Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Stars like Sand gets some lovin’ from the SMH

starsThe Stars Like Sand Anthology that I featured in last year has a bit of review love from the Sydney Morning Herald.  I like how the reviewer begins:

One of the most enterprising, unusual and rewarding anthologies of the last year is The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, edited by New Zealand writer Tim Jones and Australian poet PS (Penelope) Cottier.


Read more: SMH

Post it Note Poetry 2015 – The End

shot_1423281126799

So today marks the end of Post It Note Poetry 2015 for me.  I managed 24 poems, not as many as I hoped but still a good turn out.  Here are my last three, followed by the previous 21.

 

walk trail

that I helped build

still here

the signpost points me

to your memory

 

rocky beach

the sea retreating

from morning heat

 

reading poems

gulls mistake page turns

for chip wrap

 


drab plumage

a bird lies on the footpath

dressed for a funeral

the hymns don't match

the morning birdsong

 

nasal whistle in the night – a rusty gate

 

The Old Gate

On a windy night

the old gate copped

its share of curses

But come morning

it still did its duty

announcing salesmen

and Mormons

 

My brother oiled it

once and like our father's snoring

it's absence left a vacuum

for worry

 

southerly wind   seagull practises crane technique

 

twilight   cherry blossom cups gather autumn

 

dissociate

dropping its head

the seagull contemplates

its feet

as if noticing

for the first time

they are webbed

and he is a seagull

i greet an old man

before realizing

he is me

in the mirror

 

so much depends

no raindrops

adorn

this white

wheelbarrow

only the chicken’s

leavings

on which so much

depends

 

limewashed sky     a chorus of ravens curse the heat

 

limestone ruins

seasoning the hillside

pepper trees

 

faded horizon

a boat sailing in the sky

 

past midnight

the moon searches through branches

for sleep

 

tapping morse

on the windows

a swarm of moths

herald the oncoming

storm

 

blistered hand     I dig with my pen instead

 

long dead

the first hand to hew this stone

and its fossils

 

long summer

the bees take payment

in water

 

old farm midden

digging through broken history

an empty bottle

still carries a message

from the hand that tossed it

 

furuike ya

a handful of translations

like snowflakes

 

cool change   the monks of Gyüto sing from my bottle

 

each year

silk flowers by the road

on the same day

 

a house

for fading memories

this stone

catching my tears as I

try to remember his face

 

heat wave

even the Chilli bush

prays for rain

Monday, February 23, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 20 & 21

shot_1424570148962

So twenty days in and I must admit the strain is showing - I’m currently trailing a poem or two behind. Now this is purely a self imposed restriction.  There’s no requirement to actually post each day but I like that it encourages me. I make time for poetry and the poetry benefits.

The heat though has been horrendous.  Inspiring this haiku:

heat wave

even the Chilli bush

prays for rain

 

I also attempted another Tanka.  Again beginning with a Haiku and then adding personal commentary. 

shot_1424587637758

a house

for fading memories

this stone

catching my tears as I

try to remember his face

Friday, February 20, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 19 – Each Year

shot_1424406219962I picked up some work at the end of this week which has made Poetry a difficult thing to sit down to. But today I did have some free time and was able to pen an idea that had been escaping me for some time. 

each year

silk flowers by the road

on the same day

 

Where I live and I am pretty sure in other parts of Australia its quite common to see flowers left at the sight of an accident.  This occurs more so in the country because I think Council and Vandals are less inclined to remove them. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 18

shot_1424153691259

 

cool change

the monks of Gyüto sing from my bottle

 

Not sure if its correct to call them the monks of Gyüto or Gyüto monks.  I think it sounds better this way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 16 and 17

Day 16

shot_1424045975958

old farm midden
digging through broken history
an empty bottle
still carries a message
from the hand that tossed it

 

This is perhaps my fourth or fifth attempt at a Tanka and the second that I am happy with.  As a point of interest the poem was constructed as a Haiku first, conforming more or less to the short(4) long(8) short (5) pattern of haiku.

 

old farm midden
digging through broken history
an empty bottle

the third line an empty bottle works as a pivot for the last two lines.  I think it links them nicely.

 

an empty bottle
still carries a message
from the hand that tossed it

I’ll leave you to ponder what I am getting at.

 

shot_1424058280546 Day 17

I have been reading different translations of Basho’s Haiku and was ever so slightly frustrated with the translation by Nobuyuki Yuasa compared to my preferred translation by Jane Reichhold.  The former over explains the content of poem in my opinion. The first line here is in Japanese and is from Basho’s most famous poem (translates to Old pond <cutting word>)

 

 

furuike ya
a handful of translations
like snowflakes

Monday, February 16, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 14 & 15

Day 14

shot_1423884793833 The good thing about haiku is the focus on the external.  When I get stuck a walk usually helps.  Examining the limestone walls of the house I noticed the shells of  various molluscs long dead and so …

 

long dead

the first hand to hew this stone

and its fossils

 

 

 

Day 15

Today was a stinker.  Well above 40 degrees and the bees were up drinking at dawn. I had to go and refill the birdbath twice.shot_1423975559072

 

long summer

the bees take payment

in water

Friday, February 13, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Days 10 -13

shot_1423281126799 Getting close to midway through the month and I must admit that the hot weather (40 and 43 for tomorrow) is cramping my style.  So here are the last 4 days worth.

