Wednesday, July 30, 2008

stanage poem

Is it naïve to think things will stay as they are?

Worse to believe. Some kind of innocence and time goes.
Unnoticed. Experience uses youth. The outcome sameness.
In retrospect. Being alive and life itself uses. I junky self on.
Can’t get enough. Each morning more experience. Breakfast/
lunch/not enough exercise. I clutter self on. In adjectives this
landscape. The me/ocean/islands/everything that I see/hear/
touch. And here feels. Is the long. And what did it change?
Seems not quantifiable. It creeps. Unexpected. It fogs
and fog covers aspects that otherwise manifest. In the sun.
On a clear day. And even when clear days mount. A sense
of the fog’s presence. Where it waits timing an entrance.
Change is that or is something. It finds. In a seaside pub in
a seaside town. Always a couple of drunks. The tart women.
The singles. The tourists. Now that the town is cashed. The
big pockets. Greed is the new belief. Better roads. The Judas
to the Christ. Talking locals who don’t want. It was a good
living once. How many times? Fishing local. I hear that
or I say it. Do. In another small place the greedy bell
rings. And how fast the pace a place disappears? Vegetation/
turtles/dugong. A bitumen road. Bringing in progress?
A deep sea port. Coal dust. A pristine pollution. A death
knell. A token. A sleight of…I don’t believe. Experience
echoes progress. In the way and the how. When it comes
cruising in on the resources. There's no backtrack out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

stanage poem

The sound that forgot to end itself

Sound is a shim. As if it is an only thing. As noise
could be that. Making on silence what a lilium
opening offers scent. Finding the sense amongst
the senses that best appreciates. And believing
that this sound comes now as it's needed. Or not
so. It could be an illusion to make sound a
particular irritant. On a worthy day it could be
that the eyes won't take such enormity on
without distractions. In the inner ear this shim.
Almost rushing where silence could be.
If silence exists. Perhaps only in space
is a mind filled. The awe and spectacle.
One's smallness in that. Perhaps only then
that silence wipes away doubts about looking.
About opening the whole grab bag of sensory craft.
As deployment is. Space must be other than anything else
and not like. So much is here all the time. Looking different
because of a sunray's momentary grace or its purpose.
The light crossing green things the natural warmth.
Filling senses. This shim catches it's place. Fills enough.

Monday, July 28, 2008

stanage photos

stanage photos

more stanage photos

stanage poem

Why I'm not a twitcher *
Unlike Molly Crawford - writer, conservationist,
twitcher - I'm a poet. I like birds, but poetry
better. I've got a grant now, a writing project.
So, I'm a poet, on the road to Stanage
and birds are singing all around.

Birds don't notice poets. Their songs
go on. At intervals I write notes
for poems. Ray eats soft cheese
with those toasted baby bagels
he likes. I wish the sun was out.

Crows caw caw, ever present and
I miss the close up as a raptor lifts,
drop the last piece of camembert
onto my notes. Some of it sticks
when I scoop it off with my fingers.

Ray smokes and I smoke and birds
sing through each click. Ray says,
"Anything to drink?" I take the top off
the water, and get the camera out.
Thinking about Molly as we drive.

We get to a marshy stretch, two
brolgas and a crane are visible, so
Ray slows the car for a photo op.
I say, "They look like wood-cuts", but
he thinks they look better than that.

I can hear birds singing all around.
We've done 50 k's dodging pot holes
on the dirt, crossing sandy creek beds
that cut the road in the wet. Ray smokes
and I smoke. I put the window down.

The camera jiggles in my lap, along with
maps and my glasses. We drive through
another patch of fog. My notebook is
filling with poems; whimbrel, limosa
limosa, and red-necked stint as titles.

Still another 40 k's of dirt to drive along
before we get where we're going. On the
road to Stanage, a whole lot of birds are
endlessly singing. I'm calling my poems
'camembert notes' when they're finished.

* a person who travels long distances
to look at birds

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

more on the water - photos

on the water - photos

on the land - photos

on the road - photos

Stanage (northern Shoalwater area) photos

I recently spent a few days at Stanage, (the northern part of Shoalwater Bay area) with Ray, researching and writing for my current project, fishing and taking some photos along the way. I'm going to post some soon and hope anyone reading my blog might enjoy them.
I'll post updates on the writing project from time to time, if and when I have anything worth posting about.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

juggling judging 3

Well, I have completed the task and will hand over the poetry tomorrow. The judging is blind and I don't know who has won the open and regional awards, or who the poets are who will receive the highly commended and commended citations but I do know their poems, having spent some time reading the work. I really like the majority of the ones that got lucky this time and have a good deal of healthy respect for all of the poems (and their soon to be announced poet creators).

Judging is so subjective. I was being objective about the task, but at the end of the day what I did was select the work which I found most worthy. Another judge/s may well have selected in a different order and possibly included some that I did not and I'm guessing that even with another judge/s some of the poems would be as I selected.

One of the things I notice when I judge poetry (no expert, but I have participated as a judge on this award for a few years now and last year I read and edited the many contributions for foam:e issue #5) is the way fresh work jumps right out, even from a pile of two hundred or more poems. A fresh poem is a treasure. It's such a reward when it's first read. It becomes impossible to forget and as a result, becomes one for the short list almost immediately.

I don't know about other judges or other more salubrious comps (what they find or what they do), but in this one (so far as I can comment from my own experience of reading the entries) not enough poems come in that are competent in form, voice, experiment, content, ideas, artistry (or any number of other aspects of the best literature) as well as being challenging and aware of the moment 'now' we are in. I image that those poems are only written (here I'm taking an educated guess) by a poet who reads widely, navigates their art risking something, striving for something more than a well-crafted or merely competent style.

