A Parable

Lover and Beloved

Lover and Beloved (Image courtesy of www.flickriver.com)

A maiden to her man once spoke: “I love thee with a Love all-powerful, resistless, for, within mine heart, thou art as one of might and everlasting beauty, sweetness, wisdom.”

“And yet,” he said, “that cannot be, for Love can never build a dream that is its greater, and so such Love can never be all-powerful, and if it can it is the weaker force, and so it cannot be all-powerful; and so I hold such Love may never be, no matter how you find me beautiful, no matter how you find me sweet, no matter how you find me wise, and so I say to you adieu.”

Poetica: May to July Broadcasts

Radio National logo

Radio National logo

Website: http://abc.net.au/radionational/programs/poetica/

The following are the details of the broadcasts from May through July for Poetica, Radio National’s poetry programme that is not only broadcast across Australia but is also available on their website.

Poetica is presented by Melanie Tait and Daniel Browning, and it is broadcast on Saturdays at 3:05 pm, and again on Thursdays at 9:05 pm.

The details for May’s programmes are:

May the 3rd: Contemporary NYC Poets
Jon Sands, Adam Falkner and Jeanann Verlee discuss life in New York City, and perform their work.
May the 10th: Fairweather’s Raft
Dael Allison’s collection of poems about the great painter, Ian Fairweather.
May the 17th: Abundance in a Small Space
Clive James, recorded in his house in Cambridge, introduces and reads a selection of his poems.
Thursday the 29th of May: The Taste of River Water
A conversation and reading with Cate Kennedy. (There is no Saturday broadcast due to a secial on the Sydney Writers’ Festival.)
May the 31st: Topophilia
A selection of place-specific poetry from around Australia. To celebrate World Environment Day, Poetica begins a season of programmes on the spirit of place.

The details for June’s programmes are:

June the 7th: Genii Loci
The life and work of Australian nature poet, John Anderson.
June the 14th: Broken Land
Coral Hull’s portrait in verse of Brewarrina in New South Wales.
June the 21st: The Sixth Creek
Rachael Mead’s collection of poems centred on Sixth Creek in the Adelaide Hills.

(There is no Saturday broadcast on June the 28th due to a World War One Centenary Weekend special.)

The details for July’s programmes are:

Thursday the 3rd of July: Poems of the First World War
Well-known Australians choose a poem from WW1.
July the 5th: Rendra
A feature on Indonesia’s flamboyant poet, W.S Rendra.
July the 12th: Tide
An anthology of poems celebrating the ebb and the flow of the tide.
July the 19th: Poems as Strong as Sculptures
A meeting with British poet Pascale Petit.

The details of these programmes are supplied courtesy of the team at Poetica.

Call for Submissions: Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

Image courtesy of the SPAN Ecopoetry Project

Image courtesy of the SPAN Ecopoetry Project

Website: http://www.plumwoodmountain.com
Submission period: 1 March 2014 to 15 May 2014
Submission email: submissions.plumwoodmountain @ gmail.com
ISSN: 2203-4404

Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics is open for poetry submissions for issue 2 to be published in August 2014.

Send up to 3 poems in Times New Roman 12pt font, 1.5 spacing with each poem as a separate email attachment (only .doc, .docx, or .rtf files are acceptable) to the submission email address. No personal data should be included with the poems. Send a separate cover sheet with poem titles, your name and contact email address and a short bio (50 words).

They are asking that poems are not previously published.

Ecopoetry is not nature writing or landscape poetry, per se, but rather responds to the ecological crises and challenges of our time, especially in the way it uses and critiques the use of language and form. The journal is open to a wide variety of styles and forms of poetry in an ecopoetic genre, and welcomes experimentation in defining the scope of ecopoetry. They are open to collaborative works, found or recycled text, visual poems, photographic essays and sound recordings.

For the first two issues of Plumwood Mountain they are not able to pay contributors, as all work for the journal is voluntary. When they become eligible, they plan to apply for funding to pay poetry contributors.

Copyright of poems, artwork, articles and reviews remains with the contributor.

This call for submissions comes courtesy of Anne Elvey, the Managing Editor of Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics.

On Life as a Poet

The Poet Myron Lysenko

The Poet Myron Lysenko

Part of my life as a poet consists of finding the time to become and remain organised. I take the time to save my poetry in individual files in folders organised by year and first letter of the title proper. I also add, as part of the title, an indication of its general form (rhyming verse, unrhymed formal verse or free verse) and whether it has been published.

