Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas in Hell? – A poem

Written for the Poetry Zoo Christmas anthology please enjoy:

Christmas in Hell?

A north wind blows an ash hot gale.
A scarabaean plague descends.
And pregnant clouds that should entail
Sweet soothing rain, in mocking send
Fire from the sky, to scorch the land
From tropic tip to southern sound.

As limb on sweaty limb resides,
Dour dwellers in this southern clime
Make haste toward retreating tides
To bathe in shark infested brine.
And waves of blist’ring sun torment
Many a red robed mendicant.

We turn the body on the spit.
Upheld tradition’s our remit.
In Dante’s circles do we stand,
For Christmas in this wide brown land?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review – Little Bit Long Time by Ali Cobby Eckermann

ali Little Bit Long Time is the debut collection of poetry from Aboriginal writer Ali Cobby Eckermann.  It came out in 2009 and its print run sold out.  This review is of the second printing by Picaro Press as part of their Aegis series.

 

I have been hesitant to review poetry before.  Part of this is time -  if you are going to read poetry I think you really need to read it closely and that takes as long, if not longer than reading novels.  The other reason is that I often feel inept at offering criticism of poetry. I am not a trained critic  (nor likely to become one considering the pay rates) but I like talking about the stuff that I like so …

 

Little bit long time is the only collection of poetry in recent memory that I feel I have liked or had a connection with almost every poem.  Part of this is accessibility of the language.  Eckermann is a plain speaking poet  with no pretention to anything other than capturing the voice, feelings and issues affecting herself and other aboriginal people.  I often find a lot of Australian poetry has a specialised audience of academically educated, trained and practising poets, who do a fine job but leave me feeling a bit unmoved emotionally.

Little bit long time is a mix of the deeply personal and the universal.  A copy of Intervention Pay Back needs to be force read  to Mal Brough and Tony Abbott until they get it.  Pretty much every issue with white governments riding rough shod over aboriginal self determination is encapsulated in that poem.

The titular poem Little Bit Long Time could be about any massacre of indigenous peoples but it brought to mind the 1928 Coniston Massacre . The refrain “little bit long time” takes on a chilling tone in the last stanza.

Perhaps part of my joy in reading this collection is that it transports me emotionally to my life in Alice Springs.  Eckermann uses a couple of different registers (is this the right term?) standard Australian English and the patterns of speech and use of language that is common to Aboriginal English in the Northern Territory and South Australia.  I suspect that I have an advantage over a few people whose only exposure to Aboriginal people is through the media.  Whatever the case I hear the cadence when I read her words.

I think Little bit long time is a superbly accessible work, in a way that I’d like more Australian poetry to be.  It’s at times intensely personal and underlines many of the issues Aboriginal people face but there are commonalities of the human experience artfully articulated here that any lover of poetry would enjoy. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hip Hop and Shakespeare

I am placing these videos here for future reference.  But if you’re interested in Shakespeare and Hip Hop, poetry or history then I recommend checking them out.  I found the first to be the best.

H/T to Ron Barton

 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Anyone home? Australian poets on Twitter

9780980690903-Perfect.indd There are a raft of essays and interviews going around regarding paying the writers and more specifically writers being prepared to subscribe to the magazines in which they hope to appear - a call to invest.

My subscriptions to Australian Journals and Poetry Communities will have to wait till Christmas but I can afford to drop some cash on poetry collections. 

So for the past two weeks on a Friday or a Saturday I have tweeted out to my followers, a call for fellow Australian poets to tweet me links to their work on Kobo (my preferred eBook retailer). 

I have had one reply from an on-the-ball publisher and that was the first week, nothing from this morning’s tweet. I can assure you if I tweeted a call out for self published novelists to send me their work, I would have had been inundated until the end of time. 

Frankly I was disappointed.  I expected more to be honest, even a “ Well I’m not on Kobo but you can get my work here” response.  Now I don’t have 50,000 followers but I have a reasonably diverse group of about 2700, and the tweet was imaginatively hashtaged  #poetry.

One response after tweeting morning and afternoon.

I checked to see if the Zombie Apocalypse had started without me.  It hadn’t.

 

What can I assume from this?

  1. My network of tweeters doesn’t contain enough Australian Poets with collections on Kobo?
  2. Not enough Australian poets use social media?
  3. Everyone was off writing poetry?
  4. Australian poets are shy and retiring?
  5. ?