 

faded horizon

a boat sailing in the sky

 

 

past midnight

the moon searches through branches

for sleep

 

 

tapping morse

on the windows

a swarm of moths

herald the oncoming

storm

 

 

blistered hand

I dig with my pen instead

 

H/T to Seamus Heaney on the last one.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 9 – Limestone Ruins

shot_1423464348284 limestone ruins

seasoning the hillside

pepper trees

 

I have been revisiting some Haiku writing techniques both to reinvigorate my Haiku writing but also to help focus on singular elements/imagery for larger poems.  In today’s poem I particularly like the way in which the poem can be read forward or in reverse.  I leave it open to the reader as to what is peppering the hillside.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

On reviewing poetry

shot_1423012846770 I have been struggling a little on reviewing poetry.  Part of this stems from expectations and examples.  A good proportion of the poetry reviews written in Australia are formal, multi page essays that do a fine job of interrogating the text, placing it in its context etc.  They are great and at times even enjoyable for what they are; which is mainly very educated and well read poets talking to other educated and well read poets. 

I find them less helpful in helping me choose who I might like to read. I am willing to suggest that there’s a good segment of the community (and I’m not talking about the wider non poetry reading community here either) that are in the same boat.

To write reviews of the calibre of a university paper is too much of a drain on my resources.  I’d rather spend time writing poetry than reading enough poetry to be confident in critiquing it. 

Note, this is not an argument against reading poetry, more not reading poetry that I have limited interest in or understanding of.   I expect to grow as a poet but I want that growth to happen as a result of a concerted effort at writing as well as reading.

What I want to do as a reviewer of poetry is to share good poetry (or poetry I like) with other people who don’t necessarily read it.  I think there are potential readers (and writers) or poetry who are lost because the entrance exam is too high (be this real or imagined).

The first modern/contemporary poetry book that I bought came not as the result of a long essay on its merits and comparing it to the rest of the field but from a blog and a link to the poet performing on YouTube.

I want to be able to give the reader of this blog in under 500 words a good sense of the poet’s work and why I think they should read them.  My greatest aim would be to grab a non poetry reader and get them reading poetry for life and a stretch goal would be to get them to start writing poetry.

To that end I am interested in suggestions for what you might think makes for a good review of poetry aimed at the non poet. 

Post it Note Poetry Day 8 – Limewashed Sky

shot_1423290208920 Only another 20 poems to go…maybe best not to focus on that.  Any who here’s day eight’s offering written with the aid of my second-hand calligraphy nibs and an antique art deco ink well.

limewashed sky    a chorus of ravens curse the heat

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 7 – so much depends

Day 7 and the inspiration is coming thick and fast still.  Today’s effort is inspired by my rusted wheelbarrow and William Carlos Williamsshot_1423123084428.

 

so much depends

 

no raindrops

adorn

 

this white

wheelbarrow

 

only the chicken’s

leavings

 

on which so much

depends

Friday, February 6, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 6 – dissociate

Okay so my 40th came and went and this may have caused things to go in a reflective direction.  But then again this was spurred on by seagulls and their comical ways.

shot_1422933398503
dissociate
dropping its head
the seagull contemplates
its feet
as if noticing
for the first time
they are webbed
and he is a seagull
i greet an old man
before realizing
he is me
in the mirror

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 5 – cherry blossom cup

cherryI posted this photo a couple of days ago.  It’s a Japanese tea set I came across while walking around the gardens of my wife’s painting tutor.

 

 

twilight   cherry blossom cups gather autumn

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 4 – southerly wind

shot_1422933792538I spent a morning at the beach, which always seems to throw up something worth looking at.  So here is my Haiku/Senryu for day 4

 

southerly wind      seagull practises crane technique

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 3 – The Old Gate

shot_1422843885480 Day 3 and the observant among you will note that a rusty gate features again in this poem.  This is what I love about the Post it Note Poetry experience, the chance to riff off yourself and others.

The Old Gate

On a windy night
the old gate copped
its share of curses
But come morning
it still did its duty
announcing salesmen
and Mormons

My brother oiled it
once and like our father's snoring
it's absence left a vacuum
for worry

Monday, February 2, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day 2 – Rusty Gate

shot_1422843671071And so day two is a Haiku/Senryu:

nasal whistle in the night – a rusty gate

 

For those of you wondering where the extra 6 syllables and the three line format has gone(and who haven’t read my Haiku before).  I have constructed this poem using a form that apparently resembles more accurately the original Japanese form in terms of the amount of information ie Japanese is made up of sound units called on that don’t translate to syllables neatly.  Thus the 5, 7, 5 format tends to give too much information if you use English.  I tend to try for around 12 syllables.

In this poem I am also using the phrase and fragment technique.  I’d normally do away with the dash that separates them but for ease of reading I have left it in.

Australian Poetry Perspectives

shot_1411537819412 It’s always good to get differing perspectives on the lay of the land especially when you are isolated like I am.  So here’s a couple of interesting articles(article and rant), not necessarily opposed, but whose information consumed together might give you a rich mouthful to chew on.

The first The Poet Tasters by Ben Etherington is a comprehensive view of Australian poetry and reviewing in more or less academic spheres.  The second is a rant from successful poet and author Stephen Herricks called Poetry in Australia- A Rant.

I’ll come back to these at a latter stage to make comment on them from a neophyte poets standpoint.  Until then enjoy.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Post it Note Poetry Day One – drab plumage

shot_1422754278130And we are off.  Check out the collated twitter feed which should be appearing to your right (unless you are on a mobile).  Here’s my effort for day one which started out as a Haiku, which I tried to massage into a Tanka.

 

 

drab plumage
a bird lies on the footpath
dressed for a funeral
the hymns don't match
the morning birdsong

 

There is also a Facebook group if you don’t do twitter.  Let me know if you are interested.

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