Monday, September 28, 2009

Critical Animals / TINA

On Friday I'll be heading up to This Is Not Art (TINA) in Newcastle. In the afternoon,
as part of Critical Animals, I'll be taking part in a group reading of Gertrude Stein's Stanzas in Meditation in Civic Park. Other readers will include Penny Duff, Derek Motion, Michael Farrell, Ella O'Keefe and Jal Nicholl - and members of the audience are also invited to read. The reading runs from 2:30-5:30pm. I expect to arrive fashionably late, probably about halfway through.

On Saturday morning I'll be involved in a panel discussion with Derek Motion, Jill Jones and Michael Farrell (plus facilitator Aden Rolfe), talking about the place of the experimental in contemporary Australian poetry. From the program:

Contemporary Poetics (Looking In): the place of the experimental in contemporary Australian poetry.

Sat 3 Oct: 9.30am – 11.00am

Banquet Room, City Hall

Is experimental poetry now the norm in Australia and what does experimental mean in 2009? Who makes up the audience for experimental poetry? Does the diversity in Australian poetic practice entail a progressive, permissive playing-field? This engaging and exploratory panel discussion includes readings by the panellists.

The impulse for the panel came from John Kinsella's comments in his introduction to The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (2009):

"The publication or presentation of innovative verse-novels, prose poetry, hypertextual poetry, multimedia and performance poetry, installation poetry, concrete poetry and many other cross-generic forms is standard in Australia now. Experimentation is the expectation rather than the departure, but this surely leads us to question what actually constitutes the experimental, and to begin looking elsewhere for what is truly working against the status quo."

Jill Jones has blogged in response to this here. I'm really looking forward to continuing this discussion, and to meeting the other panelists.

Once the panel's done there are a million panels/performances/happenings I want to check out, but there'll also be time to kick back and hang out with the other (critical) animals and festival peeps. I'll be staying in the tent city if anyone's looking for me...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

coupling (2009)

who's impersonating who
here / who's mindblowing who

she too is edgy / &

late night
drip / crack

half-pout / making
eyes at no-one

/ he's so hard
to open

back turned / to
the landscape

what a couple / part
business part unfinished

i.e. there's no word / for this
& that buys you

/ future ammunition
(it rides within / your system)

hoaxed (2009)

(Seven #17)

Couldn't return her
gaze with a straight
phrase. Got hoaxed. Casualties
of noise. Performed upon. Your
chauffeured defiance / closet
hetero- &

other violations.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wordsalad 17/9/09

The latest Wordsalad podcast features poetry and spoken word from Alex Hamburger, Andrea Gibson, Aaminah Hernandez, Corbet Dean, Janet Kuypers, Joan Retallack, Jorie Graham, Maria Fama, Naomi Shihab, Pierre Joris, Richard Huelsenbeck, Sekou (tha misfit), Stu Hatton and Wyndham Lewis. All interspersed with music from Morton Feldman.

Thanks to Paul Baker for putting together another inspiring show, and to Chris Andrews for helping out with the recording of 'faulty'.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wrap-up of Overload (and the rest)

What a festival that was! Wish I could've caught more of it, but what I did catch was inspiring. My faith in the Melbourne poetry and spoken word scene has been renewed.

First up there was the launch at the Fitzroy Town Hall. Myron Lysenko MCed and read excerpts from Blake and Auden to get our minds in the frame. Or out of the frame - isn't that what poetry's about? Great selections, Myron! Mayor of Yarra Amanda Stone (who was my Year 8 English teacher!) gave a fitting speech. Jennif
er Harrison gave the perfect tribute to the late, great and dearly missed Dorothy Porter. Then the Heart Chamber (Matt Hetherington, Lia Hills, Tom Joyce, Michelle Leber and Marian Spires) performed love poetry which ranged from the flippant to the full-flight ecstatic. It was almost like seeing a group of poet-friends performing as if they were the only ones in the room: it seemed they were freely bouncing poems/fragments off one another. The segues were natural/unexpected rather than contrived. Cool idea... didn't see anything else quite like it for the rest of the festival. Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for the infamous pub crawl (thereby bringing infamy upon myself!).

On Saturday the 5th I went along to the (non-Overload-related) Frame Lines party at Loop. Was great to see photography/artwork from the magazine up on the projector screen, and to meet the staff and artists involved. I read 'chapel st'. Thanks to Sarah and Jeremy for opening up the stage.

Then there was Tripping the Light Ekphrastic at Glitch on Tuesday the 8th. What can I say... great gig, great poets, great performances, great crowd, great souvenir chapbooks (thanks Fee!). As promised, I read 'Sharps' by Nathan Moore and 'Suite' by Dana Guthrie Martin, along with my remixes of those poems: 'Sharps' (Warding Remix) and 'Suite' (Sour Remix). Thanks to everyone who came along. It was an honour to share the stage with Anna Fern, Ahmed Hashim, Fee Sievers, Maurice McNamara and Kristin Henry. All the poets ble
w me away on the night, and everyone I spoke to said they really enjoyed the performances and concept. Something I should've mentioned earlier is the pre-gig interview I did for the Overland blog. Thanks to Maxine Clarke for organising that.