I’ll keep putting the call out.  Keep combing through best of the year lists and picking out the poets that I like but really, some self promotion would be welcome.

 

Oh and if your wondering about the book I bought it was Subliminal Dust by Pooja Mittal.  Feel free to suggest Australian poets in the comments who have a collection in any digital form.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Published Poem - That Summer

I have been chomping at the bit to share this with you.  Now that it's gone live I can.  So please take a quick diversion  over to Adeliade InDaily Newspaper to read my poem That Summer, a pantoum.

That Summer

That summer saw me four foot high;
A desert ratbag caked in grime.
Ten years of rain-less pale blue sky
Made magical our swimming time.
... 
Read the rest of the poem at InDaily

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Publication and a sale

Being isolated can be both a boon and a struggle.  It’s a long way for me to go to “find my tribe” in a physical sense and I have had to rely on my digital critique circle.  So as I announce that my first poetry sale is to the wonderful Tincture Journal I must thank my friends and soundboards at The Post-it Note Poetry Society for the encouragement and the support that they have given me since February.  My poem will appear early next year in issue 5, but you shouldn’t wait till then to have a look at the journal.  There are three issues out and the editorial team give us an eclectic mix of genre and form.

Their current issue features Jodi Cleghorn, who I reviewed over on the main blog and another poet who I really like, Ron Barton.  But it really is an eclectic and international mix, very good value for your money.

You can check them out here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Plagiarism - a fundamental truth.

It’s been a rough year for Australian poetry with 3 plagiarism scandals hitting the papers.  I won’t link to the stories nor will I mention the names because the plagiarism’s been proved and those caught in the scandal have made their statements and some their amends. 

There’s a stage at which a point has been made and to pick apart responses, to prove points, to be right, to win the argument adds nothing to the discussion.  There’s been claims of bullying of people taking the issue too seriously.  That there are other more worth causes to get angry about. Well that may be true, but most of us are capable of fighting a number of injustices at the same time.

It’s easy I think, to downplay the issue, when your work isn’t stolen or when your not the one who misses out money, awards, opportunities. Others have tried to shift the blame to a culture of fame and prize winning and while there is some heft to that argument as an influence, I am far from convinced that it’s significantly to blame.  And no doubt the very tools that make writing poetry and sending it out into the world (i.e. the internet and social media) a joy when the accolades come roaring in, make for a very diffuse and pervasive personal hell when criticism, let alone anger is turned back on you.

This post is more about the nebulous construct of the “poetry community” or communities that I,due to geography and inexperience, sit outside of to a large extent.

My own thoughts keep being drawn back to the same fundamental kernel of truth. 

I know and have known since about primary school, that copying another’s work is ethically wrong.  Passing it of as my own work is ethically wrong.

Is this fundamental truth too simplistic?  I don’t think so.

For sure, we age and our spongelike brain soaks up influences, ideas, lines of thought, lines from books, words, word groupings and it can be hard to be sure that you have something original, something that hasn’t been said before. I think this is why my poetry gets rejected – it’s simply not original enough (or it’s shite, or both).  I have yet to find a distinct voice, something others cock their ear at and notice as something new.

But in each of the recent cases(even the international ones), we really don’t need to go past this fundamental, that stealing something belonging to or created by others and passing it off as your own is wrong - wrong on a level that a 10 year old can understand.

But Shakespeare and  [insert famous literary figure here] did it.  So what if they did?  Do we forgive them that wrong because the end result is good? Do we say bugger it and start thieving words left right and centre? No.  We should hold ourselves and the form to higher standards, the work will stand on its merits and all those involved deserve credit.

I have no issue with experimental poetry, with cento, with homage, with re-workings but it has to be clear upfront. The reader, whether they are a newcomer or an old hand needs to know.  There’s at least two reasons for this (and maybe more):

  1. you acknowledge the source and your role as an arranger, a conductor of lines which in itself is a skill – credit where it’s due
  2. you lead readers to discovering other poets, to understanding more about poetry, to broadening their knowledge and experience.

I am less concerned about those who plagiarised, they will continue writing poetry or they won’t, they will give us something of themselves or they won’t ( I hope they do). I am more concerned when the hand wringing and the axe grinding begins and we don’t expect poets to be responsible for their words, when we don’t expect them to be fundamentally honest.

We can forgive and learn or we can ignore and have the conversation again

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Long overdue update

[Midnight sun in Advent Bay, Spitzbergen, Norway] (LOC)for the bots that are mostly my audience and those rare commenters that have graced these pages.

