Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The River by Jane Clarke

$23.95 from Booktopia
I am find more and more publishers are putting either video or audio up of their poets reading.

I think this is a good idea because often the performance of a poem can sell me on the poet, particularly if I come across them on the internet ( I find it really hard to do anything more than skim on a screen).

In a stroke of coincidence I had already bought a copy of Clarke's The River on the recommendation of an Irish Online newspaper prior to seeing the Audio below from Bloodaxe publishers drop in my tweet stream this afternoon.

If you click through the Soundcloud link below I believe there are some other recordings of Jane's Work as well.

I particularly like the subtle internal partial rhyming in Dry Stone Wall.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 21

Painting by
Sand Hills and Seascapes
This week has been possibly the hardest I have had to face.  For a moment I did question why I was bothering before intoning the mantra of "trust the process" repeatedly.

I managed to conjure up another 3 hours from somewhere this week but for some reason the increased hours didn't translate directly into feeling happy with my poetry practice.

I think the issue is that with less time being spent on writing, when I do hit one of those patches where the writing isn't going well then that time seems to stretch out.  

Previously if I had a rough couple of days, I could be fairly confident that by the next couple I would have had some success and enjoyment.  Now it's possible those periods can stretch out to 2 weeks.

The Writing

I watched The Hours and ended up writing some emotional and weird mediation on the colour grey that ended up as a three quarters of a poem.  Then after reading another chapter of Glyn Maxwell's book I decided to play with one of my previous prose drafts.

The Study

This week's study was devoted to reading the third chapter of Glyn Maxwell's On Poetry, called Pulse. This is Maxwell's take on meter and how technical one should get when first setting pen to paper as a poet i.e. not very. This was odd coming from someone who's an advocate of form and refreshing and reevaluating form. This isn't to say he doesn't think you should know about meter: pentameter tetrameter, iambs etc but that you shouldn't get bogged down in the technicalities. If you need to know what an anapest is, look it up on google.

I found that he tended to have similar ideas to Mary Oliver when it came to line length/meter.

Close Reading

My close reading, was(and still is) Dennis Greene's  Wheat Field.  A poem from a sequence on the life and work of Vincent van Gogh.  The painting which I believe Greene was responding to is Wheat field with Crows.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 08:00(269:56) hrs

poem writing = 3.05 (111:13) hrs
close reading = 1:30(55:30) hrs
technique/theory 2:53(68:42) hrs
reflection = 0:32 (22:09) hrs

Poetry written:

0 (21) poems completed
11 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(13 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(5) poem

Live Performances:



0(7) poems

Poetry and Mental Illness - Melissa Lee Houghton

English Poet Melissa Lee Houghton talks about her poetry and bipolar disorder, which she suffers from. Would she give up Poetry if it mean that she could be mentally well?

 Watch and find out.


Here is Melissa reading the poem Sixteen.

Booktopia has copies of her first collection here: Beautiful Girls.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Elementary by G Yamazawa

Yamazawa is a Japanese-American Buddhist. His poem here explores his own realization of the power of words, in using"Gay" as a slur when he was an elementary school student.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Falling Lessons: Erasure One a poem by Beth Copeland

Beth Copeland wrote an erasure poem from a narrative she composed on her Father's experience with Alzheimer's. The poem was then made into a short poem by Motionpoems and Director Anh Vu.


Falling Lessons: Erasure One from Motionpoems on Vimeo.

If you would prefer to listen to the poem with out the enhancements of film and music the poet reads the unaltered version below:

I think my preference is for the unadulterated poem. I tend to think that music and film interferes with the poem or that if it doesn't then the poetry has to lose something to the other elements at play in the creative product.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Month 5

Stamp battery at Arltunga
Another month closer to the half year mark and I can feel time slipping away from me a bit.  It's the effect of the reduced hours.  This week there were 6 days between writing sessions and I could barely remember what I had written on the first day.

The plan to write a little each night fell through;with an extra day of teaching this week I had neither the time nor the mental wherewithal to sit and produce anything.  Still I managed to squeeze in a bit of study. 

The hours are down this week on last, but considering I only had one day off, I am happy with the effort.  On reflection the one prose poem I did manage to progress to first draft stage I am happy with.

The new week starts tomorrow and I plan to write all day.

This week's study was devoted to reading the first chapter of Glyn Maxwell's On Poetry, called White.  An entire chapter devoted to the space between the lines and stanzas.  Maxwell's a believer in form and pattern in poetry, so I do have a certain bias towards his line of thinking.  

