Thursday, June 30, 2016

Poetry Object 2016: Kathryn Hummel reads 'Revelair' - YouTube

Red Room Company were blindsided recently by Clive James in his defense of Quadrant.  Red Room Company having apparently received govt funding while Quadrant hadn't.

I think there's good reason why Red Room still receives funding, one of them being projects like the one below.  You can't grow an audience for poetry if you don't start with the young, or with those that have previously been alienated from it.

Where poetry leads you

One of the joyful experiences I haven't elaborated on in this Year of Poetry, is letting my interests dictate my literary canon.

This plan being a self paced, self designed process leaves me free to go where the poem or poet might lead (which can be a bit bewildering in the beginning - Who do I read?).

I never studied poetry composition at university, plenty of analysis of course but not the actual writing of poetry.  Our creative writing was limited to a one semester unit and that was prose. But that process tends to leave you a very narrow idea of what poetry is or could be.

Perhaps things have changed?

And writing now, isolated in the main from poetry communities and chances to learn and experience and to be guided in certain ways by what is currently "in" or by a preset literary heritage, I find myself being able to follow my own obsessions.

These obsessions led me to Richard Hugo, first his writings on Poetry and then his poems which in turn led, in the way these things do, to his commentary by way of verse on other poets.

And so I discovered William E Stafford.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Song of A Wandering Aengus

A bit of a fan of Michael Gambon's voice.  Not sure if I like the pacing of this reading though.



 You can find the text here at The Poetry Foundation


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Two Poems by Fiona Wright

Available from Booktopia
As I may have mentioned, I generally like hearing poets reading their own poems.

So after having Fiona Wright's Knuckled, arrive on inter-library loan and perusing quickly I went in search of a recording or video of her reading.

I wonder if we might get some arts funding to produce some quality recorded readings of some of our best poets (hey I can dream) EDIT: or maybe you could just subscribe to the Red Room Company Channel on Youtube, who seem to have done that already.

Any who in the Youtube video below contains two poems from that collection above.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 25

Available from Booktopia
What a week and not only on a personal front. My commiserations to the poets and peoples of the UK.

So impressed was I by the early chapters of the The Triggering Town, that I decided to purchase the ebook of Making Certain it Goes On- The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo. Now bearing in mind that my close readings take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half I haven't made much headway in this 400+ page tome but you'll see below I did read ones that are available at the Poetry Foundation..


In Stafford Country

No hills. Raw wind unchecked, brings word 
of death from Texas. No shade. Sun bruises 
the oats gold. With homes exposed 
no wonder people love. Farms absorb 
the quiet of the snow, and birds 
are black and nameless miles away. 
...


I also received notification of another paid publication - I will be in the inaugural issue of Snap Journal.  It came as a complete surprise to me as I had forgotten that I'd submitted a poem back in March.  So my acceptances versus rejections for the year sits at 8:7 or 53% which any poet/writer will tell you is excellent.  So no complaints.


The Writing

As you'll note from the stats below I was able to find extra time for all elements of the plan this week. I'll thank the cold weather and the dearth of anything interesting on TV owing to the ongoing election coverage and commercial networks reluctance to deliver engaging programs.

Yes I spent most of my evenings writing at the fireside.  This week's writing was writing and rewriting the one poem using some of Richard Hugo's suggestions.  I don't think I've ever spent so much time on the one poem (and I'll continue tomorrow).


The Study

I polished off the The Triggering Town this week.  I found the first half the book immensely helpful - the right learning at the right time.  The later writings in the book seem more autobiographical and tangential to the writing of poetry but were interesting nonetheless.


Close Reading


This week I read Richard Hugo's Mill at Romesdal and In Stafford Country.  I did so both before purchasing the collected works and it's only now checking the digital collection that I realise that when I printed off a copy of the Mill at Romesdal I only printed half the poem.  Even for half a poem I found it well done.




For the Statbadgers:


Total time: 13:24 (307:29) hrs



poem writing = 6.10 (131:53) hrs

close reading = 2:26(62:45) hrs

technique/theory 3:38(75:38) hrs

reflection = 1:00 (24:44) hrs



Poetry written:

0 (23) poems completed


14 poems in draft


1 poem abandoned


1 poem facing execution at dawn



Poems Submitted:


-1(14 in total) poems



Poems Published:


1(7) poem



Live Performances:


0(2)



Rejections:


0(7) poems

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A new poem - Failing a Turing Test

In honour of the victims who died in Orlando, the survivors and their families and every queer person on the planet.