The poem Dead Messengers, mentioned in the previous post has been selected for publication in an upcoming print anthology, to be released next year.  So I am a little chuffed at that.

On the poetry front, it’s been slow; other activities ie podcasting, post-production and work seem to be taking their toll. I missed attending talks by Mark Tredinnick at SA Writers Centre and performing at some poetry slams due to continued car problems.

The recent news about Graham Nunn has me feeling a  bit adrift and wondering which direction to take(has me questioning the value of workshops, mentoring etc).  I have a really supportive online group of writers and friends but aside from reading poetry and books on writing it, I am feeling it a struggle to search out the mentoring or workshops that I think might benefit me.

Overland has a deal with a subscription and a reduced fee to enter their rather generous poetry prize and I am also weighing up whether it’s worth joining Australian Poetry.

I wrote the poem below before news of the publication but much of it still holds true.  I expect though that this is a fear that everyone has.  I should probably be less morose and give myself a kick up the arse.

 

Too Scared to Dive

a wordsmith
I was once kindly labelled
and vain
I took it as a source of private pride
until
I swam from sheltered pool
into the unprotected swell
of an ocean
full of poetry.

schools
of loud and angry activists
of new formalists, imagists and
symbolists
and every once in awhile
the whale-song
of literary
leviathans.

tossed
by currents
and movements
drowning
as I splash about in panic
reaching for different lifelines
the solidity and stricture of form
then the freedom
of liberated verse.

caught
not wanting to strike
for shore
and too scared
to dive.

 

Audio file here

 

First self-published at the Poetry Zoo website.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dead Messengers

I reworked a Cinquain into a (loose) Tanka

Dead Messengers 

Strobing morse across
the void, distant dots and dashes.
What message do they send?
That all love will come to naught?
Or burn bright until the end?


It’s also posted over at Poetry Zoo.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Poetry and Payment

It has been stated in almost every non-fiction book on poetry I have read that there is no money to be made in poetry.  There might be money in prizes but the likelihood of winning those is akin to winning a lottery and even then a lottery is random, whereas poetry contests are influenced by human biases.

I am very careful nowadays not to publish poetry on the blog, unless its been given a chance at paying markets or competitions.  After all no use losing your first publication rights hey?

But then I thought, the payment is likely to fall between $5-50, I make somewhere around $30 an hour, just sitting at my desk at work.  So really what is the payment other than token recognition, confirmation that I’m well regarded, that I have met an editors standards.  Don’t get me wrong, being published I think brings gives me a an extra warm feeling, it’s an achievement.

I am tempted however to participate fully in something like Poetry Zoo, to hone my craft, to cultivate a group of friends and readers and have their comments, their appreciation be my payment.

I am not making an argument for payment by exposure.  If anyone does make money off poetry it should be the Poet. I think I am arguing for exposing yourself/ your work and letting the adulation, the criticism be your payment.

Your thoughts?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Poetry Zoo

I came across the site Poetry Zoo a couple of days ago.  It has been created specifically for poets, a hub to store work, work on and display your poetry.  In this day and age of publisher scams I was wary.  I have already come across an Australian site that purports to give you exposure while at the same time, taking your work and publishing it in a digest every 6 months or so (not paying for the privilege mind you). 

So I now do due diligence on any of the wonderful digital aids that are presented for writers.

Poetry Zoo:

The design interface is pretty slick and its supposed to be accessible from tablets and smart phones too.  Were I not living in my rural paradise and being charged exorbitant data fees I’d give it a go.

So Poetry Zoo passes the test. Check it out here.

Check out their Terms and Conditions  section in regards to copyright.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yes I am writing poetry …

but am really really busy.  In the meantime listen to Hollie McNish

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Question Time Australia 2013

Reading up on imagist poets and Ezra pound.  This tongue in cheek attempt came from nowhere( and possibly should have stayed there):

Question time Australia 2013

These politicians in parliament sitting,

chickens in a hen house shitting.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Smuggler’s Reply

Been awhile between postings.  But I have some news back on a poetry competition that I entered.

I didn’t win :D. 

But as the poem I entered was peculiar to the theme of the competition and unlikely to fit into any of the poetry publications I am aware of, I offer it for your enjoyment.

The theme was Smuggler’s and Sinners, the competition the Kernewek Lowender Literary Prize.  It was an interesting experience, particularly researching the history of Cornwall for the poem.

