crappin' on about the inconsequential, poetry, rejected, the writing process, writing

Published (almost, not really): Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize

A while ago I went away by myself for a weekend to work up a couple of poetry manuscripts for some prizes, one of which was the Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize.

I was pretty happy with what I walked away with after that weekend, and also pretty stoked to find out a couple weeks back that I’d been chosen as one of the 12 shortlisted poets for the prize. It was a nice affirmation and an indication that I might not be the only person who’s interested in poems featuring Robocop and Richard Nixon.

Sadly I didn’t make it as the final choice of the Whitmorians – that honour went to Carmen Leigh Keats. Congratulations to Carmen and best of luck with the making of her new book. Congrats also to my fellow shortlistees – it was nice to note that there were no massive heavy-hitting names on the list this year (at least none I recognised) after last year’s co-awarding of the prize to Jill Jones and Tracey Ryan.

Anyway, nice to be shortlisted. Now I just need to try to convince someone to actually publish these poems.

And, is it just me and have I just noticed, or is the Whitmore Press logo meant to look like the colon-P emoticon guy? :P

people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry, the reason why I am doing this, the writing process

Published: One Weird Reason to Quit Your Novel Today

I have an “ideas piece” over on Writers Bloc today. It’s about a thing that happened in my brain about a month or two ago where I decided to finally stop writing the novel I’ve been working on for ten years. Here’s an extract:

…it was exciting being a novelist. A real, actual novelist. Good word, that. The kind of word you can say with pride at a dinner party without anticipating the need for clarification or worrying about killing the conversation.

“Novelist” is what people assume you mean when you say “I’m a writer”. Not “poet”. “I’m a writer,” you say. “That’s great,” people reply, putting you on a mental bookshelf next to Tim Winton and Joan London. “A poet, actually,” you might clarify, then clear your throat.

So there I was, a published poet and a published novelist in a world that by and large valued fiction much more highly than poetry. “I love reading,” someone might say to you, and pretty soon odds are you’ll be comparing favourite novelists. Never poets. Unless the person you’re speaking to is a poet, which is lovely, but that doesn’t happen much.

As a result of all this, I stopped thinking of myself as a poet and started thinking of myself as a writer instead.

You can read the rest of “One Weird Reason to Quit Your Novel Today” over at Writers Bloc.

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

The Reassurance of Dystopias: Talking to Jane Rawson

Attention Conservation Notice: a couple of ravy paras about how much I like Jane Rawson’s novel leading into an interview that shows her to be smart and funny in which we talk about dystopias, utopias, her new book and the inevitable reality of climate change (1992 words).

WrongTurnI really really love Jane Rawson’s A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists. It’s a dark and surreal urban fantasy partly set in a dystopian, tropical future Melbourne, partly set in an imaginary space accessible only through the worn-through creases in reality that are indicated by the worn creases on an old map, and partly inside a fictional version of San Francisco written by Caddie, the story’s protagonist who lives in the aforementioned dystopian future Melbourne.

A lot of authors would be satisfied with simply working out how to hold together such disparate elements without their story exploding, but Unmade Lists does more than just hang together – it tells an entirely convincing emotionally compelling story about the lives of the people who exist and interact in these places. It’s a case study in exactly how the freaky crazy worlds of fantastic writing can properly coexist with the emotional weight of realism without ever seeming like they don’t belong together.

Seriously, I cried. At least a couple of times. It’s a brilliant book. You gotta read it.

A while back I convinced Jane to let me interview her about Unmade Lists, which at the time had just deservedly won that odd award for most under-rated Australian book of the year. We spoke about Unmade Lists and also about her new book: The Handbook: Surviving and living with climate change, which is exactly what it says on the tin and which will be out in September this year.

WrongTurnDinkus

Do you see Unmade Lists as a dystopia?

Yes. Definitely. I’ve got my notes from when I was first thinking about it and I’ve got a list of “OK, what would a terrible Melbourne look like?” It would include lots of things like being really hot and dusty, you don’t have enough food today… Cockroaches, which didn’t make it into the final draft, but I pretty much set out to work out a future Melbourne.

And did that tie neatly into your own mental exploration of the refinery explosions?

Yeah, the imaginary explosions in Yarraville in my book are set very close to where I used to live.

“OK, what would a terrible Melbourne look like?”

You’d been thinking about that independently of the dystopian Melbourne scenario, though?

I think about all kinds of crises all the time. It was actually really reassuring. The guy I talked to said, “All of Yarraville would go up if these explode. You’ve got a $100,000 discount on your house because you’re so close to it, but ha ha, sucks to all those other people further away who paid more – they’re going to blow up too.” So that was nice. Continue reading “The Reassurance of Dystopias: Talking to Jane Rawson”

crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, the writing process

The Best Possible Follow-up to That Blog I Wrote About That Poem I Wrote

The one I rambled about here? I got an email over the weekend from Australian Poetry Journal asking for a bio to go with the poem because they want to publish it in (I think) the July issue of APJ. Which is really unexpected, given my track record in recent years for successful poetry submissions, but hey four days is definitely less than ninety, so that’s pretty nice.

