Saturday, August 29, 2009

reproduction infinitum (2009)

though who uses anything
for its intended purpose?

a poem may be fluked?

graffiti on t-shirt / speed
of its questions

‘i like this intrusion’

(quips the milquetoast / lost
in customer service country)

‘killing with kindness’: the phrase
becomes a regular

those still bossing bones
the old way

beneath mesh
of q & a, detail / i.d. burial

how to ‘decouple’ mind, shut
off audio / dissolve?

think a shut eye = sleep?

detector vans roam
artificial nighttime

&/or wrappers rustle
in abandoned cinema

Friday, August 28, 2009

Overload in the area!

The start of Overload is only a week away. The festival proper kicks off on Friday the 4th of September, and runs through to Sunday the 13th.

To celebrate the highpoint of the Melbourne poetry calendar, short poems will be scrolling across the text tickers of the west-facing wall at Fed Square (pictured) for the duration of the festival.

My poem 'free of the fear of freedom' will be one of the poems featured on the wall. Check them out if you're in the city during the festival.

Also, the Overland blog will be devoted to all things Overload and poetry-related during the festival - so have a read and don't be afraid to chime in with a comment.

positive poem (2009)


lit, possible

‘outcomes-based’ (?!)

(largely) undistracted

spring shaping
(to be scintillant)

nothing to delete

recurring poem #8

I heard a reading of this poem the other day, and thought I should post it here, considering it
also ties in the with the ekphrasis theme at Overload. It never fails to send shivers.

John Keats : 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' (1820)

Thou still unravished bride of quietness!
_Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
_A flow'ry tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
_Of deities or mortals, or of both,
__In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
_What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
__What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
_Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
_Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
_Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
__Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
_Though winning near the goal -yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
__For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
_Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
_For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
_For ever warm and still to be enjoyed,
__For ever panting and for ever young;
_All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
__A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
_To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
_And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
_Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
__Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
_And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
__Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
_Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
_Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
_When old age shall this generation waste,
__Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
_Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," -that is all
__Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Below: Tracing of an engraving of the Sosibios vase by John Keats.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


It's happenings and gigs a-go-go for the next couple of months.

Before I get to the upcoming stuff, I want to mention how great it was to be there for the launch of Nathan Curnow's Ghost Poetry Project at the Old Melbourne Gaol just over a week ago. Loved Nathan's performances on the night (haunting stuff, seriously). I'd definitely recommend grabbing a copy of zee boke.

On Sunday the 30th of August at BMW Edge, Fed Square, the Melbourne Writers Festival plays host to the final of Poetry Idol. Tickets are still available. I'll be somewhere in the audience, having been involved in judging a couple of heats along the way, and also judging (along with Gig Ryan) two poems submitted by each of the finalists. The scores for the 'page' poems will be tallied up with results from each poet's performance on the night. Good luck to all the poets!
I was going to throw in some clever punning based on the fact that Gig Ryan is yet another gig... but I think I'll leave it. The title of this post is probably enough for one day.

As I've mentioned previously, I'll be performing at Overload in Tripping the Light Ekphrastic on Tuesday the 8th of September at Glitch Bar. I'll also be getting to as many other Overload gigs as I can.

Then on Thursday the 10th of September I'll be at the launch of [untitled] magazine's debut issue at Watsonia Library. I'll be performing one of my poems, which is featured in the mag. The launch kicks off at 6:30pm.

Looking further ahead, in early October I'll be heading up to This Is Not Art (TINA) in Newcastle. I'll be involved in a panel discussion with Derek Motion, Jill Jones and Michael Farrell as part of Critical Animals, talking about the place of the experimental in contemporary Australian poetry. I've also put my hand up for a group performance of Gertrude Stein's Stanzas in Meditation. But more on TINA later. The official program will be online in the coming week.