 

The Smuggler's Reply

A wretch, Doc Johnson labels me

for making use of natural skill,

for buying goods with honest coin

and selling them to folk with same.

 

For lugging lace from fine Calais

through black of night and stormy seas,

for shipping leaves to smoke or drink

against the threat of Cutter's fast.

 

And some may say this life's a breeze

and I'll not deny it has its thrill,

and nettin’ pilchards pays its way

but hellish seas treat both the same.

 

A merchant man is what I am

and taxed to pay for wars long fought

by Crown and aristocracy

without consent, without a thought.

 

To build this life's a crime you say

but truth be told it seems to me,

a saint or sinner's lot is cast

dependent on his family's class

 

A smuggler's cloak you clothe me in,

a criminal by stroke of quill.

And yet my trade is free and fair

and not some Custom's revenue

 

But if I die a sailor's death

I'll count my blessin’s joyfully

my money made from painful toil

not stole from starving families.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

It’s for the world to decide…

“It’s for the world to decide if you are a poet or not”

                                                  Robert Frost

The above quote is from an introduction by Robert Graves to Selected Poems of Robert Frost. Graves then goes on to talk about Frost being America’s first Master Poet, a master in that he new what he was doing and why.  As to his mastery, I think there can be no doubt.  Out of all the poet’s foisted on me by the education system, Frost seems to have stuck and a distinct admiration has grown.

Frost, incidentally, wasn’t a fan of having people learn poetry at school.  He felt, apparently, that it reduced it to mere information.  I don’t know if I quite agree, I certainly wouldn’t have come across him in any other way, being a hemisphere away and some generations removed from his.

But his quote above did encourage some thinking, about writing and general and poetry in particular.  There appear to be at least a couple of schools of thought on the matter.  On the one hand if one writes fiction or poems on a regular basis, in a professional manner then one is entitled to call one’s self an author or poet, regardless of publication or payment- isn’t one?

Though after admitting to the fact that you are a writer, that conversation is often followed by a query as to whether you are published, or where your books can be bought.  This is the point at which I usually stumble, if I have got over the hurdle of admitting that I write in the first place.

The wider public seem to be in line with Frost.  In general it seems you have to have external validation whether by peers or the paying publisher to be taken seriously.  Then again Emily Dickinson only had something like four poems published in her lifetime and she’d be one of the first poets that would leap to mind if I was pressed to remember 10 off the top of my head.

I don’t know where I sit with this.  I am trying to take myself seriously writing poetry to develop that practiced discipline that will eventually engender an addiction to the process. I meet a few people who write poetry myself and even I engage in judgement of them.  I will ask or be thinking about what sort of poetry and where it’s published.  I do note though that most will say they write some poetry rather than say that they are a Poet.

When asked the question:  Are you a poet? 

How do you answer?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

“Less we forget” (… face-palm me please)

It’s a bit rough but it sums up some recent thoughts. 

 

Less we forget (…face-palm me please)

No I don’t mind a bit of remembrance on Anzac day,

but I like to temper national pride

with the realities of the day.

To reflect upon the nature of the wars we get caught up in,

to question why we keep falling into

other countries’ conflicts.

 

I like to remember that the only member of my family to serve overseas,

never returned home to ticker-tape parades,

but went quietly on living

with the unspoken cost of wars

when politicians and protestors

moved on to another cause.

 

I like to reflect that despite

their will to fight

and die for a country that hunted them until 1930, 

there were many

Aboriginal Diggers that returned home

to less rights

and no soldier settlement schemes.

 

I cast a wary eye over armchair Aussies

who wrap themselves in a flag

or better still

fly with pride, a tattered rag

Enough of an Aussie to put up one

but not to bring it down

with the setting of the sun

 

I grimace when

corporations take the time to pluck at

heartstrings to sell biscuit tins

and write “Less We Forget”

on aisle ends,

or when

heartfelt tweets hashtag national stupidity

into posterity or into the limited

social consciousness that awaits

the

next

Australia’s Got Talent

 

I fear

as Diggers march their last parade

and we forget that it wasn’t a football match

or some competition

we could be best at

that we stood shoulder to shoulder, you know,

with brothers and sisters

of all creeds and colours,

who arrived legally, seeking asylum

or just a fair go.

 

I fear in the end that it will become

just another chance to flaunt racial purity,

in the interests of security, you understand.

a misguided pride in symbols and stories

we don’t understand anymore. And

that haunted by history will

make

the same

mistakes

again.