That said, I found some points he brought up engaging and fresh.
  • Aesthetic preferences, those things that  we find beautiful stem not from what renders life delightful or endurable but what makes life possible (an interesting idea incorporating evolutionary psychology)
  • Poets work with black and white, sound and silence - the blank page to the poet is not the same as the blank page to the novelist.  For the poet, the white page is 50 % of the poem.
  • Maxwell encourages us to see the breaks between stanzas in cinematic or script writing terms to imagine whether it's a cut, fade or a dissolve (this is to help you understand the power of making a decision to end a stanza at a certain point)
I am looking forward to the rest of the work.

My close reading, was Billy Collins'  Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House followed by Ted Kooser's In an Apple Orchard.( which I only managed to start).  If you want to see an example of delight in poetry as suggested by Kay Ryan in her article A Consideration of Poetry I think Collins is a prime example, especially in this poem.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 05:15(261:56) hrs

poem writing = 2.00 (108:08) hrs
close reading = 1:45(54:00) hrs
technique/theory 1:00(65:49) hrs
reflection = 0:30 (21:37) hrs

Poetry written:

1 (21) poems completed
10 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(13 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(5) poem

Live Performances:



0(7) poems

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 19

This week saw a slight increase in hours put in.  I was still restricted to one day of solid poetry writing though and the effect on the rhythm of my writing is noticeable.

I had developed a good habit of getting up early on my off days and writing for 2 hours.  Even with a good three days off I have found it very hard to write on two of those days due to exhaustion and/or having to use good thinking time for lesson planning.

The plan this week is to try really hard to do 30 mins of poetry writing each night.

This week's study was comprised of finishing the rest of Mary Oliver's Rules for the Dance and an article by Kay Ryan, A Consideration of Poetry that I found a good degree of comfort in.

My close reading, following on from last weeks, was the conclusion of the explication on Kate Clanchy's Miscarriage, Midwinter.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 06:17(256:41) hrs

poem writing = 2.50 (106:08) hrs
close reading = 1:00(52:15) hrs
technique/theory 2:27(64:49) hrs
reflection = 0:25 (21:07) hrs

Poetry written:

1 (20) poems completed
10 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(13 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(5) poem

Live Performances:



0(7) poems

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Law Concerning Mermaids by Kei Miller

I am reading excerpts from Kei  Miller's, A Light Song of Light which contains the following poem.

I do like finding out about how other poets write i.e. their process and so it was interesting to catch the snippet at the beginning of this poem.

As I have said before I also like hearing the poet read their own work.

It helps to understand where they place emphasis as it's not always where it's indicated on the page. Indeed some poets like Nathaniel Mackey  have see the performed poem as a different thing to the very same poem printed.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Having a crack at Prose Poetry with Luke Kennard

So last week I started working on some prose poems as per the poetry prompt in 52: Write a Poem a Week. Start Now. Keep Going. The guest poet for that particular prompt was Dr Luke Kennard.

There's some short YouTube videos, one covering the emphasis of his work and another of him reading a poem.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 18

It had to happen sooner or later.  This week I ran into a reality iceberg and nearly sank.  My concerns from last week played out with much of my time taken up by lesson prep and recovering from teaching 5 and 6 year olds.

The long periods between and the short time afforded to writing really messed up my rhythm.  A poem that I had been working on since last week seemed to get worse and worse.  

I think if this week shapes up as being the same, writing must come before all other aspects of the plan.  I think I need a better/longer run at things.

Following on from that would be a focus on close reading over study of technique and/or critical essays.  I found I have really missed the enjoyment and the subtle motivation closely reading another's good poetry can give.

This week's study was comprised of reading about the first seven chapters of Mary Oliver's Rules for the Dance,  a nice light text on metrical poetry.  It was mostly revision but I did pick up some bit's and pieces that made it worthwhile.

My close reading was Kate Clanchy's  Miscarriage, Midwinter, which I have only just had time to start the explication on.

I also received an international rejection from a UK magazine.

Not all was doom and gloom.  I did receive my contributor copy of Poetry & Place Anthology 2015 and you can enter into a giveaway for a copy yourself  here.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 04:42 (250:24) hrs

poem writing = 1.37 (103:18) hrs
close reading = 0:05(51:15) hrs
technique/theory 2:40(62:22) hrs
reflection = 0:22(20:42) hrs

Poetry written:

1 (19) poems completed
8 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(13 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(5) poem

Live Performances:



1(7) poems

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reading one of my poems from Poetry & Place 2015

If you find your way over to the Poetry and Place, 2015 blog, you can hear myself and others reading our poems.

Launch Week, Day Three РJudit Hollós, Billy Antonio & SB Wright

Poetry Bargains and Booktopia Free Shipping

Booktopia have just offered their latest free shipping deal (details at the bottom of the post).