Failing a Turing Test

We water a tree of hate with fifty three dead,
wring hands, refuse to state the obvious,
as if queerness were catching, as if picking
a path through bodies, as if we can’t
acknowledge:  a seed of hate is nurtured
in every heart each time we refuse
to say this was a gay hate crime.

A hate with long roots that blooms
in bruises and roses of torn flesh,
in the suicide of a savior of a million lives -

If this is intelligent human behavior
grant me the machine paradise.

Year of Poetry Update - 6 Months

Arrived this week.
This week The Triggering Town arrived and supplied some much needed study material. I mentioned in the last post that I had already read the title essay i.e. The Triggering Town and that having it and the surrounding essays only makes that essay much more interesting and relevant.

This week saw my writing days impacted on by volunteer work at the local maritime art exhibition and fishing competition.  My other half was presenting some of her watercolour and garden art and managed to sell a significant amount and pick up some commissions.

I was noticeably chomping at the bit to get to the writing desk though. In the end I just had to fit the writing in where I could

The Writing

I only managed 1 hour each day on the weekend but those days turned out to be quite productive.  I managed to finish off one of the poems written last week and submit it to make the cut-off for a paying publication. It was one of those situations where you don't know if you should hold onto it and rework it or throw caution to the wind.  In the end I threw caution and ended up getting an acceptance that afternoon.  It all happened so quickly that I almost didn't have time to get excited.

With other activities impinging on my writing time I decided to do some more revision on the second poem written in last week's flurry of activity and again threw caution to the wind and submited this poem to a new market.

And I thought that would be the end of my writing chances this week but Thursday ended up being more productive than either Sunday or Monday, and I finished the week with a solid draft poem on the Orlando massacre and Alan Turing.


The Study

I really enjoyed getting stuck into The Triggering Town and managed to read and note up to Chapter Three.  Hugo is witty and conversational in his approach and I can see myself adapting some of his ideas readily into my process.  The reading is less about the technical approach to writing although there has been a smattering of that so far, and more so about generating the right state to write from.


Close Reading

This week I read Fiona Wright's Almost Aubade, Melbourne which you can read at Meanjin here.


6 Month Review

Back in December of last year I wrote this post in preparation for the Year of Poetry and this snippet below was what I decided my goals were:

I want to exceed publication credits for this year so that's 4 + published poems.  I want to write at least 12 poems of publishable quality.  I want to increase my own poetic understanding through reading technical material and through reading of other's good poetry.
So how am I going?

Well 


  1. 6 poems accepted for publication so far ( Tick)
  2. 23 Poems written and I think that at least half of those are of publishable quality (Tick)
  3. This part is hard to quantify, but I do feel that I am learning technically and emotionally and last week I felt the beginnings of a state of flow, that point where either in reading or writing poems that the mechanics seem to disappear and there's a present awareness of what you are or someone else is doing (so : Tick) 
I may need to come up with some stretch goals to keep me going but I think that this process has been a success. 



For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 07:56(294:05) hrs

poem writing = 4.40 (125:43) hrs
close reading = 1:37(60:19) hrs
technique/theory 1:11(72:00) hrs
reflection = 0:28 (23:44) hrs


Poetry written:


1 (23) poems completed
13 poems in draft
1 poem abandoned
1 poem facing execution at dawn



Poems Submitted:

2(15 in total) poems




Poems Published:


1(6) poem


Live Performances:


0(2)


Rejections:


0(7) poems

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Poetry Arrivals - The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo

Available from Booktopia
I came across Richard Hugo's writing in an essay on the Poetry Foundation website that shares the title of this collection of lectures and essays.

I read it earlier in the Year of Poetry process and while I enjoyed it at the time (it's chapter two of this book)I believe I have benefitted immeasurably from it being placed in the context of a number of essays or lectures that were intended, I think to be viewed or listened to in close proximity to each other.

It's only a slight volume; appearing not much bigger than the standard one author poetry collection.  That being said Hugo somehow manages to combine wit, comedy and a deep engagement with the subject without becoming dense or unweildy.