 

Lest we forget.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Can’t we just forget - some experimental spoken word poetry

This poem is inspired by listening to Omar Musa’s work and the comments of a racist Liberal MP who tweeted that an aboriginal woman should just get over the effects of colonialism.  Emphasizing how long ago it happened.

I have a link to me performing it, possibly need to practice.

 

Can't we just forget (...like Dennis Jensen MP)

Can't we whiteys just

forget about ANZAC day?

I mean how long ago was it?

1915 man

A military fuck-up, that landed

wide-eyed boys in muck

eating stone hard biscuits

and getting blown to fuck

the only success

getting out alive

 

No

 

1928 man

the land

getting hammered

by a drought no government

would admit

Bullfrog kills a man

for fooling with his wife

and all manner of strife

is brought down on the heads

of 100 plus innocent men and

women

shot for being black,

coz the sin of one

is the sin of many

 

No

 

No don't forget

the histories

that make this place

great

the good and the bad

a country that teaches its

children to forget

gets fucked over by

the fat-arsed politicians

who want you to

forget

every

3

years

how much

they don't give a

fuck about

you

 

Here’s the link to me reciting it. An apologies to mum for the swears :D


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Omar Musa - My Generation

And to prove that poetry is not dead, here's Omar Musa with My Generation

Bury me in books

I have an ancient tattered looking book of Australian poetry called The Wide Brown Land, first published in 1934, with my edition being published in 1959.  The paper has got to that deliciously yellowed stage, the pages feathering from use at the edges.  The binding still holds some 50 years on though.

Edited by George and Joan Mackaness it’s all poetry, no notes on authors, no wordy preamble about the state of Australian literature, just the poems. It’s chock full of poets I’ve never heard of and some that I have – Paterson, Mackellar, Dennis, Lawson and John Shaw Neilson.

Funnily enough it has far more women included in the book than in later Poetry productions showcasing Australian poetry

So I came across Zora Cross’ poem Books.

Books by Zora Cross

Oh bury me in books when I am dead,
   Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold,
And silk octavos bound in brown and red,
   That tales of love and chivalry unfold.


Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought,
   Creamed with the close content of silent speech.
Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought
   From some old epic out of common reach.


I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too --
   Your verse for preference, in starry stitch,
And powdered o'er with rhymes that poets woo,
   Breathing dream-lyrics in moon-measures rich.


Night holds me with a horror of the grave
   That knows not poetry, nor song, nor you;
Nor leaves of love that down the ages wave
   Romance and fire in burnished cloths of blue.


Oh bury me in books, and I'll not mind
   The cold, slow worms that coil around my head;
Since my lone soul may turn the page and find
   The lines you wrote to me, when I am dead.

 

So what do you think?  I am quite enamored of it.  Zora Cross herself is an interesting figure.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Till, Until or ‘til

Some writerly updates first:

I have one poem squared away for the Bruce Dawe prize.  Yes I am probably aiming a bit high but fortune favours the brave and its only $6 to enter. 

I now have to get my arse ( or ass if you are American) into gear if I want to submit some work into the Inkerman & Blunt Australian Love Poems 2013 which is due by the 25th of this month.

I’d love to publish the poems, to share them with readers, but of course that would count as “publishing” which would rule them out of eligibility for the competition.  So there goes my blog content at least until after the competition is decided.

Is it Until, Till or ‘til?

It was in the process of writing the poem that I came across a curious artifact of the English language. I had written one line of the poem as

I played this game till it came true;

I wrote it first as you see it above, but then before sending it off to my crit group changed it to ‘till.  It was one of those moments when you think to yourself - that’s a contraction, it needs an apostrophe.  Never mind the fact that if I was shortening until it should look  like ‘til and not ‘till.

A very astute crit group member pointed out that it should be till or until (but till fits the metre) and that till isn’t a contraction of until.  Indeed till comes first chronologically, originating in Old English, whereas Until comes later in middle English.  Both can be used, although until is a little more formal.  Most of the time they can be interchanged, it can depend a little on the context.

You should never use ‘til though, it’s marked with a big red cross in my copy of The Right Word at the Right Time.

Until next I babble goodbye.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My second published poem,” Summer Squall” is out

The kind folks at The Glass Coin have published my second poem called Summer Squall.  It’s in my favourite metre, Iambic Tetrameter and was inspired by one those arguments that arise out of poor sleep and long hot summer days.  Feel free to comment below or at the site.