I call this rare poetry 'fresh' because it shouldn't be so hard to find in the entries sent to a competition, but it always is. And that's why when it's read, it's such a big surprise, it's always going to impress a reader. I scratch my head and wonder why so many poets insist on doing the safe tired 'same ole'. I'm not suggesting everyone goes and gets all post-avant or langpo or hyperlyric or non-creative or flarf-like or anything whatever else (not that I would mind if they did for the most part) - but I wish that some of the people writing poetry would stop writing it. I wish that they would just give it up and consider a long course in reading it instead.

Friday, July 18, 2008

is wilderness?

(if it's found it disappears)

the carbon footprint speeds
from earth to moon to mars
and space becomes a view / a picture
astronauts navigating

in my backyard the stars are smudgeless
yet stars reduce / this optic fastness / what light prints
best moving blind and legless through

Monday, July 14, 2008

juggling judging 2

I have one medium pile of 'open' poetry entries now and one very small pile of 'regional' poetry I'm getting close to being able to sift the winners out - but as I sometimes like to do, I'll read through the discarded piles again, just to make sure that nothing got ditched (sometimes this happens) that should still be in the possible pile.

When I read through the entries, I make lots of little piles and bind them, so that I can track the process of discarding. A lot of work can resonate differently depending on my own mood and my own receptiveness at the time of reading. I'll probably continue to sit on these piles (mostly reading the possible pile over more throughly) until I feel that I've come to a decision.

One year, I remember ditching one poem from the pile a few times, and then a couple of days later, putting it back in. This went on for a while (it was the 'open' award pile) and then I started dreaming about the poem, and it just wouldn't leave me alone. Eventually, although it didn't win, it was left in and received a highly commended.

This year's 'open' pile has got me dreaming about poetry again, more specifically, dreaming about a couple of the poems, some of the striking lines and words in those poems and I'm waking up with those words in my head. I love it when this happens. It often happens with my own work and when it happens with the work of some other poet, it delights me no end. Poetry does not make a rational argument for itself, it can more often creep or sift in around the edges of the rational mind. Poetry is a great lurker and for this ability alone, it (the poetry?) insinuates itself into a wider field of existence and I love it for this.

Some poets who got lucky during my years of judging the 'open' include winning, highly commended and commended entrants (in no particular order) - Angela Gardner, Jena Woodhouse, Andrew Slattery, Nathan Curnow, Catherine Stewart, T.M. Collins, Jan Sullivan, Shane McCauley, Rosana Licari, Mark Miller, Lyn Oliver, Vivienne Glance, Maris Morton, John Egan, Daphne Hargraves, Raymond Southall.

Anyone who is reading this, (my few visitors god bless you) and who is an Australian, may recognise some of the names above. Regional competitions don't always attract large numbers, but the field is always well contested in the 'open' award. Prize money is smaller than the larger comps, but is often a little easier to get because of this (especially if the poetry rocks), and I guess any prize with money attached is always welcome.

So I'll be reading again later today, and I'll be sleeping on it again, and who knows what will happen. All I know at this point, is that poetry is alive and lurking...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

juggling judging

Last year I declared my intention not to judge a particular regional poetry award, which in previous years, it had been a great privilege to judge. I had decided that it was probably time for others to step up...alas...none did, or none were asked to take it on, and I find myself (as of yesterday) with around two hundred open entries, considerably fewer regional entries and less than two weeks to complete the selections for awards.

I'm not adverse to doing it, mostly I welcome it, but I had so hoped someone else would have been keen to take it on this year. So, I've done my first round of selections, spent most of yesterday with them, feel that I have only just got rid of the rubbish, and found that I have two very large piles of possibles for the open and two smaller piles of possibles for the regional.

I thought I'd blog about the process as I was inside it this year. After having successfully edited edition #5 foam:e throughout last year, and getting it to publishing stage for March launch online, I feel that I've got a lot more of a take on what poetry catches, what poetry makes itself heard, what poetry insinuates itself into my reader brain.

But first, a little about the rubbish.

Some poets are not reading poetry, some might only have read the odd one or two from 19th century or the work on greeting cards, but most of the really bad rubbish, is just the emotional mind talking to itself, some need to talk on paper, perhaps it is comforting, but it is not poetry worth sending into an open award.

Also, some still send in hand written narratives, which could be letters to friends, or shopping lists, (if you could read them) - still others are fond of tricked up fonts and title headings the size of hot air balloons and in colours that are so bright you need sunglasses to read them.

Yes, yes, they are entitled to send entries, yes they pay the fee - but do they really (i mean it do they) think they can win?

Here's a little bit of spleen for the kind of person, who so devalues poetry, who so scorns it, that they think they can send any silly rubbish to an award, without ever reading anything current, or without ever finding a passion for poetry which could instruct them better than any workshop ever could, so here is my big bit of wisdom spleen for the kind of poet that will always end up in the rubbish pile when I'm judging...why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother...

PS I'm not even sure if I want to tackle the mind numbing humming of the endless caress of the kind that in mind needs everything to rhyme (I wouldn't object to work of originality and flair, but the rain, pain, love, dove, head, dead stuff, no, never, not ever).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

post splat splatter

this is not a prose poem nor a po poem nor a con po poem
maybe this is a lang po poem or a un poem or a couple of
lines on a page that don't have ............................................

did you hear the one about the poem that was meaning
to........................................yeah, like, i didn't get it at all
at first and then i thought what if..................................