Friday, January 31, 2014

Ebook Review – Visiting Hours by Shane Koyczan

Visiting Hours

Visiting Hours is Shane Koyczan’s first collection of poetry.  The collection was first published in 2005 and this eBook edition was released in 2013. It was pure chance that led me to Shane’s work – a stoush with someone on Facebook who misquoted and misinterpreted one of Koyczan’s more famous poems, We Are More.  Every cloud has a silver lining though and the more I read of Koyczan’s work the more I liked.

My concern with buying a collection compiled by a spoken word poet was that it would lack some of the vibrancy, some of the presence that is present in the poet’s own performance of the work.

I needn’t have worried. Koyczan in addition to being great performer of the spoken word also is able to translate that talent to the page.  I received just as much enjoyment reading as I did from watching youtube videos after I was done.  The difference to me seemed only to be one of magnitude.  The words carry his poetry well, the performance just turbo charges it.

In comparison to other works I have read recently,  this probably sits closer to my enjoyment of the work of Ali Cobby Eckermann. Koyczan’s work frequently touches on love and loss ad is accessible to a wide audience.  Some poets have labelled it trite and self consciously clever.  I find the work entertaining and moving.  I appreciate his rhtym and rhyme and the narrative of each of the poems.  I am not left scratching my head and having to do 3 or 4 close readings to try and get a handle on what the poet is saying.

No, Koyczan uses accessible language, uses the rhyme and cadence to enhance emotion.  Two of my favourite poems in the collection made my cry.  That’s not something I experience much or at all reading novels or even other poems.  So if he’s being trite or clever I don’t really care.  I’d prefer to be skilfully manipulated than bored.

Here’s My Darling Sara, it choked me up reading and then again reading it out loud to my wife:

So was it worth the $9 i paid for it?  Yes, for the tears alone, for it’s ability to move me.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Morrison Blues (Stop All The Boats)

The Morrison Blues (Stop all the Boats)

(with deepest apologies to WH Auden)


Stop all the boats, scream it from a megaphone,
Prevent the press asking, and with pious tone
repeat the lie that they are illegal scum
"It's us who'll decide who to this country comes"

With aeroplanes a-circling overhead
Directing search ships to newly drowning dead,
Wring your hands and claim tough love,
Will stop them running from booted thugs.

Incursions to our borders, North and West
To safeguard operations are suppressed.
And simple minded folk are strung along
They do not question why it's wrong.

They are not wanted here: imprison every one
Leave new mothers to the mercy of the sun.
Lock up your conscience, wash your hands of blood.
Convince yourself you did it for our own good.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Haiku 005

starlings crest
the ridge cap in formation
- Valkyries


written as a result of a Ginko walk.  Also posted at Poetry Zoo.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Helen Mort reads Miss Heath

division-street This video came across my twitter feed this morning.  I like the sense of nostalgia it evokes and the connections it draws.  I also like Mort’s accent, makes me think of Winterfell :)


But seriously I like to hear poets perform their poetry in their own accent, because even as English speakers there’s great diversity in tone, emphasis and pronunciation.  It also made me think about the lack of exploration being done by poetry publishers in terms of producing ebooks with links to poetry performances.  Or indeed producing Poetry ebooks at all. Thankfully the publishers of Division street have produced an ebook.


But enough of my blathering, here’s Helen Mort reading Miss Heath


You can purchase the collection that it comes from here if you are an Aussie in eBook and paperback form.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bungalows and Biscuits

I’m a bit of a fan of Hollie I always seem to have an emotional response to her work.  Her poems seem effortless ( a sure sign they aren’t) and subtle but not one of the 30 poems I have read in the past 2 days has effected me like this piece.  Please enjoy.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Haiku for January

So I have committed to teaching myself Haiku for January and composing each day(so yeah , I’m behind).  Here are my learners attempts.

blue summer twilight
a tawny silhouette bobs
-predators' eyes meet.


blue banded bee floats
over agapanthus bloom -
a pause in the dance

Curiously I have only just now noticed the predominance of the colour blue.  The first I am not entirely happy with and wonder if I should swap predators’ for hunters’.  The second I think is better and Blue banded bees are awesome.

H/T to Jennifer Mills whose picture of a Blue Banded bee got my out of the house and smelling the Agapanthus

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