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

Merry Christmas (blog war is over).

When I was five I thought when a lightsaber hit you, you turned into a blanket.

The ozpo cyberweb has spent the last three weeks on tenterhooks as it anticipated the outcome of the blog war declared between poets Nathan Curnow and Derek Motion. The stakes were high – the loser had to quit their blog – and now a winner has been declared.

It seems Wagga Wagga’s own Derek Motion has vanquished Ballarat boy Nathan Curnow in a clear-cut 86-81 victory, and now, as per the terms of engagement, Nathan’s Blog Eats Poet blog has ceased publication. Kudos to Derek and commiserations to Nathan. I’ve enjoyed both of their blogs over the last few months since I discovered them.

I’m pleased that Derek will continue to opine online as he has been doing, and my sadness at the loss of Nathan’s blog is tempered by the establishment of his new MySpace and his own admission that he was kind of planning on quitting anyway.

The only thing left to ask in the aftermath of this titanic struggle is what next? Will other po-bloggers, inspired by Motion v. Curnow, declare war on fellow poet bloggers? Will Motion’s victory inspire him to carve out more space in the ozpo landscape? Will he set his sights on annexing Curnow’s MySpace, or will Curnow enact a displaced vengeance on some other, smaller, ozpoblog? Time, my friends, as always, can only tell.

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…”

i would like to recommend these people's writing

Peter Bakowski has a blog.


And a new book out too. Here’s a short sample:

Your journey will be long,
dangers certain.
From clouds snakes will fall.
These can be killed only
by those amongst you
who have eaten wolf.

Don’t drink from pond or stream
in which black reeds grow.
One mouthful will turn you to stone.
Sleep with an eagle feather
clasped in your fist.
This keeps away lightning.

(from “Instructions to horsemen, Krakow, Poland, 1241“)

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

Whither poetry blogging?

Derek Motion’s recent posting of the text of his talk about poetry and blogging is a nice consideration of the ways that poets use blogs in their professional capacity as poets.

Derek’s post looks at three different poets’ blogs and the way that they use them – for announcements, for discussions of poetry, to recommend other poets’ work, for personal revelations, and to publish their own work as well – and then considers the merits of each poet’s decision to choose some or all of those functions in their own blogging practises.

It’s a really interesting discussion, and it’s inspired some good comments too. Well worth checking out.