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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