Summer Squall
Poem by Sean Wright3971305193_d554ca6798_n

April 10, 2013

A summer squall is rolling in
A subtle draft, a pleasant breeze,
has turned into a broiling thing
of heated words and brimming tears.

The pressure builds and peace is rent,
the squall pulls in a thousand thoughts
from petty showers not quite yet spent
and love is lost, as battle’s fought.

But like, some old heroic tale
of Gods or Titans locked in war
This summer squall begins to fall;
cool tears, warm limbs, and love once more.

 


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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Winged Lives Wagered at The Glass Coin

rooster My poem Winged Lives Wagered is live at The Glass Coin. So feel free my hordes of readers to go over and make a comment or if you prefer the serenity of this blog to make a comment below.

Winged Lives Wagered was written as part of Post-It Note Poetry month.  An event that was spawned by the brains of Adam Byatt and Jodi Cleghorn and held on a Facebook group.  Each participant was encouraged to write a poem a day, something that would fit on a post-it note.  The emphasis was on just writing poetry(and actually writing not typing), not worrying too much about how good it was, not giving time for our internal editors to stifle the flow.

It was and still is the best poetry writing activity I have participated in.

It is amazing what you can achieve when under a little pressure.  Not everything was a brilliant work of art (speaking of my own work) but there were some good works that I am proud of.  One of them is Winged Lives Wagered

 

Winged Lives Wagered

Two roosters crowed a dueling song

and mornings break still yet to come,

I lay and watched the stars explode

as with my hands I rubbed at sleep

that glued lids shut in pleasant dreams.

With fitful breath I did, it seems

upon the name of demons call

for plagues of mites or chicken flu.

For sleepless nights can lead a thought,

to winged lives wagered and souls bought.

 

You can hear me read it here.

 

I own chickens and the roosters that inspired the poem, never crow at the break of dawn, instead preferring to start a competition at around 3am.  It’s led to many a nights wishing I had a sharpened axe.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Winged Lives Wagered at The Glass Coin

rooster My poem Winged Lives Wagered is live at The Glass Coin. So feel free my hordes of readers to go over and make a comment or if you prefer the serenity of this blog to make a comment below. 

Winged Live Wagered was written as part of Post-It Note Poetry month.  An event that was spawned by the brains of Adam Byatt and Jodi Cleghorn and held on a Facebook group.  Each participant was encouraged to write a poem a day, something that would fit on a post-it note.  The emphasis was on just writing poetry(and actually writing not typing), not worrying too much about how good it was, not giving time for our internal editors to stifle the flow.

It was and still is the best poetry writing activity I have participated in.

It is amazing what you can achieve when under a little pressure.  Not everything was a brilliant work of art (speaking of my own work) but there were some good works that I am proud of.  One of them is Winged Lives Wagered

 

Winged Lives Wagered

Two roosters crowed a dueling song

and mornings break still yet to come,

I lay and watched the stars explode

as with my hands I rubbed at sleep

that glued lids shut in pleasant dreams.

With fitful breath I did, it seems

upon the name of demons call

for plagues of mites or chicken flu.

For sleepless nights can lead a thought,

to winged lives wagered and souls bought.

 

I own chickens and the roosters that inspired the poem, never crow at the break of dawn, instead preferring to start a competition at around 3am.  It’s led to many a nights wishing I had a sharpened axe.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I is published

2011-04-04 15.13.44 or soon will be.  I have been advised that a couple of my poems have been selected for the online journal The Glass Coin.  I will let you know when they have been posted.  In the meantime you could go over there and partake of the wonderful fiction and poetry on display.

In the meantime I have been trying to appreciate Australia’s top living poet Les Murray, to be honest I am not yet feeling the love.  But we’ll see.

 


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Writing update - Poetry

 

image201107290001I have a policy on my review blog, where I also post writing updates of being open and frank about the rejection treadmill.  I record my feelings for posterity but also so that I can go back and examine what it took to get a story/poem to its successful conclusion.  Too often we look at the end product and wonder how the author or poet made it look so easy.  The truth being of course that it’s never that easy.  Joe Halderman’s famous The Forever War received 19 rejections before it was published and there are countless other stories.

Work is keeping me busy but I have found time to pen two poems and submit them in the past couple of weeks. And today decided to kick my arse into gear for a short story prize - The Carmel Bird Award.

