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, lines I wish I'd written, new poems, poems, poetry, writing

Our New Blog: Poem Monday

For the last few Mondays Oonagh and I have been writing poems together. We pick a topic and then write one poem each, reading them out to the family when we’re done.

Our first poems were about blue hamburger fish.

You can check them out over at our Poem Monday blog, and stay tuned for more poems every Monday from now on.

people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry

June. July. Just Read.

And speaking of Jane Rawson, for the next two months I’ve signed up to read for charity as part of her JustRead fundraiser.

The idea is that I read things and people donate money to the incredibly important and valuable Indigenous Literacy Foundation. It’s a sort of MS Readathon for grown-ups, if you like that kind of “like X but with Y” high-concept stuff.

I’ve written a guest blog post for the JustRead blog, outlining the particular way that I’m going to approach this reading project, at the same time as confessing to a childhood crime, which you can read here.

If you can’t be bothered clicking links, though, the short version is I’m going to close-read (and maybe also analyse) two poems a day for two months, blog about it every week, and ask you to help out by donating to my Everyday Hero page.

Congratulations and thanks to Jane for not only coming up with the idea, but for making it happen, and thanks to you for taking the time to consider this invitation to donate.

More soon.

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

Links for Sunday: Heat Vision & Jack, Supergirl, Muhammad Ali and Melinda Smith

A Very Special Episode presents “Heat Vision & Jack”
The Onion’s AV club looks back at Heat Vision & Jack, the unaired pilot starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson as a superintelligent astronaut and his talking motorbike.

Supergirl Lego Minifig 
Supergirl Lego minifig! Eeeeeeeeeee!!

Muhammad Ali Reads his Poem about the Attica Riots live on Irish TV
What it said up there.

Pitt Street Poetry – Melinda Smith
Remember that whole Prime Minister’s Litareary Awards muckamuck a while back? With the dual winners and the hoohah about the PM telling the judges who shoulda won? Hands up if you can tell me who won the poetry award? Anyway I’ll just tell you. It was Canberra poet Melinda Smith. Here’s a sample from her book, Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call. And here’s her blog.

i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, Me and my opinions, poetry, reviews

Attoreview: Patricia Lockwood – Balloon Pop Outlaw Black

balloonpopoutlawblack

The cartoon reaches deep into a pocket, deep into a hole in the pocket, into “hammerspace”, and retrieves a huge pair of scissors. His mother, who lives there, hands him what he needs. Touches the tips of his fingers.

A few of the poems in this, Lockwood’s first collection, are highly prosaic, long-lined stanzas stretching out over many pages, puntuated by what seem to be subsidiary poems within the body of the larger poem. There are a number of shorter poems here too, but the longer pieces make the strongest impression with their deep Whitman / Ashberry-esque explorations of surreal premises that use intelligence and humour to co-opt and dissect the conceits of received wisdom, cartoons, storybooks and schoolbooks, pursuing the implication of things like what it is to be an ink drawing, or what it would mean to live inside a whale, to profound conclusions. These poems are weird, unsettling, confident and beguiling. There are no poems here that directly speak of lived experience, but in her deep consideration of bizarre scenarios Lockwood unearths resonant emotions that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Highly Recommended.

Buy Balloon Pop Outlaw Black from Octopus Books.

writing

Velocipede

[Being an excerpt from the poetry collection Not Quite the Man for the Job, on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

Some say it’s unnecessary,
even extravagant.
But to properly experience
every nuance of bike riding,
you need all fifteen gears.

First Gear
(Hill-eater)

Along the Merri Creek
there’s a hill I swear
was created
with first gear in mind.
Only those strong of thigh
and heart
can make it to the top
without dismounting.

Second Gear

almost nothing
a feather on the pedals

Third Gear

I watch the cross-light
shift from amber to red.
My leg muscles tense.
I shift my grip,
release the brakes
and go.

Fourth Gear
(Wind-fighter)

Ten knots if it’s a breeze,
it bites my ears and pulls my hair.
I squint through watery eyes,
ignore the cold and pedal on.

