A Thought on the Future

Portrait of Christopher Brennan

Portrait of Christopher Brennan

I have been studying this year, and the chance to concentrate on something other than poetry has proved salutory. This is because a lot of my thought about poetry is now being processed by the subconscious, so that a stray moment here and at a stray moment there my thoughts return almost unbidden to the thought of what I plan to do regarding it.

One ambition is to do a lot more work around the poetry of Christopher Brennan. I get ideas for projects, and I work where I can on certain other projects (mainly the bibliography), and I am pleased to say that I see a lot of areas where I can contribute to Brennan studies, even if only as an editor of collections of items by or about Brennan.

I am also slowly gathering strength to set to on a series of papers about poets and poetry, mainly Australian ones, but also those from the belle epoque such as Dowson, Victor Daley and the like. I want to write more criticism, also, with an eye towards collecting the papers into collections sharing common themes, such as one idea of exploring the concept of Modernism beyond what is often considered the sole efflorescence, the High Modernism of postwar England/America. I want to look, that is, at other, “lesser” Modernists and poets of other strains of Modernism from other Anglophonic traditions.

I am also writing poetry, though not submitting as often as I would like. Part of this process involves steeling myself for more long poems, poems of anywhere from forty plus pges; poems that form the anchors of collections and that explore both forms and ways of speaking (both narrative and non-narrative).

And I am working on more bibliographical and other forms of scholarly writing and projects, including more concordances.

And all this while aiming to get a job….

Poem: ‘And in Moon’s eyes I see the moon’

Night Sky with Moon at Cairns

Night Sky with Moon at Cairns

For: Stuart Barnes

the moon
the tropical town
at night

the way streetlamps
attract moths

News: Summer Hiatus for Brownstone Poets

NYC image
When: June through August, 2014
Where: New York City

Ms Patricia Carragon has informed me that there are no readings for Brownstone Poets from June through August at either Cafe Dada or Park Plaza Restaurant.

They will be back on Tuesday the 19th of August, 2014 with three amazing women, Madeline Artenberg, Mireya Perez, and Iris N. Schwartz at Cafe Dada.

She also hopes that everyone has a safe and fun summer!

Events: The Eighth Annual Ocean State Summer Writing Conference

Banner for the conference

Banner for the conference

When: 19-21 June, 2014
Where: The University of Rhode Island
Website: http://www.uri.edu/summerwriting/2014/index.html

Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Ocean State Summer Writing Conference! Be sure to take advantage of the Early Bird discount, until May 15th.

This year, they are thrilled to welcome the following keynote speakers: graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, poet Charles Bernstein, and novelist Percival Everett. Returning from last year to teach master classes are dramatist Ayad Akhtar and novelist Amity Gaige. Poet and critic Stephen Burt will lead an advanced workshop.

In addition to poetry, nonfiction, and fiction workshops, there will be memoir and young adult literature, and screenwriting.

The main conference features a panel of comics artists, discussion with editors, and a special presentation by artist Susan Bee, among many more events.

Don’t miss the opportunity to have a consultation with one of two editors from Penguin.

For more information and to register, please visit the website. There are a limited number of scholarships; applications are due May 16.

Good Intentions

A commonplace book

A commonplace book

I have started this month with a number of good intentions; I shall see if I am able to keep them or not. Most (if not all) are concerned with poetry, and include:

  • keepingrecords of each action, such as submissions, revisions, transcriptions, etc.;
  • maintaining a commonplace book/journal;
  • maintaining a number of books with neat, written drafts of poems;
  • writing & submitting more;
  • keeping a bibliography of poetry appearances by market; &
  • keeping printouts/cuttings of my poems.

In short, I aim to get more organised and more involved in getting organised so that I can tell where I should submit more work, and the like. So that also means a lot of book-keeping (insert frowny face here)….

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.