Archive for June, 2009

one

of the purposes of blogs was to make short announcements, links & so forth. this has now been destroyed by twitter. but then people still enjoy the odd opera.

i just found that my review of alison croggon’s Theatre – appearing in Famous Reporter 39 – is live on the Walleah Press Website. i penned it a while back, & it feels like a different person wrote it. i begin many sentences with ‘And’. it was my ampersand-phase, akin to Picasso’s blue period. but less important perhaps.

Consensuses of Failure and The Hip-Hop Narrative: Against Prolificity

One can reasonably expect to be disenchanted, angry, or callously indifferent when faced with the oeuvre of a prolific artist. There can be no coping with such a legacy. Bob Dylan is lost to me. Even if a life is spent excavating and distilling the essence of one person’s lifetime-output it can be concluded that another individual’s works are at the same time going unnoticed, getting moldy in some basement or else suffering the ignominy of zero-hit & zero-comment in an online archive. It’s a natural and unavoidable assumption that there is just as much manna going to waste when you embark upon specificity, when you write that first outline of your thesis proposal.

The answer then is to do nothing yourself, or at the most, very little.

But of course do it publically and in a grand fashion. This means the collective output of humanity might one day become manageable and graspable to all. True collective wisdom is at stake. We must acknowledge the failures of the past – failures that in no way rely upon the content and ideas raised in various works and discourses, but instead failures that may be adjudged as such by weight of their weight. In short, ideas remain opaque to the majority because of abject authorial prolificity. One must be against this; all must be against this. We need not advocate a burning of books, but instead just a gradual turning of the eyes. Forget the writers who wrote a lot, the musicians who lived a long time, and the artists with ‘phases’. (All unnecessarily long blog-postings should be resolutely ignored too.) When we come to a consensus on this matter it seems inevitable that world peace shall follow, consumerism – the feted cause of a material world war 3 – being nothing but the awkward desire for a more prolific, multi-faceted sense of self. I look forward to the day.

Just as everyone looks forward to the arrival of truly intelligent post-avant hip-hop, or a paradoxical segue that gets warmer the longer you linger over it. The majority of commercialized packages of the hip-hop genre (I speak of it broadly, generally, and without research) maintain the boring status-quo of a long gender imbalance. The vociferous male rapper rages through verse after verse of unintelligent stereotypical drivel, that is nevertheless, fascinatingly wordy, and even rhythmic to the point of being nuanced. Words come at a rate of knots until the sound-bite chorus loop. Typically, here you are given the beautifully wistful female vocal – she won’t ‘say’ much, but she sure is pretty (thereby effective). The male is wordy, aggressive and angst-ridden in his daft language-doubt; the woman is silently beautiful and practical (calm) because she understands the essence of communication, like perfume. Same old same old. Post-avant rappers will recognize this perpetuation of the prolificty myth and rectify it. Perhaps they already have. Bugger epiphany.

Everything will be said in a more concise manner by everyone. And everyone shall be poets, and we shall all be able to share in the theories that matter. Like this one. There will be an upsurge in the popularity of irony and online random-essay-generators. Topics, like search-strings, will abound.

landscapes are often successful

i’m curtaining off the afternoon joggers, a species so

heart-rending & cup-of-teaish, like your old stuffed rabbit.

sat smack in the hillside office brings nought to light

though, if one were two, by chance, you inhabit the

actual site of an art-work / book / film, a house, an office,

a famous toilet & then come to know its curves like your own

stomach, you form some perverse attachment \\ thereby

ruining the initial coolness of love. having started to read

craig schuftan’s nietzschean pop analyses i’m getting drawn in -

a pithy definition of ‘cool’ glows succinct & valid

(paraphrased as playing with the signs &

surfaces intently, but not developing any deep attachment

to content, so, detached) – & think it would have been useful

a while back. we all had special talents to offer in the past.

there was the way you could twist & spin a racquet,

arcing past moths & the casual flummox of teenage

girls, sneering, comma-ing their speech with images of

uncaring tch. unable to rise

because i haven’t been drinking.

clear-headed abortive laziness.

short lined cocoa packets invest in cupboards.

the plural of rigour.

the vulgar mistake of the persecution dream; or, titles as ballast

And hey, this one (edited by social networking marvel S. Twyford-Moore) should be cool: The launch of the Cutwater Literary Anthology, to be held on July 11 from 7pm at Serial Space, 33 Wellington Street Chippendale.

Cutwater_posterCutwater_poster(2)

There will be copies available on the night for $25 each. Cutwater includes 200 pages of new fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry from the likes of Tony Birch, Clinton Caward, Michael Farrell, Rebecca Giggs and Louise Swinn, and features a twenty-four page comic meditation on the Swiss writer Robert Walser by the graphics genius Tim Danko. Come and grab a copy and have a drink with the editors and contributors.

I’m gonna make my best efforts to hurl off other commitments & drive up for this one. Because the ‘Best of Facebook Status’ section (edited by me, but possibly named something more legally ambiguous) is to be included. & there’ll be people, up at a mic, reading status updates. & they’ll be poets. That’s got to be worth seeing.

submit

 

fourW

fourW

 

June 30 tends to be one of those dates – financial years end; lit-publications call for their submissions.

One of my roles is to provide artistic direction at the Booranga Writers’ Centre. & one of the big things we do each year is publish an anthology of poetry & prose, fourW.