The following Thursday saw the launch of the first edition of [untitled] at Watsonia library. Kalinda Ashton gave a fantastic launch speech, reminding everyone of the importance of magazines and journals that publish stories and poems by new and emerging writers. Then we were treated to readings by some of the featured writers (I gave a reading of 'hands/office'). Thanks and congrats to Blaise, Les and the rest of the [untitled] crew. A well-attended and memorable launch, for sure. All bodes well for the future of this publication.

On Saturday night I went along to Poetry in Motion at ACMI Studio. David Rozetsky's short films based on poems by Elizabeth Campbell, Philip Salom and Luis Gonzalez Serrano were alluring examples of videopoetry, marrying the short film aesthetic with poem-as-voiceover and music. There was also a series of video poems curated by Sydney's Wordjammin' collective, which were more experimental/avant-garde, in some cas
es unashamedly lo-fi, but all fascinating in their own way. Sjaak de Jong curated a brilliant selection of vispo and audio-visual pieces from Australia and around the world, including the likes of Warren Burt, Eddy Burger and Richard Tipping. All things considered, with the possible exception of the Surprise Showcase (see below), Poetry in Motion was probably my favourite part of the festival - because it pointed to the future. It promised to be 'a truly innovative session', and for me it definitely delivered.

I stuck around for the Skype Slam, which has been discussed at length on the Overland blog. Despite the technical hitches, it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed all the performances. Although maybe I would've been more disappointed if I'd just come along for the slam and hadn't already been blown away by Poetry in Motion? Still, I figure the Skype Slam concept was a risk worth taking.

Sunday night's Surprise Showcase at Dante's closed the festival in style, with some
captivating performances. Josephine Rowe, Maxine Clarke, Lewis Scott and Felix Nobis were magical. Congrats to all the award winners, who were definitely deserving - especially Michael Reynolds. Again it was great to see such a large, up-for-it crowd... mainly made up of poets, but this was a night for the poets to celebrate what we have.

Thanks to everyone who made Overload what it was: from the festival committee and staff (James Waller,
Jon Garrett, Luis Gonzalez Serrano, Sjaak de Jong, Tim Hamilton et al), to the venues, the audiences, and of course the poets.

If there's one thing I'll take from the festival it's that I should get out
to at least one gig every week, because the scene is so rich, and should be supported. And because Melbourne's poets are worth hanging out with. Cheers to you guys!

Ok, now I need to lie down.

Below: Tripping the Light Ekphrastic at Glitch Bar. Group shot (L-R): Maurice McNamara, Brett Ditchfield, Kristin Henry, Fee Sievers, Ahmed Hashim, moi, Anna Fern.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thirteen Myna Birds

My poem 'stock' is making an appearance over at Thirteen Myna Birds, brushing wingtips with poems by Walter Conley, Adam Fieled, Asmara Malik, Alishya Almeida, Dana Guthrie Martin, John Rocco, James Brush and Kyle Hemmings.
Thanks to editor Juliet Cook for letting my poem join the flight formation.

'stock' will only be up there for a limited time. Thirteen Myna Birds features 13 poems at any given time, and each time a new poem is published, the oldest poem gets 'etherised'. Archives? Pffft.

* Wrap-up of Overload and other gigs coming soon...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ends (2009)

low on content / snack
on puzzles

27 yrs on a food-
free diet

later found munching on
a chocolate Buddha

graffiti on the cistern
said religion should be flushed

gods do demand a great deal

not down with what
has so far been said /
interjection anxiety

fielding questions from
night / emptying its emptiness

TV left ghosting
as background buffer

cashew overdose / more
football than ever before

‘keep to the news’ –

earnings territorialise / mind
gets operated

knowing who
to know

(your score)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

5 years of thoughs

As my wife Monica (aka the human calendar) kindly pointed out, today marks the 5th anniversary of this blog.

To mark the occasion, I've dug deep into the vaults and selected a poem from each year of the blog's existence. Not necessarily my favourites, but pieces which I thought deserved a second look for whatever reason.

Year 1: the great singing voices of the dead
(I don't write 'em like this any more!)

Year 2: Portrait of Ledong Qui
(I still see Ledong at poetry gigs occasionally - hopefully I'll see you at Overload, Ledong!)

Year 3: digitalia
(Think I can see a family resemblance with more recent experiments in this one.)

Year 4: rain

Year 5: stoppages
(Sentences on a theme?)

Thanks to you, the readers of the blog, for your feedback and encouragement. I wonder what this blog, my (writing) life, and the world will look like 5 years from now... Any predictions?