Fifth Gear

a slight drop
for slowing as you
move through the
roundabout

Sixth Gear
(cruising speed)

dodging potholes
and car doors
gone before their
apologies reach my ears

Seventh Gear

Regular oiling of the chain
will allow a smoother, quieter ride,
while ensuring that its fit
to the cogs is as close as possible.

Eighth Gear

Friday morning after bin night,
the sloppy garbage-men
have turned the footpath
into a slalom course.

Ninth Gear

Angle of ascent equals thirty-eight degrees.
Gravitational force equals nine point eight
metres per second per second.
Given that force equals mass by acceleration,
calculate the maximum velocity possible
for a rider weighing seventy-five kilograms.

Tenth Gear

Split the puddle
Neatly in half
Then curse the
Lack of mudguards

Eleventh Gear
(tram racing)

I play chasey with the number 86
all the way along High Street.
It passes me then I pass it
as passengers blankly stare
out of dusty windows.

Twelfth Gear

the only sounds are
my breath and the wind

Thirteenth Gear

The wind behind me
A downward slope
Thirteenth gear
All my weight
On the pedals

How close to escape velocity?

Fourteenth Gear
(seven-league boots)

I straighten my leg and travel five blocks.
Once more and another five.
Ten times my legs have bent and unbent
and I’m on the other side of town.

Fifteenth Gear

Sometimes it’s fun
to choose the path
of most resistance.

***

Some say it’s unnecessary,
Even extravagant,
But every click,
Every tick,
Every ker-chunk of the derailer
means something.

In the art of bike riding,
nothing is wasted.

Read more poems from Not Quite the Man for the Job – buy it now on Tomely for the mere price of 99c!

 

writing

Rush

[Being an excerpt from the poetry collection Not Quite the Man for the Job, on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

The cup thunks back onto the table, empty, & the bean races through your blood, bouncing off the walls of veins capillaries arteries arterioles venules entering your brain & showing those neurons & synapses what for. “Get moving, you sluggish chemo-sensitive sonsabitches! We got the power to keep you up for hours!” Neurons hesitate & pitifully protest but soon are caught up in the song of ZAP! ZOW! ZAM! & ZING!! Eyes widen pupils & nostrils dilate hair tingles limbs tremble risorial muscles tense mouth opens throat opens & WHEEEEEEEEE!! HOT DOG! YEE-FUCKEN-HA!! We’re There.

“Oh, yes,” cries the bean, “you just can’t argue with us! Born under desert skies, that ol’ goat-herder really wondered what in Allah’s name was up with his goats, didn’t he? We got them dancing & jiving & writing iambic pentameter in Russian! We got them bleating up a storm, running around like they’d just had a barb-wire enema! & when HE started chompin’ on those beans, he got such an Allah-be-damned surprise, he fell to praying & didn’t stop bobbing his head up & down for a week. We travelled the globe, stopping off in the Americas, sharing a spot next door to our cousins, the cocoas, & we got this to say to you. Have another cup, boy! Hell, have two more! We’re looking for a new home, & we picked you!

We don’t care how you have it, white, black or even with that fuzzy chocolate crap on top, just so long as you have it. Can’t you feel the strength we give you? Energy, my friend. N. R. G. Now you can go out & do whatsoever your bunny-beating little heart desires. Twice in ten minutes. Go for it boy, sprint! You’re ours now, you sonofabitch. All the way from Brazil to you. We want you to have a good time, & all we ask in return is that you HAVE. A. GOOD. TIME. Now, don’t you feel like another? Hmmmmm?”

Your quivering hands put the percolator back on the stove. You strike a match (dropping the first, but getting it the second time) & hear the satisfying thump! of igniting gas, & as your pores exude the rich, textured smell you’ve come to think of as home, the caffeine molecule goes deeper inside & bonds with DNA. Adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine & caffiene.

Witness the birth of a new being, more coffee than man.

Read more poems from Not Quite the Man for the Job – buy it now on Tomely for the mere price of 99c!