40am – what with making toast and nagging small people to put their shoes on and brush their teeth – but Larissa was nice enough to send me the interview, so here it is for all of you to ignore or enjoy as you see fit.

Larissa started by asking me how I got into the show in the first place…


Being interviewed about my opinions on Doctor Who so that those opinions can be broadcast on the radio for random strangers to listen to is kind of one of those dreams come true that I never even knew was a dream. Which is nice.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, i'm on the radio!, Me and my opinions

“…a ruck of other soldiers died around them.”

                                                       Now Amarinceus’ son
Diores – fate shackled Diores fast and a jagged rock
struck him against his right shin, beside the ankle.
Pirous son of Imbrasus winged it hard and true,
the Thracian chief who had sailed across from Aenus…
the ruthless rock striking the bones and tendons
crushed them to pulp – he landed flat on his back,
slaming the dust, both arms flung out to his comrades,
gasping out his life. Pirous who heaved the rock
came rushing in and speared him up the navel -
his bowels uncoiled, spilling lose on the ground
and the dark came swirling down across his eyes.
                                                                                          But Pirous -
Aetolian Thoas speared him as he swerved and sprang away,
the lancehead piercing his chest above the nipple
plunged deep in his lung, and Thoas, running up,
wrenched the heavy spear from the man’s chest,
drew his blade, ripped him across the belly,
took his life but he could not strip his armour.
Look, there were Pirous’ cohorts bunched in a ring,
Thracians, topknots waving, clutching their long pikes
and rugged, strong and proud as the Trojan Thoas was,
they shoved him back – he gave ground, staggering, reeling.
And so the two lay stretched in the dust, side-by-side,
a lord of Thrace, a lord of Epeans armed in bronze
and a ruck of other soldiers died around them.
                                                                                     And now
no man who waded into that work could scorn it any longer,
anyone still not speared or stabbed by tearing bronze
who whirled into the heart of all that slaughter -
not even if great Athena led him by the hand,
flicking away the weapons hailing down against him.
That day ranks of Trojans, ranks of Achaean fighers
sprawled there side-by-side, facedown in the dust.

- Homer, The Iliad (trans. Robert Fagles, 1990), Book IV, 599-630.

For Remembrance Day.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, poems

Why Do You Write Poetry? – Frank X. Walker

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Another month, another answer, hey? This time we’re favoured by US poet Frank X. Walker, whose Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers I was fortunate enough to read earlier this year. Great stuff – powerful, political historical poetry that’s contemporary and fresh and inspiring and frightening. You should check it out.

Frank has a short, but intriguing answer to the question, which relates to time. And when it comes to time, I tell you – I can relate.

Here’s Frank’s answer.

Tune in next month for another answer, or send your own to me at adamatsya AT gmail DOTT com.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, why do you write poetry?

Published: She Called Up Her Mind’s Fire And Watched Him Burn

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I’m pretty stoked to have a story in This Mutant Life an anthology of NeoPulp writing – specifically, short stories about superheroes – published by the inestimable Ben Langdon.

My story in TML is one I wrote years back as part of a residency I did at the State Library of Victoria that was all about using their collection of 1940s and 1950s australian superhero comics as a starting point for a bunch of flash fictions.

It features a short-lived superhero called Kazanda the Jungle Queen, originally created by the legendary Archie E. Martin and Edward Brodie-Mack and featured in Rangers Comics in the ’40s as well as a reprint volume in the ’70s.

Read more ›

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, neopulp, people who are nice enough to publish me, short stories

Chipping In Late on Plagiarism in Poetry

Speaking of coming to things late: I know it’s two-month-old news and thus completely forgotten and assumed to be done and dusted, but I wanted to chip in quickly with some random thoughts on the recent poetry plagiarism “scandal”, which has been kind of fascinating and baffling to me in equal measure. So I will.

1. There’s such a thing as a poetry plagiarism detective.

I know that’s not his official title, but I’m tickled that there’s someone out there dedicating so much time to googling poems to find out who’s ripped off who. Mr. Ira Lightman, I salute you. Pissing a lot of people off, too, it would seem. Anyone who wants to watch car crashes 140 characters at a time, though, now has that option. Which is kind of fun.

