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Poetry Mixtape for July 2013

PoMix07-201307

Wow been a while hey? Anyway here’s a bunch of poems I’ve found on the internodes that me likey.

Alex Skovron – The Rearrangement

Inside each field the books will be arranged
by Height, or Alphabet, or Colour – I’m not sure yet:
some years the undersystem doesn’t quite emerge
till well beyond the Rearrangement.

This is a fantastic poem about rearranging bookshelves that will appeal to anyone who’s ever filled a bookshelf, or anyone with even the slightest amount of OCD. The poem itself is a rearrangment, each of the fifteen stanzas that follow the initial 15-line stanza finishing with a line from the first stanza so that if you read the last lines of stanzas 2-16 in order it recreates the first stanza of the poem. It’s a great formal detail that doesn’t distract from the rest of the poem, instead lying in wait for observant readers to appreciate. So I guess I’ve totally spoiled that, then.

Bob Hicok – Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem

I like the idea of different

theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
a Bronx where people talk
like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow
kind, perhaps in the nook

of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled or betrayed
anyone.

He’s talking about left and right hands and then all of a sudden you realise he’s actually talking about the death of a partner and parallel universes and it’s all really clever and funny and then there’s those two last lines that make you go “awwww…” and how often do we get to say THAT about poems these days?

Klare Lanson – Seduction of the Cloud Mistress (for Mrs. Matthews)

Those puny dirty
little man made creeks

normally trickle out of the balding hills;
sad sauntering through town, they
rose like full version Angry Birds
Sonic Titan ravaged earth.
No hopeful moon no shining sun
the rocks wet and sloppy.

A flood poem by Ms. K. Lanson, a favourite around these parts, retelling the tragedy of the flood that drowned a woman and her baby in her own home while her neighbour escaped to safety. Beautiful and dangerous, this one. Kind of like water when there’s too much of it.

Tracy Ryan – Mother Tongues

I pull on the tip and up
comes a whole scarf, colourful,

knotted to others and
not about to stop, a magical

evisceration but I want
all of you, things you have

names for that aren’t
seen here: Zwiebelturm,

Trachten, Bergbahn…

There’s a lot happening in this poem – so much detail and interesting “note for further research” stuff, from tricking spies into giving themselves away by doing their times tables to the German word for rosehip jam, all wrapped up in a love poem, which would make two for this particular mixtape.

The Triffids – Hometown Farewell Kiss

Now I drive familiar smoky streets
I know this town, I know where to turn
All the while I kept a road map in my head
I just came back to see the people and their houses burn

I was reading a friend’s Facebook post about almost going to her high school reunion until she remembered how everyone at her high school was a shithead. I dedicate the lyrics of this, one of my many favourite Triffids songs, to her.

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Poetry Mixtape for June 2012

Being the latest in an erratically occasional feature whereupon I share some poetry what I found and liked on the interwebs…

Lisa Bellear – Come Dancin’

I want to dance with
something tangible, other
than my shadow
Let’s you and me
cascade across the
lounge room floor

Not sure I’m 100% comfortable deep-linking into Google Books, but I was thinking of Lisa Bellear today, who I had the pleasure of meeting once or twice, and this poem of hers about the joy of staying in with the person you love always comes to mind when I think of her, I just felt the need to share this simple, beautiful, joyful, truthful, universal poem.

Scroll down for “The Promise” on the page afterwards, too. It’s also freakin’ ace.

Enid Derham – The Suburbs

Miles and miles of quiet houses, every house a harbour,
Each for some unquiet soul a haven and a home,

What I love about this poem is the unexpected (for contemporary thinking) way that Derham sees the suburbs as the thing that they were originally sold as: a place where everyone had a home and could be safe. I choose to read this completely unironically. Which is actually rather refreshing.

