Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mulloway: A Tribute to Robert Adamson 28.1 Cordite

Cordite has a great tribute to Robert Adamson as Issue 28.1.
I wasn't asked to provide a poem, but will post my own here, my own fringe tribute which is the first poem out from my ongoing collaborations with erica/erika, the now famous author of Issue #1 in the for godot project. And David, if you want to post this one, (as it's already on my blog and anything is up for free sampling these days) you don't even have to ask.

Hey Bird

Nights are emissaries, intruders to build over water

Talk is living out the darkness
and impulses eat truth and stones to silence

Keeping clings, a triumph dismantled, a glimmer
in a stand of interiors
throwing a sort of gold stain

A talentless gift is sadder
than this seeing


In abandoned storms, vexations concern
this drapping of water and satisfaction is a tin pail
by a low shore

In a fold of dawn, a narrative
to the outside sky

(Immenisity/a heart happening/in
still rise/a shine)


This installment/a caper
chanting immediate and sweet
wearing the unfaded grass as fine as wind that has arrived

Shifting wider, soundless


A blue day, a daisy
a sun in play

Learn through the singing of bees
this bringing a mind into giddiness

And you shine as if you were strange


Teasing praxis, you are bold, mortal

In dipping forests wish breaks the bough

In a blue castle your travelling nature
is a babble, a song

ron silliman's poem from forgodot issue#1

Anyone following the Issue#1 project will be aware that Ron Silliman posted an almost threatening and very negative post about it and in comments he made on his own post's comment stream about this issue, he called what was done a 'crime'.

I wonder if he feels the only crime is the poem attribution erica/erika made (and it's subsequent jumble in the mass) that landed on page 1849 with his name attached.

I have found much of what Ron does with his own blog very interesting and much of the time he is fair and inventive, but on some things, like his constant put-downs of alternative poetics to his own, he is way too rigid. I hope this is not a sign of age, because many intelligent people are reinventing their process and their art making with robust and exciting challenges enhanced by their accumulation of years. I think that this situation shows Ron has taken such a public position on the hierarchy of poetry, that he has cornered himself somewhat into narrow flexibilities. A sense of play is what matters sometimes, not humour or seriousness, just a bit of a play, a shake up, a strum and tune of strings.

I do think it interesting that Ron bit so hard, and many others as well, though none with the clout Ron has in blog terms. But blogs are territories to do with hit numbers and boasts and long blogrolls, not a lot to do with poetry or poetics really, just short of conversations, more bulletin boards, boring as hell.

I'm posting Ron's Issue#1 poem here because his poem strikes me as one that might have had an editorial or interventionist hand, in addition to erica / erika's first attempt - but maybe the computer got it right first off and it is a poem, not the best poem, not a ron poem, but a poem.

(i thought to post one of his own poem creations up here with it, so we could all vote on which one we like, or which one we can understand best, or which one fits the nomenclature of choice - but i can't count on not being important enough for him to threaten to become a 'lead plaintiff' in a lawsuit against me, so i'll pass on it for now).
i hope it keeps its formatting


Lost as a food and won as a coast
Inefficient as a corner and efficient as a recess
Lost as balance, won as a time
Lost as a coast and found as a recess

It has been like becoming an
idea, jewels, memories,
devils, the fearing highnesses

Haze has gone in your impotent trading-house
You have been inefficient

Little and much
Low and high
Rotten and fresh

Ron Silliman

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

forgodot Issue # 1

there's a whole lot of discussion going on in blogland over this some people getting pretty pissed and others feeling confused or amused. some people being excited and taking it on as part of the particular moment poetry is in right now. others who were not included finding out and wishing they were in (it is a hoax of sorts, so go figure that one) and yes, i'm in for(godot )and glad i'm in. although some local bloggers must have skipped my name in the trawl through nearly 4000. it's ok, no problem. we all found our own names first didn't we or our mates names or people who matter in the big game, we found their names?

i think that's the point. on one of my comments either on the forgodot blog or the silliman one, i mentioned the fact that we are all our own/our only best readers. i've read heaps of the poems and some suck big time, others are so close to contemporary compositional mode, that they are good - but good only if you wrote them - or good enough to want to write like that or something. it is writing and some or most would be better than the stuff that comps receive.

i don't think the point of this project is to seriously tackle the incestuous world of contemporary poetics, but it does now doesn't it? and i like the way it provokes re the comments and the tough talk about law suits. i think the point is that we will either join in or we won't, we will accept that it is possible to compose by computer generated methods and that we can't or don't own words.