This helps me to see at a glance whether a poem may be suitable for a given market. If someone only wants free verse, I only consider those marked as free verse; and so on.

But all this book-keeping takes time and effort to sustain, and often I weary at the thought of making a note on all the poems, in the submission tracker, and in my checklist of poems needing to be resent, as soon as I receive a form rejection. Sometimes I am so tired I want to say “stuff it….”

Of course I can always say that the simple reality is that my time is meant solely to create poetry. All this time spent submitting poetry, corresponding, keeping records, even revising and shift files around is wasted, dead time, impedimenta that stops me from writing.

But writing and the writing life is more than just putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). If we just wrote and did not try to get the work out there, whether as individual poems or collections, then that writing is effectively wasted. The poetry needs to be heard and read for it to be poetry.

Publication, whether in a national magazine or in a love letter for only one person, is essential.

Since I have written thousands of poems, and since I write more, I need those records or else I easily stuff up. Hence the massive bibliography, unwieldy as it is, hence the records, the submission tracker, the constant notes and lists and everything else. If I didn’t I wouldn’t know what has gone where, and whether it’s been acceptd by one or one hundred markets, each thinking it has first bite.

It’s the same as when you’re working: you need to take time working on taxes, business plans, the whole shebang if you run a business, or you fail and you don’t know where and how well you are going.

There are many romantic illusions about living the life of a poet. I’ve heard a lot of them, and most of them either aren’t true or don’t apply to most poets. And most of them forget there are more skills a poet needs than the ability to string two words together, and that organisation and planning are critical to any success. It doesn’t matter if you rely on improvisation and inspiration for all your verse, or if you slave over each syllable, grinding and revising unil the stone is clear crystal.

So, as I leave this post, knowing that I have to return to the days and weeks of dullness, making notes and making lists, and making sure every record is up-to-date, I want to ask one question: how important is the minutiae of daily writing, the record keeping that helps keep the poetry both flowing and organised, for you?


Grumpy cat

Grumpy cat

I must apologise for my long silence. Life, as they say, has intervened, and I have been caught up trying to juggle so many plans and demands that I have neglected my duties as a blogger.

At the same time I have wanted o reduce the amount of “look who has accepted me!” and “here are my latest pieces!” posts. It’s not because I don’t need them, it’s because I want to concentrate on lengthier, more thoughtful pieces.

I want, from this year, to post more book reviews, more meaty posts about poetry and poetics, more pieces about my interest in mental health and my looming work as a mental health peer support worker. And I want to take the time to look around, locate poetry that I love online, and share it, not in drips and drops but longer, more anthologylike pieces that bring together audio and video and text into a cluster of poetry.

In short, I’ve been thinking, and I want to be more ambitious, more worthy of being a poet and advocate for poetry.

So: good intentions time–I’m planning a post for Monday, my next middle-aged birthday.

Latest Appearance: Poem of the Week

An hourglass

An hourglass (image courtesy of Creative Thinkers International)

Website: http://www.australianpoetry.org/2013/11/11/6-november-against-the-current/

My poem “A Free Verse Rispetto on Time” has been selected as the Australian Poetry poem of the week for the week starting on the 6th of November, 2013. That’s the URL of the page, above.

I’m excited to have been selected because this is an opportunity to have my work before my immediate peers, my fellow Australian poets, and online at the same time. And it shows, also, that with work and perseverence, you too can have your poetry selected.

More Sounds!

SoundCloud icon

SoundCloud icon

Website: https://soundcloud.com/phillip-a-ellis/doveton-north

I have just added another poem to my slowly growing collection of files in my SoundCloud account. It is, as you will see from the URL above, the poem “Doveton North”, which had originally been published in the SpeedPoets zine, earlier this year.

I am not going into detail about how the poem relies on autobiographical detail to help develop its point. That I had lived for less than a year in the suburb of Doveton North (a suburb of Dandenong), is only a historical accident. Rather, the poem was stimulated by my reading of a piece about Doveton in a fairly recent issue of Meanjin. The result was an imaginative reverie. Only the title relies on autobiography; nothing else.