There may be one or two other happenings coming up in the next few weeks - I'll keep you posted.

the 'it' role

"Poems begin for me somewhere in the middle of the middle (the poet is perpetually assigned the 'it' role in a kind of aesthetic monkey-in-the-middle game, trying to catch things from competing and irreconcilable interests and desires)."
- Charles Bernstein, from '12 of 20 questions' on Rob McLennan's blog.

Below: a still from Neil Plenge's video The Answer (2003), featuring Charles Bernstein.

deleted scenes (2009)

ignore what was said while high
esp. w/ regard to moneys

we half-met at the party / so
rude of me (gushy, italicised?)

<----reverse thrust (er ...) re-entry anx / sedation damn suspect eyes / the parents not so naive a total lack / while peaking ... so much nothing to notate

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Avignon, July (2009)

Nevertheless, we’ll be gone from here before it begins.

A city disappearing under festival posters.

That will be the memory.

I bought all my pronunciation could carry.

Le Bar Américain holding Wimbledon on an outdoor Bravia.

Table service ought to be sporadic, selective.

Show of authenticity.

Churches’ convenient distances (how many within bell-shot?).

‘Only of so much interest to non-Catholics, perhaps.’

The phrasebook covers us to the laundromat.

Tourist argues with the girl behind the desk: surely a gallery that only takes an hour should advertise as such(!)

Striding, intent on the next photo... only to gatecrash a raincoat group shot.

A grey sky needs a garden.

I don’t know a word.

recurring poem #7

Rae Armantrout : 'The Subject'

It's as if we've just been turned human
in order to learn
that the beetle we've caught
and are now devouring
is our elder brother
and that we
are a young prince.


I was just going to click

on "Phoebe is changed
into a mermaid
tomorrow!" when suddenly
it all changed
into the image
of a Citizen watch.


If each moment is in love
with its image
in the mirror of
adjacent moments

(as if matter stuttered)

then, of course, we're restless!

"What is a surface?"
we ask,

trying to change the subject.

From Rae Armantrout, 7 Poems (2004), freely available as a pdf via Beard of Bees.

first language

"It [poetry] has to become almost like a first language."

"When I listen to public discourse, it often seems to me that people don't really hear what they're saying. Poetry should cause people to think twice about the words in their mouths. Listen longer."

- two quotes from Rae Armantrout via Here Comes Everybody.

Friday, August 07, 2009

anti-establishment / graffiti (2009)

my adopted suburb
their arrogant houses
such prettified much
minding of one’s
own business here i
autechre providing
soundtrack to distort
dulled neighbourhood
covertly spitting
cropped beats over
picket fencing music
selected to alienate
surroundings vs. self

to alienise gardening
guard-dogged securities
executive salaried or
old-monied majesties
my word how rude
as a poet codenamed
wordy to scrawl upon
such spongy scenery
with my bum graffiti

Note: Autechre for the uninitiated.


"... the theory-of-no-theory ... is the most rigid and confining of theories, as well as the most prevalent. In every generation the theory-of-no-theory shouts loudest in the third-rate - for whom, always, 'the way to make poems is known'."

- Donald Hall, from 'Theory x Theory' in Poetry & Ambition

Monday, August 03, 2009

scratches (2009)

Bird’s call a greeting / warning / reminder.


Caged food.
E. coli.
Filed sewage.


Live a little less filtered?
Who has time for these experiments?


Crossword clue = ‘experimental’; answer = ‘tentative’.


Automatic door won’t acknowledge.
As if you don’t have a million things to steer.


Mouthing around for endearment, closure.


No recipient.


Scratch eczema till bleeding.
As if narrative were inevitable.


Monkish nest.
Fallen into the hands of Buddhists.
‘Bit too life-affirming for me.’


No audience for preachers here.


Step foot in these political premises.


Public imagery.


Shy collectors.
Sniped upskirt.


Airbrushed avatar.


Reach of the difference engine.
What is the quality of the search?


Futures sought, posited.
Fear the flashforward.


Default emotion?


Make no attempt.
Nothing to talk to.


Learning how to be uncomfortable.
Suffocating new scenery.
Who doesn’t attract weirdos?