Of course the irrational lizard part of my brain is now determined to test the association between that blog post and this quick turnaround, and it’ll be hard hard hard not to post another snarky blog about how long it takes to hear back about submissions the next time I send anything out into the scary big world of journals.

Anyway, gettin’ published: yay.

crappin' on about the inconsequential, Me and my opinions, new poems, the writing process

So I wrote a new poem today

and I really think it’s a good one so I sent it off to a few magazines and lets see what they all say right?

And all of the automatic responses from submittable came back bam bam bam bam which is great that’s using automated systems in a smart way all of the autoreplies very kind and polite and based on all of those kind autoreplies it looks like I’m not going to know whether any of them want this poem UNTIL JUNE AT THE VERY EARLIEST.

Oh and PS in the meantime please don’t publish it on your blog or we don’t want it any more.

Like I said I’m pretty proud of this wee poem and I’m jonesing to get some kind of reader response about it and it’d be great to have it published in print somewhere or even dare I say it get paid for it too but hot damn that’s a long time to have to wait for anyone to see the freakin’ thing.

I get it, I mean, but I’m just sayin’.

i would like to recommend these people's writing, jutchy ya ya, the writing process, zines

Reviewed: Secrets of the Photocopier vs. Jutchy Ya Ya #48

David Prater just posted up a review of
all of the reviews his latest poetry book, Leaves of Glass, received in 2014
, noting that even though there were only 5 for the year, that’s a pretty good swag for a book of contemporary Australian poetry.

Many books never get so many as that. That they’re all effusively complementary, and placed in undeniably venerable journals, is certainly a bonus, David says.

It got me thinking about the world of the zinemaker and the even more precarious likelihood of anyone ever reviewing your work ever, ever. David may be rightfully stoked to have scored 5x reviews for his poetry book in a single year, but from my perspective I’m 100x more stoked when I hear about even one review of any of my zines in a single year.

No matter whether it’s negative or positive, the simple acknowledgement of existence that’s embodied in a zine review always leaves me with a warm glow. Hence this link to Secrets of the Photocopier’s review of Jutchy Ya Ya #48.

Elle may have concluded that my zine is trying so hard to be nice, quirky and humble that it ends up being smug and annoying, but I’m of the school of thought that this conclusion is largely a matter of taste, choosing instead to be pleased that someone took the time to read one of my zines carefully and with deliberation, describing it in enough detail that any independent reader of the resulting review could easily make their own mind up about whether or not to risk the time and effort it might take to chase down a copy so they could experience Jutchy Ya Ya #48 for themselves.

Which you can also do by clicking here, if you’re so inclined.

Edit: Elle read this and got in touch to clarify with me that she doesn’t think I’m trying to be nice – she thinks I am nice, which can still be annoying all the same. Which I totally understand and which is also very sweet of her.

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”

Aramis Fox, i would like to recommend these people's writing, the twitter novel thing, the writing process

Aramis Fox and the Twitter Fiction Festival

Aramis Fox

So there’s this Twitter Fiction Festival thing happening over in the US (so to speak) this week, where a bunch of authors are mucking about with the form in various ways, all under the aegis of #TwitterFiction.

It looks like there’s going to be some interesting things happening as part of the festival, though I’m curious to see how anyone following that hashtag will be able to make sense of all of the competing narrative streams, especially the ones that will be coming from multiple accounts. Can you say “narrative overload”, kids?

Not that concerns about chaos will be stopping yours truly from crashing the party – for the next week Aramis Fox will be hashtagging it up like a boss in the hope that such egregious online networking will garner additional audience members for me (and of course an agent and a publishing deal too, yeah?).

(To accommodate…

View original post 202 more words

Aramis Fox, the writing process

Aramis Fox: 200 Followers

Yesterday afternoon I noticed that Aramis Fox had 199 followers.

To encourage the acquisition of the obvious and impending milestone I put a call out on my personal twitter offering the opportunity to be featured as a character in the story to @arfox’s 200th follower.

Five minutes later we had a winnah. So congratulations to Heath Graham aka @mysterysquid, who’ll be turning up among the tweets in due course.

I was so pleased by the way it all went that I’ve decided that every 50th follower will now get some kind of input into the story – if you’re keen to get a piece of that, best bet would be to follow @arfox and also follow me at @adamatsya – all future announcements will be happening on that second channel.

And of course for all your Aramis Fox accoutrements, stay tuned to the archive at aramixfox.wordpress.com.

(reblogged from aramixfox.wordpress.com)

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

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.

Continue reading “Chipping In Late on Plagiarism in Poetry”