new poems, poems

On a Role

The Director of Victory kept the future in mind.
The moon’s bad luck gave the writers a tool.
They ran the website and loaned out their tears.
The money was endless where they lived.

No writer knows how to work with people.
They were moving against the pull of tragedy.
They hired an understudy to their frustration.
Progress only led to more mess.

They wrote for tabloids and stick mags
and waited for an end to Victory.

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

Our New Blog: Poem Monday

For the last few Mondays Oonagh and I have been writing poems together. We pick a topic and then write one poem each, reading them out to the family when we’re done.

Our first poems were about blue hamburger fish.

You can check them out over at our Poem Monday blog, and stay tuned for more poems every Monday from now on.

i would like to recommend these people's writing, poems, poetry

Just Read – The Rest of June

Attention Conservation Notice: Thoughts on 21 more poems I read as part of the Just Read readathon in June, including poems by JS Harry, joanne burns, Lisa Bellear, Dylan Thomas, David Brooks, Jeannine Hall-Gailey, AD Hope and Adrienne Rich. Also some recriminations about not having read as many poems as I promised to. (1817 words)

I have shame.

In hindsight I think starting this whole 2 poems a day readathon during a week of leave from my full-time job set up some false expectations about the time and energy I’d have to commit to this endeavour. Short version: I have not read anywhere near two poems a day on any week since the first week of June. Nor have I actually had the time or energy to blog about what I have read. Hence: shame.

In any case I haven’t given up. I haven’t yielded to the temptation to fake my way through this either (“Oh yes! I read two poems from Blake’s collected every night in June over scones and Darjeeling. The imagery! The passion!”). So in the interest of keeping things honest here’s a look at what I’ve managed to read in June, plus a commitment to pick up my game in July and see how close I can come to reading… Let’s see… (2 x 30) + (2 x 31) … One hundred and twenty-two poems (holy shit) by July 31.

Anyway, if you want to help raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation by contributing to my readathon fund, you can do so by heading over to my Everyday Hero page. As of today I’ve raised just over $130 toward my goal of $500, so thanks to everyone who’s donated so far – you know who you are.

And now, the poems!

Tuesday 9th June – “West of Al Shualla” by JS Harry & “Light, I Know, Treads the Million Stars” by Dylan Thomas

“West of Al Shualla” is one of Harry’s Peter Lepus poems, featuring her recurring rabbit protagonist and, this time, his huntsman spider buddy Clifta. I’ve only just discovered Harry, thanks to Ivor Indyk’s obituary in the Sydney Review of Books, but after enjoying the unusual recurring devices of Jennifer Maiden, I’m looking forward to reading more of Peter’s adventures. In this poem he’s in Iraq, riding camelback with two humans (and Clifta hidden under the saddle) while contemplating discretion in the face of powerful enemies.

“Light, I Know” is a dark little sucker about fear of the dark/fear of death with a compelling rhyme scheme that I couldn’t quite work out – it seems orderly enough until You look closer to see that there are some rogue rhymes scattered through the regular couplets. There’s also a dramatically shorter line about halfway through that twists the idea of prayer into something very cruel:

…some attentive God
Who on his cloud hears all my wishes
Hears and refuses.

Continue reading “Just Read – The Rest of June”

crappin' on about the inconsequential, people who are nice enough to publish me, poems, Published work, the writing process

Published: The Bone House is Worn by the Fight

So a while back those crazy kids at if:book Australia were running this remix project called Lost in Track Changes where five writers were asked to write something and then also remix or respond to the things the other five writers wrote.

They also ran a little side-project called Open Changes where Emily Craven from if:book wrote a thing and then anyone who wanted to could remix it and submit it in the comments on that story. The best four things would then be posted online to be used as prompts in the following week by anyone who wanted to join in, and then the best four of those things would be used as prompts in the following week, and so on for eight weeks.

Anyway, long story short: I wrote a thing for Open Changes in the last week of the project, and it got picked. Given that there was no week nine, it didn’t get posted and remixed, but it did get included in the final iteration of Open Changes, which was a big-arse poster that featured the things that all the successful writers wrote, all designed to look like a tree and shit.

No, really – check it out:

IMG_8590

Continue reading “Published: The Bone House is Worn by the Fight”

i'm on the radio!, new poems, poems, Published work

Donna Noble Has Been Saved (On The Radio)

Earlier this week I had a poem on RRR’s Breakfast show as part of their “Genius Squad” feature. My old buddy alicia sometimes is doing a regular feature in that slot, and for this particular instalment she decided to talk about Doctor Who and poetry. As you do.

This, naturally, led her to contact me to ask if I had any poems about the Doctor. To which I said, sure, pointing her in the direction of Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord, which features my poem “Donna Noble Has Been Saved”.

alicia asked if there might’ve been a recording of the spoken word event that the collection was based on, and I said hang on a mo, sneaking that lunchtime into an empty teleconferencing room at work and recording the sucker on me phone like I was in the future or something.

I wasn’t expecting the breakfasters to work the TARDIS’s trademark wheezing, groaning sound effect in at the start of the poem, nor was I expecting that funky, moog-y, swingin’ version of the theme song to accompany my words, but hey – I think it works.

Have a listen – hope you like it, and if you’re inclined to read along with your post hoc breakfast poetry about Doctor Who, don’t forget that you can score yourself a copy of Whose Doctor? in a range of ebook formats from Tomely (.epub and .mobi only) and Smashwords (pretty much any format you can think of).

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

“…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.

i would like to recommend these people's writing, new poems, poems, poetry, the writing process

Postcards from Ivy – Part 1

(click for embiggenation)

In late October Ivy Alvarez put the call out to poets to send her one poem a week on a postcard throughout November, in return for which she would do the same. I was interested in the idea, not only because of its promise of delivering brand new I. Alvarez poems straight to my mailbox, but also for the inspiration it would hopefully give me to write some new poems myself, and to  discuss them critically with Ivy. A sort of workshop-by-mail, if you will.

Continue reading “Postcards from Ivy – Part 1”

poems, poetry, rejected, the writing process

Rejected: beeps, binaries & leftovers

Around this time last year I was much more knee-deep in excitings re: writing and people saying “yes we like this enough to commit pixels or ink and also our own endeavours to it”, but lately it’s been a big fat bag of no thankses landing on my doorstep. Sigh.

In the interests of full disclosure, then, here’s the latest list of poems that have been sent (back) to their maker:

“After the Beep” is one that’s been spoken of in terms of rejection before. If I flatter myself it’s a kind of quantum take on Xeno’s paradox if that makes any sense. Since I last sent it out and got it rejected by cordite I’d chopped it in half (I often find knocking the top off a poem can do wonders), but the folks at The Diagram passed on it all the same (I still haven’t cracked it for an actual made-of-words submission being accepted from yon diagrammers, despite their willingness to take found art and weird diagrams from me over the years, but never say never).

Anyway, I did some tweaking re: the stanza structure of “After the Beep”, setting it out in blank free-verse couplets (is that a thing? or have I just made it up?), and I must say I’m happier than I’ve ever been with that little poem, so it’s out there again, this time seeking a home at Antipodes, a journal I’ve never submitted to before. We shall see what we shall see.

Continue reading “Rejected: beeps, binaries & leftovers”