Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Overland Magazine Judith Wright Poetry Prize

The winners of the inaugural Overland Magazine Judith Wright Poetry Prize for new and emerging poets were announced last night at Readings Carlton. Congrats to the winner, Georgina Bailey, and the runners-up, Roberta Lowing and Julie Chevalier.

My poem 'Art, Life and The Other Thing' (first of the Three Brett Whiteleys) was amongst those commended by the judge, John Leonard (outgoing Overland poetry editor, not to be confused with the other John Leonard, renowned anthologist and founder of John Leonard Press). Congrats also to the other commended poets.

Full details of the prize, winning and commended poems are now online at the Overland website.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seven Concentrations (2008)

1. Entrance

This should be easy to enter, like a building. Not that all buildings are easy to enter, but the idea that they could (or should?) be. "The complexity of philosophy is not in its subject matter, but in our knotted understanding." Ha.

2. Retreat

Philosophy unties the knots in our thinking, not unlike a holiday which doesn’t include a single digital component. Our thinking became less mushy once we exited the city. For a moment our bodies felt lighter than notions. A tingling of safety. But ads gave chase, behaving as do subatomic particles, which the physicist can only know by inference. They surfaced even in the most private of spaces: the pimples of the tongue, the shield of the retina. There was no longer a question of where – therefore escape had no meaning. There were arguments already and we needed other channels of conversation to erupt.

3. Reading

No amount of reading will ever be ‘enough’. This does not require a diagram.

4. Coding

It wasn’t the effect I wanted; this made me especially happy. Inelegant code.
Widely-circulated propaganda: shots of webs supposedly threaded by spiders in various states of intoxication. Two flat whites. Dark promise of an uncharted mineshaft. Or open-source; an open-cut mine.

5. Mythology
Overheard: "... your money where your myth is." The study of contemporary mythology. Where science ends, where we begin... to feel... unspoken? We can only hope.

6. Art

Too many artists (moths) at this 'soiré
e'. Their code is elegant. Pretty in black, sloganesque. To be one of them, one of theirs. Shaping to be unexpectable.

7. Meditation

We take smoke-roads out of town, until we rise from morning meditation. A doubt: were we meditating this time, or waiting? To think is to stray. Slipped and cut. The mind is overcharged, wades in all the gone and unwritten. But to return to the point… return after return is the practice. Returning to the one point is the practice.

"The complexity of philosophy is not in its subject matter, but in our knotted understanding" and "Philosophy unties the knots in our thinking": Ludwig Wittgenstein, as quoted in Anthony Kenny, Wittgenstein, Allen Lane, 1973.

An earlier version of this piece was published in otoliths 12.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

map of the fields

"I can remember one occasion when I lived out in the countryside in a rented cottage and there was a big old piece of paper in a cupboard. It was a large-scale surveyor's map of the fields nearby. I needed a big piece of paper to write on and I wrote this very long piece which I then, over some time, chopped down, chopped down, chopped down until it was very short."
- Kelvin Corcoran (in conversation with Peterjon Skelt), Prospect into Breath

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Zero Summer (2008)

Sapless days. We should be wasting time,
talked-about. Shamed into games
of silences as we grow older,
our mouths shaping zeroes. But come,

this is an age of prose! So, a
grandiloquent party at the summer palace.
We accept its maze: corridors at random,
sunrooms of caprice. Morning

decanted through, heat hard
at the windows. Come wrap
the throat of a vase with the blue boa.

Viola music. In the fernery you say
what a pity it is that beauty lifts
so early. Blood beats
on our underchin and palms.

three unfinished pieces (2008)

1. moving targets

what goes here
where everything emphasised

sun barely fitting through

(how to de-advertise?)

______if buying surprise
__________________((this shortlived)

how to not be irritated?

is it we’re more ourselves
in writing? _________(these super-questions…)

we keep interrupted
keep cold

sometimes we let the world/room fall away,

the ‘better’ word is patient & waits
__________________________(despite this)
we jump state

2. unopened

_____________________we’re old nouns
but softcopies also
_____-our heads slip in the wet

(this the sleep between the shell of the seed)

we cross a ravine by way of a fallen pine trunk,

still panicked by multiple senses of ‘lie’
_______-& ‘yes’

___________a chance to re-read

__so far
______we know only a few basic words
____________of this other language
_____________________________we are making.

3. filmic glow

we bend the light, pack it down

that constant act,

technology’s very joke

when the day melts,
__________________-tired of ideas,
___________-spills easy complaint

we love & hate poets as they love & hate
________________-(truth arrives late

these works we forever talk of writing, but never

‘truly major motion picture’,
__________-how we feel after that

_______________________film nursing / injuring

________________this has been... needing
________________to happen
____________to us