I could, of course, go on to make a general statement that only applies to my own poetic. That I will not should now be clear: I find, with my own practice, that the vast majority of my poems that reference my life depart significantly from it. So my “Under the Haunted Hills” stems not from a childhood in their physical shadows, but from a life with their name, images & mythos as an imaginative undercurrent. In much the same way that Yallourn is, for me, a haunting evocation of the impermanency of the human world, as a motif, an image, rather than the literal town that was replaced by an open-cut mine.

For me, my life is the point of departure for my poetry. My intent is that the latter should exist without me, without the biography that tempts the unwary to read my life from my poetry (and not the other way around). That is why I distrust confessionalism. I do not feel that a poem should rely on the knowledge of the poem’s life because it tempts people to read that life from the poems, not, as above, vice versa.

This is also why I have refused to elucidate further regarding the whole of the poems in my collection My Victoria. I have said that they are based in part on my memories and experiences, as well as my imagination. But I don’t want to reveal the dwarf in the machinery, so to speak, the one that makes the moves of the chessmaster of brass cogs and pulleys.

Latest Acceptances: Scifaikuest

A jaguar

A jaguar (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Website: http://www.samsdotpublishing.com/scifaikuest/cover.htm

I’ve heard back from Scifaikuest regarding my latest submission there, and three of my scifaiku have been accepted. One will appear online in February 2014; two will appear in that month’s print issue.

As you may gather, I am both happy and excited over this latest set of acceptances, and I am more than happy to see that my work is getting accepted and getting out there.

It may be of interest to know, also, that lately I have been attempting to submit something every day, these last few weeks, trying to get back into the swing of things, and trying, also, to get ready for 2014, when I plan on attempting to do so until I can no longer do so.

Add to that the aim to write at least one complete draft of a poem a day, and a new poem at that, every day, and I shall be a busy fellow. Hopefully I shant run out of items to submit for a very long time.

Of course, one reason why I have had so many poems accepted is that i actually submit a lot of work. The more I have out there, the more chances that something will be accepted. The more I have accepted, the more chances of books or chapbooks being accepted. And so it goes, until I get enough together for a sizeable body of work.

Anyway, how have you been going vis a vis acceptances? Where have you been appearing?

Latest Appearances: Sargasso

Sargasso cover

Sargasso Cover (image courtesy of Sam Gafford’s William Hope Hodgson blog)

I know that I’m late in marking the occasion, however, I wanted to wait until I had my contributor copies so that I could verify a few details (page numbers and the like) for my bibliography. Now that I have them, and now that I’ve updated the bibliography, I am ready to tell the world….

I have two poems and one paper in the inaugural issue of Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies. The poems are both, more or less, very brief elegies about Hodgson. The paper, however, is a twenty-page piece about his poetry. It is one of the few extended pieces about his poetry, and it will not be the first.

In a sense, the real pioneer of WHH Studies when it comes to his poetry is Jane Frank. She is responsible for the latest major poetry publications, and she has also written the major introduction to his poetry. So she deserves credit for really getting that aspect of criticism about him going.

Myself, thus far, I am more of a follower, having relied a lot, in my paper, on her introductions. Simply because so little has been written about the poetry thus far.

What’s next? I am looking ahead to the next issue of Sargasso, for which I will be writing a paper about the shared worldview in The Voice of the Ocean, Hodgson’s longest and most interesting poem, The House on the Borderland and The Night Land. here’s a hint: it involves the transmigration and purification of souls.

After that, as and when I get time, I hope (with Ms Frank’s blessing, I hope) to collect all the xetant poetry into a single volume, with relevant information and other paratextual equipment (I almost wrote impedimenta). That is because a decently-priced, readily available edition of the poetry is essential to getting some critical mass happening, regarding its wider readership and its wider study.

An Appearance and an Acceptance

Morgen Bailey

Morgen Bailey (image courtesy of The View from my Mountaintop)

Website: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/post-weekend-poetry-093-after-marius-the-epicurean-by-phillip-ellis/

I have just had a poem appear on Morgen Bailey’s poetry blog (that’s her to the right), “After Marius the Epicurean”. It appeared yesterday, as part of her Post-Weekend Poetry series.

She has also accepted “Kenneth Rexroth Has a Posse” for next Monday’s post. So I’m doubly chuffed!

Don’t forget that Morgen is always on the lookout for quality poetry that she can share online, so please help her, help me, and help yourself by submitting something for her blog. And, by all means, have a look at what else is on there, ok?

Thank you!