Easy exit.
Must go, before we become friends.




Do not thank the owner when leaving.


What benefit of hindsight?


32, afraid.
Tendril of half-bitten mouthflesh at the jawline.


‘No pukers’ (a sign).


Imposed structure.
Trained garden.
Need poems.


Of uncertain authorship.
omnium gatherum.


Pump omens into.


You may yet prove interesting.
Or not.


We are happy to inform you.


Dear Repeater.
You are a collection.
Don’t worry.


Pill wears off.
Nothing learned once that doesn’t need learning again.


Once desire is overcome, writing flourishes?

Below: Brion Gysin, 'Calligraffiti of Fire' (click image to enlarge)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

otoliths 14 goes live

Check out the cover and contents...

Including work by Kirsten Kaschock, Pat Nolan, Márton Koppány, Jim Meirose, Anne Gorrick, Caleb Puckett, Peter Schwartz, Fredrick Zydek, Ed Baker, Ross Brighton, Derek Henderson, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Sheila E. Murphy, Raymond Farr, Jill Chan, John Martone, Bob Heman, Philip Byron Oakes, Ric Carfagna, Eileen R. Tabios, Justin Mulrooney, Jeff Harrison, Eric Burke, K. R. Copeland & Jeff Crouch, Crane Giamo, Paula Kolek, Daniel f Bradley, Arthur Leung, Joseph Harrington, Iain Britton, Thomas Fink, Tan Lin, Kristine Marie Darling , Joel Chace, Paul Siegell, Mariana Isara, Jay Snodgrass, Bill Drennan, Jill Jones, Stu Hatton, Nicholas Michael Ravnikar, Mara Patricia Hernandez, Felino Soriano, Matt Hetherington, Marcia Arrieta, Charles Freeland, Vernon Frazer, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Julian Jason Haladyn, Martin Edmond, harry k stammer, Reed Altemus, Randall Brock, Anny Ballardini, sean burn, A. Scott Britton, David-Baptiste Chirot, Joan Harvey, Mary Ellen Derwis, Bobbi Lurie, John Moore Williams, Sarah Ahmad, Scott Metz, Theodoros Chiotis, & Sheila E. Murphy.

That's a great list of names, in my humble opinion. I'm very happy to have four poems in the mix.
Thanks once again to Mark Young for accommodating some of my less well-behaved efforts...

opportunities to be jarred

"One of the things I like to do when I have a space of time is sit with a stack of books, a notebook and a computer and see what happens. I'll read for a bit in one book, stop and reflect. Maybe make a note, maybe not, then continue through the stack.

"The current stack includes William T. Vollmann's Riding Toward Everywhere, On Touching--Jean-Luc Nancy by Jacques Derrida, Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy, and James Davidson's The Greeks and Greek Love.

"It's a method that sometimes makes for interesting connections that might not be made otherwise. I often read for vocabulary as much as anything else (as a poet I mean). I'm not looking to steal. I'm looking for opportunities to be jarred into consciousness of something I didn't know I was looking for.

- Tom Beckett, from a recent post on Slim Windows

homespun (2009)

takes shape
________________________apartment split /
rolls right off our
________________________zoned by mood


daily digest
________________________laptop breakfast
newsfeed sweep
________________________a scan of the


________________________no will you shut up already
revenge of the o.j.
________________________stupide adults


little/no exercise
________________________glued to semi-final
needless turnovers
________________________devolves defensive


dodging room to room
________________________something again burning
language of, for avoidance
________________________smoking smoke detector


feels spliced
________________________this is only a test
about now
________________________who uses ‘unsightly’?


nothing wakes us like
________________________what we sit & resist
persistent tv bargain
________________________sudden leap / vol


to share such edges
________________________preview futures
incurable mimics
________________________migraine is mutual


cannot be worded
________________________sometimes sky is that big
one of those haiku moods
________________________knock front tooth / rim of glass


componentry flimsy
________________________weak verbs
seldom / never
________________________let anger