So on the poetry front I picked up a rejection from the magazine I sent Bad Ground (my Cthulu-esque/weird poem) to.  They were very kind in their rejection and gave positive feedback, so I am taking the rejection as an indication that I am on the right track and I just need to keep going/refining. 

After taking said poem along to my writing group (after I subbed) who gently teased it apart I was worried that It might get published and it wouldn’t be as good as I can see it becoming.  So, close call there (and what a way to rationalize a rejection).

So how’s your poetry going?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When did you last read Poetry?

treading-earth I won’t ask when you last bought any because you answer and mine would probably have poets everywhere in fits of despair and generating a thousand maudlin poems.

I must confess, prior to this February, the only poetry I had read recently was by Jennifer Mills, a chap book titled Treading Earth (which I bought) and then it was an initial reading in 2010, followed by isolated dipping in and out of the text since then.  Prior to that it was the late 1990’s, around the time I was studying Elizabethan Literature and 19th Century American Literature courses at University?

And I ask my self why?  Why the long break?  Poems are short.  Easy to read.  You could polish of a collection in a couple of hours.

And therein lies part of the problem at least for me. For the past five years in addition to being a reviewer I have been a consumer of information on a daily basis, scanning pages for keywords, gleaning information.  I haven’t left time for the artful arrangement of words to deliver anything but the information, the gist.

I wonder if this is why poetry is not read by too many who aren’t poets themselves?  Are we too used (those of us that still read) to being immersed by the novel?  Are we perhaps not willing to invest in giving poetry our time? 

Your thoughts?

Love – inspired by a Crapsey Cinquain

shot_1359968847904Originally submitted as part of the Post-it Note Poetry event in February, this was inspired by the form a Crapsey cinquain or a modern American cinquain -five lines following a 1,2,3,4,1 stress pattern.  If you want to further restrict yourself you can try it using iambs, and overlay that with 2,4,6,8,2 syllable pattern. 

You’ll note though that I followed none of those.  The only ties to form are the five lines and the wave like syllable pattern 1, 3, 7, 8, 3. 

This is about as free as my verse gets

 

Love

Love.

A heart made,

hand made thing, of quiet looks,

selfless actions, and needed things,

unasked for

Competitions and self doubt.

sepia I entered a poem in the Kernowek Lowender Literary competition this week. It’s actually the first writing competition I have entered in since 1990 and my first poetry competition.

The theme was Smugglers and Sinners, and there was a 100 line restriction. So I went with A Smuggler’s Reply, learnt more about the national pastime of Cornwall (smuggling) than I thought was possible and created what I think was a reasonably good poem; at least technically.

Prior to entering I couldn’t find any of the past winners poems, so I had no idea whether the competition was traditional poetry, bush poetry, modern free verse or a mix.  It was to be awarded by Max Fatchen, a well known literary personality but he passed away this year. So I am thinking that with his name attached there is a considerable degree of skill involved/expected.

I’m still at that stage where I have no real feel for whether the work is of a good standard.  I am becoming technically more proficient – this poem was written in iambic tetrameter and I feel is perhaps my most polished to date.

I sent off a Speculative Fiction poem last month to a paying market and in hindsight and with comments from my writers group I can see where I could have made it a much better poem.

But in the end I enjoyed writing it and I enjoy reading it which is more than I can say for some of my short fiction of late.

Anyway wish me luck. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

‘Nobody reads poetry anymore…’

PS Cottier asks if anyone reads poetry anymore:


‘Nobody reads poetry anymore…’ | CAPITAL LETTERS:

Your thoughts?  When was the last time you enjoyed some poetry?

Welcome to Words Poetical

So after the fun I had rediscovering poetry during the Post-it note Poetry thing in February I prevaricated over continuing to post poetry on my book review blog and decided a new blog was perhaps the way to go.  So here it is the new blog with one of my poems from the Post it Note Poetry exercise

 

Summer Squall

 

A summer squall is rolling in

A subtle draft, a pleasant breeze,

has turned into a broiling thing

of heated words and brimming tears

 

The pressure builds and peace is rent,

the squall pulls in a thousand thoughts

from petty showers not quite yet spent

and love is lost, as battle's fought.

 

But like, some old heroic tale

of Gods or Titans locked in war

This summer squall begins to fall;

cool tears, warm limbs, and love once more.

 

This poem first appeared on Adventures of a Bookonaut


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