i have completed more than eight pages of computer generated poetry now using erika, trying first the source 'emily dickinson collected' and then the source 'heart of darkness' using hinge, lyric and fragment. it offers a selection of language strings to poach. i'm into poaching bits i like and putting those together, linking with my own words or not linking. i don't see a problem with this form of composition. it fast tracks production. is it good work? do i own it? who cares?

i think the timing of Issue # 1 is essential and the impact is long over due. too much weight is placed on cluster group and individual reputations. on names and product marketing. putting us all together with the dead and famous poets is saying something about egos and they got me excited about poetry again. i think that for me, it is a matter of why write and finding an answer. write via inspiration only, (and pretend that this is pure and it will be my reward) or mix it up, computer generate and inspiration, become a lyric poet again, go full on post avant, write to a journal or publishers agenda, write for the blog, write for myself - why write?

and one of the things that Issue #1 has made really clear is the fact that only poets care about poetry, and only then their poetry and the public have been lost to us for too long. we have imploded by the sheer weight of our earnest outpourings, our savvy positionings, our careerist agendas. the full impact of Issue #1 is an authorless, computer generated anthology, which has used in no particular order all the names connected with online publishing, or blogging and the editors have used us (or who we are in our names only) without fear or favour, without judgement or concern for quality or style - and no one gets the gong, and we all get the gong.

It's like the selection pool for the many 'best of' - which one will you select, (aside from your own) and will the fact that a big name is attached make it a better poem...just for the record, i really think john tranter is a great guy, but in this anthology, my poem is so much less awful than his one is (sorry john, but if anyone gets it i'm sure that you do).

here's my Issue #1 poem from page 3527

Bearing turned into immensity

A voice of parts
Of presence
A voice

The immortality of glee

A flower of laureates

Louise Waller

Friday, October 03, 2008

because it has been very dull of late

taking a drawing class once, the group had various seed pods and small vegetable matter, substances that were earth colours or leaf matter in the whole spectrum of shades, including living and dead vegetation, sticks, twigs and the like. our task was to select one first from the collected stash and attempt to render it with pencils of choice, or graphite and charcoal know, just pick something and start.

the tutor moved around the group looking at the works in progress, but saying very little. we had a time constraint, more to do with the length of class i think then any creative component.

the tutor moved in and around my process a couple of times but looked and said nothing, which for me at the time, (being young and wanting to please or be praised or be noticed or be instructed or guided in some way) had an unsettling and creepy outcome, in that, even though i had thought my work finished half way through the time allocated, i continued on with shading and line marking, ending up with something which was boldly, loudly, awfully awful.

the fact that i knew this somewhere in my own instinctive creative awareness did not stop me from blundering on, perhaps, waiting for someone to shout, stop.finis.end. but the tutor was way too clever and way too practised to interfere before the fact. after the session time ended, we did get our feedback and she mentioned to me about my piece, that she noticed the work was finished very early and was good, perfectly executed and then when she came back i had ruined it. i had over rendered, over worked it. yes, i had killed it and i knew it but couldn't stop wrecking it at the time, because i couldn't trust myself without approval or instruction.

i never forgot that class that night, that experience. i discovered in a not too different way the same thing about creating poems. although, i'm still discovering things about creating poems, but one of the things that i do now is stop and walk away or cut out great chunks and get rid of or start again with one good line or two good words or you know whatever and i poach good lines and sometimes i write about them. i put a lot of shit work up on my blog because i like the immediacy of doing it and later some (most of it) gets reworked or i kill it off. or bin it. rarely something feels right and i keep it (mostly it doesn't happen that way) - but sometimes it does.
the book holding job's hand was written in my notebook without too much messing, i had managed to find a rhythm early on and was interested in minimalism, so i actually thought edited as i was writing - but work that evolves in that way is rare for me and most likely was a result of reading and thinking about divergent subjects prior to inspiration, which came about or was facilitated by a line of text discovered in a google search.

if people were to read me as a poet by my work on my blog, they would be reading the girl in the drawing class, unsure and untrained and awful sometimes. i don't mind this, as for me, the blog is a tool and an adventure. so many blogs out there are setting themselves up as the alpha and the omega. there are clusters of self congratulating, clusters of serious shit, clusters of hips, clusters of wanks, clusters of everything wonderful and awful in personality and talent.

i do love blog land, but it has been very dull of late and way too precious and seems to be lacking a little generosity and humility. the great ones announcing the great things and the little folk responding in comments, the leaders and the followers. it is a sham really, isn't it? a big game or a hoax of sorts. sometimes it's a conversation and everyone can join in.