Milissa Broder (author) & Paul K Tunis (illustrator) – Bones

I have to confess, when people normally say “poetry comics” to me I don’t imagine something so beautiful and expertly executed. I’m not familiar with Broder, but I’ve recently discovered Mr. Paul K Tunis and it was his blog that directed me to this particular collaboration. The thing that makes it sing is that Tunis’s imagery complements Broders own words and imagery without either of them contradicting, overemphasising or otherwise tripping over the other. Which is a pretty hard thing to do, I reckon.

Tracy Ryan – Hot Sex


Burning my lips’ edge
like echoes of rough play
Or the way childbirth
Forced me to walk bent

I came across this poem while lurking on a poetry blog whereupon a heated internet-style argument was taking place between the blog’s author, a poet, and a commenter. The essence of the argument was that the poet-blogger was claiming her poetry was being ignored because it was too sexy and confrontational, and the commenter was making the point that what the poet-blogger was doing with her poetry had not only been done better and more skilfully elsewhere, but that it had also been done sexier. At which point they linked to this poem. Set and match, what?

Maria Takolander – Electronic Music Studios

The impresario, trapped by the light, comes across as moth-like and religious. You are to hear, he announces, what you are here to hear. It is all perfectly English, upper-middle class. Picture the audience below him in their sixties gear of various colours of vomit: the women’s hair like turbines, their eyelashes curved like steel; the old gentlemen with their arms crossed; the middle-aged music journalists with pencil stubs. The beige curtains part, and on the wooden floor of the stage is the C‑O‑M‑P‑U‑T‑E‑R.

Prose poems about the early history of electronic music just make me smile. A lot.

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

Poetry mixtape for November 2011

…being the 10th in a series of lists of poems what I found in cyberspace and brought home to love and call George…

I Give Permission to the Moon to Rise – Jacob Newberry


In June the tide comes in before the dusk.
There is an overpass beside the bay
Where water moves in waves so small that they
Must surely be like memories of some waves,
Some older waves that once broke ships while men
Cried out to Jupiter across the sea.

Let’s see. Greek mythology? Check. Blank verse? Check. Astronomy? Check. The word “hydrogen”? Check. Well, it would seem that Mr. Newberry’s incantation to the universe and its mechanisms was written specifically with my personal poetic pecadilloes in mind. Bravo, Mr. N. Bra. Vo.

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Poetry Mixtape for October 2011

…being the ninth in an occasional series of poems what I read on the interwebs and quite liked…

The Bat – Marie Gauthier


turned up like an artifact
of our early days,
the time one zipped
into your kitchenless hovel

& you hopped from leg to leg
your coat a white flag
as it flapped along the ceiling.

Sucker for a dadpoem, me. Gauthier provides great insight, here, into how parenthood inspires you to be – or at least try to be – a better person than you think you are, particularly when facing a father’s traditional role of dealing with the things that everyone else is scared of, even if you’re scared of them too.

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

Poetry Mixtape for June 2011

Being the 8th in an itinerant series of lists of poetry that I found online and brought home to love and hug and call George…

Leeches – MC Allan

Now we begin to introduce
Mr. James Montgomery of Newton, Mass.,
to Mr. Tomas Krakowski of Houston, Tex.,
only Mr. Krakowski is dead.

A poem about contemporary medical science that sounds so odd (the science, not the poem) that I had to indulge in a spot of “surely not” googling only to be told “indeed so”. “Science is just magic / with more bar graphs,” says Ms. Allan, and I swoon.

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Poetry mixtape for March 2011

…being the -what? fifth?- in a sporadic series of lists of poems what I found on the internertz and enjoyed the reading thereof…

Agenda at 74 – Hayden Carruth

Tap barometer, burn trash,
put out seed for birds, tap
barometer, go to market
for doughnuts and Dutch
Masters, feed cat, write
President, tap barometer,

I like the way Carruth is taking the piss out of himself here, at the same time as celebrating (or just pointing out, maybe) the inundation of minutiae that comes with everyday life. I’m also a bit of a voyeur, so I enjoy detailed lists like this about other people’s lives.

