i would like to recommend these people's writing, people who are nice enough to publish me, poems, reflected glory

Published: Best Australian Poems 2010

Welcome to the latest episode of Brag Along with Adam, in which I continue to talk about my publication successes, this time the poem I got in Best Australian Poems 2010, the fact of which makes me go all squeeeeeeee and such, since I have been beset by professional jealousy over the years as I have watched friends and colleagues adorn the pages of said anthology, grumbling to myself about why don’t they publish my stuff in there until I realised the simple answer, namely that I wasn’t actually writing any poems, let alone submtting them anywhere, let alone the places that might be trawled for said anthology, let alone getting them published in those places, so if I really wanted to do something about it I should just shut up and work on writing some actual poems and then submit them to a few high-ranking journals or what about actually submitting to the anthology directly as well Mr Sour Grapes since it’s an open submission policy this year and what do you know? It actually worked.

I sent off my poem “Salt”, about salinity and that, which got into Overland earlier this year, and even though somehow that submission got lost somewhere along the way, BAP2010 editor Robert Adamson spotted it in Overland and got in touch directly to ask if he could consider it for publication to which I said “hell no dude I ain’t into that self-conscious validation-of-self-worth-via-publication-by-ivory-tower-lapdogs” ha ha actually no I didn’t I squealed and ran off laptop under arm to find Anna so I could read the email verbatim to her (“he said ‘it was terrific’!”) and then wrote back and said oh yes please thankyou Mr. Adamson sir that would be lovely.

And it is. Very gratifying indeed to be in the same book as people like Lionel Fogarty and Joanne Burns and πo and Barry Hill and Les Murray and BRUCE! FUCKING! DAWE! (who is really the reason I ever even thought about the idea of actually writing a poem way back in year 12).

Also it’s a cracker of a read, a real take-it-on-the-train kind of book to dip into and slowly work your way from cover to cover, three or four poems per dip before sitting back and having a good old muse over what you’ve just read.

Some favourites from this edition for me would have to be:

  • Nathan Curnow’s “3D Homer Simpson” which is one of the best dad poems I’ve read (as in “from the perspective of a dad”, not “about the author’s dad”)
  • John Kinsella’s unsettling “Goat” about (surprise, surprise) a feral goat wandering onto a farm property
  • Kate Middleton’s sweetly domestic “At Thirty” outlining the joys of a night at home by yourself
  • Derek Motion’s “forest hill” which I’ve mentioned here before but which has a palpable nostalgic mood to it that inspires virtual time travel in the reader
  • πo’s “Rabbit Proof Fence”, riddled with facts and rabbits in equal measure
  • The pitch-perfect suburban landscape of Brendan Ryan’s “Vacant Blocks”
  • Jaya Savige’s hot and sexy “Summer Fig”
  • Hugh Tolhurst’s “Space Junk”, a touching and never mawkish eulogy for St Kilda rockdog Roland S. Howard
  • Debbie Lim’s “Recalling the Bats”, the thesis of which is that flying foxes are born inside volcanoes
  • Abi Cobby Eckermann’s “Yankunytjatjara Love Poems” which are just sweet and funny and a bit sexy too

Robert Adamson’s rambly eight-page intro is chaotically brilliant too, veering from topic to topic in a mix of admiration, wisdom and wonder with a sprinking of puzzlement, which is very much what I’ve enjoyed about the interviews with him and the discussion panels I’ve seen him on.

So yeah. It’s a good read. If you like poetry I reckon you’d like this. You can pick it up wherever good poetry is sold (wherever that might be) or you can check it out for yourself at the Black Inc website.

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