It's caused me to consider elements of my writing in a new way.  A good resource for the poet who has had some publication success or none or indeed anyone who values discussion on poetry.  Still relevant some 30 odd years after Hugo's death.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 23

New Poetry from Helen Mort
This week was good all round.  My preordered copy of Helen Mort's, No Map Could Show Them arrived. Seriously worth getting especially if you like poetry about climbing and subtle feminist commentary. 

My confidence built on last week and despite having a full on work week with reports and such, I had two great writing days that left me with 2 fully drafted poems.

My overall time was up this week, courtesy I think, of hacking my writing brain and working out how to alter my schedule to cope with fatigue.

So by my reckoning its taken me 5 or so weeks to produce something I am considering sending out.  Personally I am just happy I have something.

The Writing

I honestly would have spent more time writing today if I hadn't been called upon to cut and grind metal for garden art and then sell it.  I was having such a successful week that I really didn't want to be taken away from the desk.

I managed to produce two really good first drafts on last Sunday and Monday respectively, when I racked up 4 hours of solid poetry writing.  I have been rotating through Writing, Study and Close Reading as and when time permits, with an emphasis of course, on the writing.  I was finding though, that I tended to let the Close Reading drop in favour of Study.  I think this had a negative impact on motivation and inspiration and having no particular text to study this week pushed hard and did a couple of close readings of Jane Clarke's poems.  It seemed to help.


The Study

I only did about three quarters of an hour, finishing off Glyn Maxwell's On Poetry . I found the final chapters ( on poets writing plays) less helpful in my current stage of devlopment.  But am glad that I purchsed the book.  I found Maxwell to have an interesting perspective especially for folk who like form.



Close Reading

I finished Irish poet, Jane Clarke's, Every Life, and  The Suck (from the collection mentioned here) and made a start on a Helen Dunmore poem.



For the Statbadgers:


Total time: 08:30(286:09) hrs

poem writing = 5.30 (121:03) hrs
close reading = 1:30(58:42) hrs
technique/theory 0:48(70:49) hrs
reflection = 0:45 (23:16) hrs


Poetry written:


2 (23) poems completed
13 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(2)


Rejections:


0(7) poems

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation

I remember seeing Ben Crystal and his father in a short excerpt on a DVD series called Six Centuries of Verse, where they presented Shakespeare in Received Pronunciation and then in what they can determine the Original Pronunciation would have been.  

Here's Ben doing a presentation and outlining some of the reasons why it OP developed the way it did.

Seamus Heaney - Making Sense of A Life

For those of us on mobile broadband here's a short video 3-4 minutes of Seamus Heaney talking about his poetry, where it comes(came) from and what poetry in general is for.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Year of Poetry Update - Week 22



I was a little more confident this week having taken the pressure off and allowed myself to play with language a bit rather than "write poetry".


I only fell 15 minutes short of last weeks hours which is a personal achievement considering the inclusion of two migraines in the challenges served up this week..
One thing that is playing on my mind is that I haven't produced anything worth submitting since I started regular teaching work.

Earlier in the year, while didn't feel every poem was going to go out, I was happy when completing most of them. No choice but to continue plugging away.

The Writing

I had to go shopping ( a 100km round trip) and this managed to spark off a short narrative poem that kept me engaged for an evening - it still sounds a bit twee for my liking though. I also tried an exercise out of Glyn Maxwell's On Poetry, involving the use of a deck of cards to frame stanza and content. It also worked surprisingly well.


The Study

This week's study was split between reading Chime, another chapter of Glyn Maxwell's On Poetry and The introduction to 101 Sonnets edited by Don Paterson. The Maxwell chapter focused on some of the melodic elements ie alliteration, assonance and was probably the least helpful of the chapters so far. The Introductory essay by Paterson I remember being quite good at the time, but I read it on the day I began getting the first migraine so things are sketchy.



Close Reading

My close reading included finishing off Dennis Greene's Wheat Field, and Jane Clarke's Every Life (from the collection mentioned here).



For the Statbadgers:


Total time: 07:43(277:39) hrs

poem writing = 4.20 (115:33) hrs
close reading = 1:42(57:12) hrs
technique/theory 1:19(70:01) hrs
reflection = 0:22 (22:31) hrs


Poetry written:


0 (21) poems completed
13 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(2)


Rejections:


0(7) poems
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