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

Just Read – Week 1 in review

Attention Conservation Notice: Thoughts on the 14 poems I read last week as part of the JustRead readathon, including poems by Jennifer Maiden, Harry Hooton, Ted Hughes, Les Murray, Gig Ryan, Klare Lanson & Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I liked most of them. You should also read these poems. (1548 words)

It’s been a week since I started on this careful-reading-of-2-poems-a-day-for-two-months endeavour as part of the Just Read readathon, raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and I’m having a ball. Poetry is kind of excellent, you know?

I’ve managed to meet the 2-a-day quota almost every day, and I think there’s really something to be said for going back and re-reading poems a couple of times instead of reading them one-and-done.

As promised, here’s a look back at what I’ve read this week. But before we start, if you’re interested in sponsoring me, just head over to my Everyday Hero page and follow the instructions to make a pledge. And thanks to my four donors so far, who have helped me to raise $110.25 towards my $500 total.

And now, the poems!

Monday June 1: “What?” by Mary Gilmore & “If I Had a Gun” by Gig Ryan

You might know Dame Mary Gilmore from your Aussie $10 note (she’s the one who isn’t Banjo Paterson). “What?” is a short, solid rhymer in the voice of a mother who is prostituting herself to feed her children, rhetorically asking the reader what other options are open to her. It’s a powerful social justice piece.

“If I Had a Gun” really blew me away (pun intended) – an angry, smart, funny, detailed and precise litany about the overt and subtle violence against women that arises from the embedded assumptions of male privilege. To read this as a man is chastising in an inspirational “do better” way.

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

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.

i would like to recommend these people's writing, my talented friends, poetry, the writing process

Next Big Thing: The Face of Devastation

devastator

  • TL;DR: Giant robots and poetry together at last for the first time the way you demanded it.
  • Keywords: Giant robots, Transformers, poetry, John Warwicker
  • Word count: 1,293 words

Just before Christmas I got contacted by David Prater about participating in a little blog meme thing called Next Big Thing, whereby you do a short self-interview about the next big project that you plan on unleashing on the world. I was supposed to get it done by Boxing Day, but that didn’t happen.

Anyway, here’s the interview, in which I reveal more than I ever have before about a sekrit projekt I’ve been noodling away on for the last couple years.

What is the title of your book?

Working title is The Devastator Poems, or possibly The Face of Devastation.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A multi-author suite of poems about giant transforming robots, the poems in which also literally transform and merge together to form a giant robot.

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the writing process, why do you write poetry?

Why do you write poetry? – Klare Lanson

I asked a bunch of poets the above question. I’ll feature their answers here each week until I run out or find more poets to answer the question

Klare Lanson says:

This may sound trite, but I really don’t think I write poetry, I think poetry writes me. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a kid, using it as a way to work stuff out, to remember, to play, to challenge and have always enjoyed the way words look on a page and in midair.

These days (and in this moment of Q&A), the poetry stems from many forms in my immediate environment; in the visual image, the way of the western world, the conversations, the stories, the cinematic vision, the landscape, the sounds, the keyboard and in the clouds.

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