i would like to recommend these people's writing, Me and my opinions, poetry

Just Read – The Rest of July

Attention Conservation Notice: Thoughts on the last 10 poems I read for the Just Read Readathon, by people like William Blake, Katie Degentesh, joanne burns, Claire Potter and Patricia Lockwood, and profuse thanks to everyone who helped to raise just shy of $700 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (1,987 words).

Well this last week of poem-reading-fundraising has been amazing. Up front I should probably admit that I certainly haven’t hit the two-a-day goal that I wanted to, but despite that these last two months have been brilliant in terms of reading more and reading more widely.

I think I’m going to try to keep this level of poem reading up to an extent in my everyday life, something like trying to read a poem a day or at least a few every week. I’ve also discovered some poets to look more deeply into, both canonical and contemporary, which is very nice indeed. So a profitable time from a personal perspective for sure.

And speaking of profitable, I am as humbled as can be by the generosity that both friends and strangers have shown with their donations to the Indigenous Literacy Fund in response to this odd little undertaking. I may be the one reading the poems and rambling about them on this blog, but that’s totally chump change compared to the heroes who stuck their hands in their pockets and handed their readies over so that young Indigenous kids can afford the books and other equipment they need to learn to read, which is sadly actually a thing that needs to be addressed in this frankly pretty fucked up endemically racist country of ours.

So on behalf of the Just Read crew, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and myself I thank you from the bottom of my heart. As of this writing we’ve raised over $650, smashing my goal of $500 in the bestest possible way. And kudos to Jane Rawson in particular for coming up with the idea for a readathon for grownups in the first place, and then making it actually happen.

And if you want to know more about the amazing and important ILF are doing, and other ways you can help out, stay tuned to www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au.

But now, before I get too teary, here’s what I thought of the last bunch of poems (which, yes, is once again not enough to hit any two-a-day goal I might have had but there you go).

William Blake – To Spring

I was reading this one on the train on the way home, thinking “well, I better read some Blake, it’ll be good for me but I’m not sure I’m really up for crazy-dense inscrutable religious nuttery this afternoon but let’s have a crack and see” and instead I found myself reading this rather romantic and actually sort of naughty ode to Spring returning to England, thinking “does

…scatter thy pearls
Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee

mean what I’m thinking it means? Oh my…” and then Spring decks England with its fair fingers and pours kisses on her bosom and England lets down her bound tresses and hello!

Which is nice.

Continue reading “Just Read – The Rest of July”

comics, i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry

Published: The Moon is Not Talking to Us

I’ve got a poem in cordite 43.1, also known as PUMPKIN, which would make it their Halloween issue I guess. Which is nice.

According to the editorial, this issue of cordite explores “the quasi-transmedia intersection of the literal and the visual, and how the latter might interpret the former”. As you do.

In plain speak I’m pretty sure that means there’s 8 comics in there, each created in response to a poem of the comic artist’s choosing.

In my case the artist doing the choosing was Gregory Mackay, internationally lauded author of the delightful polylinguistically published Francis Bear comics (aka bande dessinee de la ours au Francis?). Greg took my poem about the indifference of the Moon and added a parallel layer of narrative about childhood deception that is quite lovely. Plus it has Lego in it. Space Lego.

Working with Greg was a great experience. He shared his drafts with me, inspiring a redraft of the original poem that I think made it much stronger. Greg was open to all of my questions and suggestions, even when they began to encroach on his own artistic territory, for which I am grateful.

You can see the finished comic here, or read the poem sans illustration here. I’d love to know what you think.

While you’re there you should check out the other comics as well, particularly

  • Bruce Mutard’s precise, detailed, far-ranging and breathtaking adaptation of A. Frances Johnson’s anti-drone warfare “Microaviary” suite
  • Marijka Gooding’s heavy inks and curvaceous linework accompanying Michael Farrel’s tweaky reality-TV-style “TV”
  • Bernard Caleo’s frenetic retelling of two encounters with Jack Hibberd, one literary, one literal
  • Mirranda Burton’s surreal depiction of a cat that’s also a window or a mirror stalking the streets of fitzroy to the tune of Kevin Pearson’s “His Quarter”

Profuse thanks once again to Greg for asking me to be involved in such a fun project. It’s a pleasure to share space with such a talented mob of poet-types and comic-sorts.

why do you write poetry?

Why do you write poetry? – Michael Farrell

I asked a bunch of poets the above questions. I’ll put their answers on this blog until I run out or get distracted…

Michael Farrell says:

“klare [lanson – see Klare’s answer here – ed.] mentioned poetry writes me & i subscribe to this theory yet i cant hold onto it (or it cant hold onto me) – theres always more than one reason to write, more than one theory of the process, though one may dominate for a time. the idea of entertainment is close to me in reality at the moment as i have a group of friends to read poems to – but while that may help me write, i dont think my poems are that different than those ive written during the many years when i havent had a group i belonged to. im letting myself be more spontaneous. but its never natural, its always art .. or at least a theory of..”

“pop music is such a big part of my poetics, that entertainment has necessarily always been in there .. though it wasnt till i read ohara that poetry was confirmed for me as an entertainment possibility. the first famous francis bacon – the cultural critic – said something about people doing what they can do best – what they can make their name at – fuck knows why but that ended up being poetry for me – im sure i couldve been a a quite good accountant – but would thatve satisfied my ego?”

“i think perhaps poetry is a sublimation of song for me – does that sound hyperreactionary? being too shy to let song out except on a page .. but theres a bit of folk/storytelling culture in there too.. why then arent my poems all simple lyrics or narratives? too many things to hide .. too much complexity to process .. ? it started when i read german expressionist drama .. remember i was only twenteen .. a good catholic country boy looking for the easiest way to go bad .. then i read joyce .. stein.. it all proceeded to blow my mind .. id read enough nme by then to know thats what i wanted to do .. i write poetry to blow peoples minds .. even if i have to get up their nose to do it .. & if i fail & if i fail every time .. maybe those failures are just preparation for the final ex(im?)plosion ..”

More answers soon. Stay tuned, or submit your own to adamford {TA} labyrinth {TOD} net {TOD} au.