Scholastic Book Orders – Paige Riehl

Choose two only
two we can
afford. Two
from so many
other worlds,
alternate endings.

I had completely forgotten about the whole book club thing from primary school until Riehl sent me straight back there with her poetry time machine, revisiting the agony of limited choice in early childhood as desire butts up against the harsh financial realities of the adult world. (Can I just take this moment to say thanks to my mum and dad who put away so much of their paypackets to keep me in books and action figures my whole childhood? Thanks. I love you guys.)

To Failure – Christopher Ankney

How I kicked my way out of brotherhood
fights; lifted more than I should to impress
all those beautiful girls who valued me more
as a good listener, because I could repeat back
like a tape recorder, the important phrases.

Ankney explores multiple aspects of failure in detail in this multilayered, multifaceted poem, from career choice to losing in love and letting down your family. Great stuff that rewards multiple readings. The reading of this poem by qarrtsiluni luminary Dave Bonta is a nice bonus.

angel/ – Tara Walker

Michael o Michael o Gabriel o
Gabriel I fish the stars I heard
your drum solo on the garbage
can with only your hands…

A lovely portrait of hobo angels playing garbage-can drums and emerging from their paper-bag coccoons with butterfly wings. At least, that’s what I see in it…

How Simile Works – Albert Goldbarth

The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys
of some city;
                        and the brickwork back
of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise
they’d set me astride, at the “petting zoo”….

Really, I’m just a sucker for any kind of “we are all stardust” reference in a poem, and any naked back imagery.

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Poetry Mixtape for December 2010

Being the 6th in a list of poems I founded on the internets and which I liked the look of…

Bob Hicok – An Old Story

It’s hard being in love
with fireflies. I have to do
all the pots and pans.

Bob Hicok is one of those guys who simultaneously makes me want to quit writing poetry forever and keep writing it until I die or become half as good a poet, whichever comes first (and in my cups I often think it’ll be the former). But enough about me – this short poem has a fantastic impact and the kind of depth and detail that makes you go back and read its 15 lines over and over and over again while trying to work out how he makes it feel fresh, funny, sad and beautiful no matter how many times you reread it. Do I gush? I do, I confess, but it’s not my fault. I blame Bob.

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Poetry mixtape for September 2010

Being the fifth in a series of lists of poems what I found on the webinator and liked muchly enough to share with those who would listen:

Separation – Ron Hardy

Steam from a bowl of oatmeal rises,
dimming the party hat mountain.
The plunger falls in the dark waters,
settling on the murky grounds.
Something orange, something wrinkled,
something sprinkled, something soft.

This is by far the most tenderly romantic breakfast I have ever vicariously experienced. No – I’m okay, I’ve just got a bit of oatmeal steam in my eye…

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Poetry mixtape for June 2010

Being the fourth list of poems what I found on the internets and thought well of…

Looking for Flaws,  Hoping to Find Some – James Brush

There would be misspelled words,
she said, a few bad sentences.
Not sufficient to interfere
with the story, mind you,

The editor (and poet) in me has to pause to consider this poem’s equation of error with humanity and authenticity. Which is nice in a humbling kind of way. And yet I couldn’t bring myself to put a deliberate typo in this commentary.

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

Poetry mixtape for April 2010

Being the third in a list of poems what I found in the interwebs that I think well of:

The Laugh Track of their Sloppy Fists – Sean M. Whelan

I can hear them at the front door.
They keep bangin’ at it with their sloppy fists.
I think they want something from me.
They’re like telemarketers, but with less table manners.

Sean M.’s contribution to cordite’s recent zombie-themed issue is short, wry, and to the point. It plays funny-buggers with the zombie apocalypse trope and weaves in some nice pop cultural references without veering too far down the cliched path of unoriginal observational zombie comedy.

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