2. Does this mean that poetry judges are going to start using plagiarism detectors?

One thing that hasn’t come out of anything I’ve read is a response from any of the judges or prize committees about what they’re going to do to revise their submission processes to avoid future acceptance of plagiarised poems. I would assume they’re all talking about setting things up the same way that universities do – plagiarism filters are pretty easy to get onto. The issue, I would imagine, would be finding the resources to support a plagiarism scan for every entry – by which I mean finding someone to actually do it. Given that most poetry competitions – and poetry journals – seem to not have enough manpower to even put together rejection letters, this is a bit of a challenge for their already stretched resources, but I think it’s pretty obvious that this is an important enough issue that finding those resources should be a major priority.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, Me and my opinions, new ways to procrastinate, poetry, the writing process

Published: The Moon is Not Talking to Us

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I’ve got a poem in cordite 43.1, also known as PUMPKIN, which would make it their Halloween issue I guess. Which is nice.

According to the editorial, this issue of cordite explores “the quasi-transmedia intersection of the literal and the visual, and how the latter might interpret the former”. As you do.

In plain speak I’m pretty sure that means there’s 8 comics in there, each created in response to a poem of the comic artist’s choosing.

In my case the artist doing the choosing was Gregory Mackay, internationally lauded author of the delightful polylinguistically published Francis Bear comics (aka bande dessinee de la ours au Francis?). Greg took my poem about the indifference of the Moon and added a parallel layer of narrative about childhood deception that is quite lovely. Plus it has Lego in it. Space Lego.

Working with Greg was a great experience. He shared his drafts with me, inspiring a redraft of the original poem that I think made it much stronger. Greg was open to all of my questions and suggestions, even when they began to encroach on his own artistic territory, for which I am grateful.

You can see the finished comic here, or read the poem sans illustration here. I’d love to know what you think.

While you’re there you should check out the other comics as well, particularly

  • Bruce Mutard’s precise, detailed, far-ranging and breathtaking adaptation of A. Frances Johnson’s anti-drone warfare “Microaviary” suite
  • Marijka Gooding’s heavy inks and curvaceous linework accompanying Michael Farrel’s tweaky reality-TV-style “TV”
  • Bernard Caleo’s frenetic retelling of two encounters with Jack Hibberd, one literary, one literal
  • Mirranda Burton’s surreal depiction of a cat that’s also a window or a mirror stalking the streets of fitzroy to the tune of Kevin Pearson’s “His Quarter”

Profuse thanks once again to Greg for asking me to be involved in such a fun project. It’s a pleasure to share space with such a talented mob of poet-types and comic-sorts.

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Posted in comics, i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry

Published (sort of) : “Writing meanness like flourish”

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This is very late, but I just a couple days ago I came across a poem of mine that was published back in 2008 as part of a 3,785-page, 3,164-poet anthology called Issue 1.

Except when I say “poem of mine” what I mean is “NOT a poem of mine”, which is to say that it had my name on it, but those two words were the only ones that I could rightfully lay claim to. The others were:

Writing meanness like flourish

Of meanness
Like a right
Stand
A length
At a peculiar steering-wheel

Which is to say that it seems I was lucky enough to have had my name plucked from the interwebs as part of some kind of five-years-old-and-counting experimental poetry hoax thingo perpetrated upon – let’s say – poetry itself by poets Stephen McLaughlin, Gregory Laynor and Vladimir Zykov, and programmer Jim Carpenter.

Turns out they used a computer program to generate a bunch of poems (they can do that these days – or those days, rather) and then attributed them to a whole bunch of poets – some quite famous and some also quite dead – and then published it online and waited for the self-applied google alerts to start pinging.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, found poetry, Me and my opinions, new ways to procrastinate, people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry, Published work, the writing process
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Adam Ford is the author of the poetry books The Third Fruit is a Bird, Not Quite the Man for the Job and From My Head, the novel Man Bites Dog and the short story collection Heroes and Civilians.

He is the genius behind the cult-hit website Monkey Punch Dinosaur and the twitter novel Aramis Fox.

He also makes zines and comics. This is his website.

His email is ADAMFORD-escargot-LABYRINTH-full-stop-NET-full-stop-AU

This website was made on the traditional lands of the Jaara Jaara and the Wurundjeri peoples.

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Also I Write This Twitter Fiction Thing Called Aramis Fox

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