I have gone through their bargains section and picked out some poetry links. Most collections listed below are under the $10 dollar mark - a ridiculously good price.  A good proportion of them are less than 5 years old.

But of course you can use the free shipping code on any book at Booktopia, even those that haven't been released yet like 

Or you know, Mother's day is coming up.

To be fully frank and honest these links earn me a small commission on any sales bought through them at no cost to you. 

The FREE SHIPPING promotion code is: HAPPY

Simply place an order before midnight, Wednesday the 11th of May (AEST and NZST) with the promotion code HAPPY and you will receive free shipping on your order. The promotion code can be used as many times as you, or your family and friends, want on any orders between now and then. 

The promotion code field where you enter the word HAPPY is on the last page of the checkout just before you complete your order (Payment and Review). Under Order Summary, click the plus symbol to expand the section so you can enter the code.

Please note: You may need to click the word "Apply" next to the promotion code field to receive your free shipping discount if it has not automatically applied it.

This offer is only available to Australian and New Zealand shipping addresses. If you are overseas and want to ship to an Australian or New Zealand address then you can use this promotional code too.

It is not applicable for Australia Post Express Post, eBooks, gift certificates OR magazines. The discount code applies only to the shipping cost of standard delivery to Australia or New Zealand and not to the overall order.

New Collection : The List of Last Remaining - Louise Nicholas

South Australian Poet, Louise Nicholas launched her first full length solo collection The List of Last Remaining this Friday gone.

Fellow poet JV Birch has some good coverage of the night here.

I'd have loved to have been there but it's a four hour round, road trip and I am so out of the loop living in rural SA that I only tend to hear of these events after the fact.

The List of Last Remaining is published by 5 Islands Press and when I tried to order one of these titles from a local bookseller (ie to support local business) the basically told me to contact the publisher myself. From memory it was Ouyang Yu's Fainting with Freedom, but I digress.

I am a fan of Booktopia (and an affiliate) because they are Australian owned and give great service ( not to mention they have recently been having some great deals on poetry).  When I looked earlier in the year they weren't carrying any 5 Island Press titles (to my recollection anyway) so imagine my surprise when both the titles mentioned above are available.

I have read and enjoyed Louise's works before so this title is going onto the wishlist and I am goingto check for further listings.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Poetry & Place Launch

This week sees the official launch of Poetry & Place Anthology 2015, featuring a number of great poets from Australia and the rest of the world.

It might be worth checking out the publisher's blog as all this coming week they will have audio versions of the poems for your listening pleasure available online.

Australian's keen on a print copy can order from Angus and Robertson Bookworld.

International readers and those who like ebooks can look at the links below:

Amazon AUeBook
Amazon USPrint and eBook
Amazon UKPrint and eBook
Barnes & NoblePrint
Fishpond AUPrint

Audio Recording - Lest We Forget

This is an audio recording of my poem Lest We Forget first published at Pressure Gauge Journal here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples please be advised that this poem contains paraphrasing of racist quotations from early Australian newspapers overheard on a Radio National broadcast.

Year of Poetry Update - Week 17

Thank goodness I did a lot of work early in the week as teaching prep ate up my time and will to do anything remotely involved with putting ink to paper.  I managed nearly 10 hours all up this week and the slight increase was due to extra time put in on writing poems.

I had a bit of fun experimenting with epistolary poetry, though I think I might need to read more widely in this sub genre as it felt too much like writing a letter as opposed to writing a poem.  I also managed to get halfway through another  promising poem before the writing time was curtailed and am left in that state of wanting to get back to it as soon as possible - a good way to feel I presume.
I find I am enjoying Clive James' critical essays on poetry, I do feel though that I'd benefit more if I had some more solid and broad world literary history under my belt.

This week's study was comprised of the essays, Technique's Marginal Centrality and A Deeper Consideration by Clive James from his Poetry Notebook and Jane Hirshfield's Seeing Through Words.

My close reading was Sarah Howe's Night in Arizona.  Which you can listen to below in the poet's own voice:

Aside from the close reading I have also been dipping into Australian Book Review magazines from last year and casually reading Sharon Olds' Selected Poems from Cape.  If you enjoy hard hitting confessional poetry you should check her out.

The major concern that is troubling me at the moment is the threat that my part time work will leave me too exhausted to put as much effort in as I have been. The lesson prep seems to eat into that same reserve of concentration that I use for poetry.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 09:42 (245:42) hrs

poem writing = 5.00 (102:41) hrs
close reading = 1:20(51:10) hrs
technique/theory 2:37(59:42) hrs
reflection = 0:45 (20:20) hrs

Poetry written:

1 (19) poems completed
6 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(13 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(5) poem

Live Performances:



0(6) poems
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