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

Poetry Mixtape for July 2013


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

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.

crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, Not Quite the Man for the Job, poetry, the writing process

Scientific Shame x4.

Recently I found myself enjoying Words for Empty and Words for Full by the inestimable Bob Hicok and came across “BRCA1” (which you can read in this .pdf extract – it’s about four poems in), a poem that makes reference to adenine, one of the four nucleic acids that occur in DNA. “Doesn’t he mean “adenosine”?” I thought, remembering my own poem, “Rush”, about coffee, which references all four of said nucleic acids.

Having become slightly more circumspect with age, these days if I’m unsure – and also if I am quite sure – I know the meaning of a word, I make an effort to double-check that I am, indeed, actually right. With this in mind I popped open my handy dictionary app and searched for “adenosine”. No result. Okay – what about “adenine”? Yep:


Continue reading “Scientific Shame x4.”

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

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.

Continue reading “Poetry Mixtape for December 2010”

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

Poetry Mixtape for January 2010

Being a list of some poems what I found online that I quite like, in no particular order:

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy

Ring three was black gold, O for oil –
a serpent swallowing its tail.

The fourth ring was Celebrity;
Fool’s Gold, winking on TV.

Britain’s new Poet Laureate’s 2009 Christmas poem, published in the Radio Times (think TV Week and you’ll get the gist of how odd the pairing is), is an angry modern reinterpretation of the Christmas carol decrying war, social inequality and environmental catastrophe. It’s a bit purple at times, and sometimes feels a little undergraduate in its subject matter, but technically it’s spot on and it has a genuine sense of passion and playfulness.

Continue reading “Poetry Mixtape for January 2010”

crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written

Blogs and journals and the poetry voice

I recently discovered Linebreak, which is an online poetry journal that publishes one new poem a week. It’s a nice minimalist format that works well with the whole blog concept – in some ways I prefer the idea of a new poem to read every week, more than I do the idea of twenty or thirty poems to read in a chunk every two or three months.

It’s a distinction that I first came across in an essay by Dave Bonta from qarrtsiluni in which he considers the advantages that the blogging model of literary journals has over the traditional print-volume model, and I have to say it really appeals to me.

Anyway, I was trawling thru the Linebreak archives and I came across “American History”, an amazing poem by Bob Hicok. Here’s a sample:

If you’ve ever been denied the chance for glory
in battle, you wouldn’t do this to a helmet
or a codpiece or the future, wouldn’t look back
or discuss looking back or even have a back.
You’d get rid of your back, you’d be all front,
all face, kneecaps, the zone of genitalia.

Each poem on Linebreak is accompanied by a recording of the poem being read by another poet – not the author. I’ve downloaded a couple of them and was kind of amused to note that both of the readers do their readings in that “poetry reading” voice – you know the one – that kind of lilts? up? and draawss… out… just sliightly… to make its emphases.

I’m wondering if the readers even know that they’re doing it – it’s such a ubiquitous performance style for poetry – and it also makes me wonder if poets ever accidentally slip into that voice outside the context of poetry readings.

Like, do poets ever accidentally ask their partner to pass the remote in their performance voice?

“Honey – have you? Seeeennn… The reMOTE… ?”

And what would happen if you took that voice into your professional context? Like, did a job interview in your poet voice? Would you be in with a better or worse chance?

“I’ve. ALWAYS. Thought of myselfff… As a teeeammm… PLAYerrr…”