The submissions guidelines are here.

Please read them, & send us some work. Works are read anonymously. I guess I should say too, I am NOT the editor of the book this year, & I will not be reading any submissions. I will however be doing my best to publicise the book.

This year’s fourW will be the twentieth annual edition. Last year poems from fourW eighteen were selected for inclusion in both ‘Best of’ poetry roundups, from UQP & Black Inc. This is by no means a measure of our journal’s quality, but you know, it’s still a good thing.

There are no submission fees, & every submission is in the running for the $250 Booranga Prize for best poem, or the prize for best short story.

In 2009 we will be holding launches in November, in Wagga & Sydney, & also this year in Melbourne.

homunculus

a meant june. the past has couple years for splattering poems: day one. my mind just slipped it mind. i think don’t i seem to have kept could have that anyway up, but with, it’s disconcerting while… a vaguely signal perhaps, the way of things beguiles getting me away from. lawns overgrown become the more & more. the image the work of defeats even making involved a single step that intimate direction.

here’s a ballpoint. take that guitar pick. do you like zippers? thank you. beat that little man up there with a stick.

personicity

today i did a bit of gardening. must get some new azaleas. the mailman is late – normally presents at 10.30am each morning. is it crazy that i briefly imagine him dead in a ditch? maybe i should get some new hobbies. i’ll start right away.

i’ve been going through the archives of adam fieled’s blog. i don’t care if he knows it. i’m writing a paper on blogging & using his blog as material. the unsual thing though is how much i feel like i’m getting inside his head – his personality & the way he thinks about poetics. it’s interesting, but also not an entirely comfortable feeling.

angela meyer has just posted her talk on cultural blogging. while commenting, a number of things intervened (none related to gardening; more than one related to the demands of a child; exactly one related to the delivery of mail). the point is though, that by the time i left a comment someone else already had. luckily his comment didn’t bring up anything i should have referred to. but if it had of, i would have felt quite the fool. is it crazy that i am analysing this potential embarrassment, now situated firmly in the past, publicly? maybe i should get some new hobbies. i’ll start right now.

this – as suggested by sarah (founder of the ‘fair-shake-of-the-sauce bottle fanclub’) – is a baby hedgehog.

pitches

A memoir – growing up in Victoria, with the move to NSW at the age of six. The trials and tribulations of an ordinary life. The move to writing, eventually. The why of it all. What is going to be the strangeness treated honestly? My relentless pursuit of Jennifer Byrne, formerly of 60 minutes fame. There will be no resolution to that: instead, revealed within the memoir will be an explanation of how most of the events in Jennifer’s life can be explained by actions I have taken, even down to her split & then re-union with husband Andrew Denton.

Patricia scores a job at a company after years of study and countless lower-management type positions. It is a time for reflection: is this really where she wants to be? And if it is not, has she wasted most of her life, all those millions of little decisions and actions that led her to this point? She is feeling very uncertain in general (a place she hasn’t been before) and is quite surprised to find out that her new boss seems to be some sort of vampire-creature. She begins to investigate her boss, seeking to discover his secrets (perhaps a whole society of vampire-creatures) and thereby begins to find out about herself, her true passions. Of course – as the reader no doubt guesses – Patricia is never to find out any secrets. She eventually does discover a petrol station in a small town, a friend, and an unusual sex-life. We leave her here, happy that life’s twists are not all boring.

Domestic violence: two siblings (a brother and a sister) grow up in some non-descript setting (let’s call it Melbourne) witnesses to violence. The father beats the mother. The mother is no victim though: she beats the father. Both have repeated affairs and problems with substances. The siblings are close, but when both parents die (in a fishing accident) they are raised separately. They come together again after many years. Both have narratives we’ll gloss over. Both look for similarities in the other, things that will mean a transformation into their parents. It’s interesting. But far more interesting is the fact that each of them now has a daughter named Isabelle, of the same age. They marvel at it. Was Isabelle some kind of imaginary mother, invented in their early years, to provide the love that their real mother never gave them? This occupies their respective lives as you might expect. The two Isabelles meet. They dislike each other from the start, and begin a violent relationship. 

A not-very-nice lead-character that is shown, eventually, to come to no good. A series of minor-characters are heroes here. Nevertheless, we still are privy to much more of this not-very-nice character’s life than that of anyone else. In the end he has lost the following: wife & family, home, job, any sense of self-worth. In fact you end up feeling like it might not be quite right to be happy about this man’s downfall. After all you do know him so well. And do people that are not-very-nice deserve to lose everything in such a way? The twist: along the way there is a narrator who seems not to be in control. The narrator is trying constantly to let you see things, perhaps aspects of the minor character’s lives, but just can’t. This seems to make no sense, but then paradoxically, it also does.

Anger at uncontrollable shifts in time (rendered fictively) leads Eric to seek the help of psychic. He questions her (her): will this continue forever? Will my life be one long, & frustrating story of leaps between the present and stylised memory? I daydream all the time. And yet I know these memories are qualitatively skewed. The psychic suggest Eric is in the wrong place – perhaps he needs a psychologist? But she is welcoming. And the lush rainforest setting (where her hut is located) challenges his senses. He stays on, hoping to destroy the past with a rigorous course of drinking at a local rainforest pub. He invents an imaginary friend, an eventual rival for the psychic’s romantic attentions. The end is tragic & unexpected: ie: a dip into the past, an incident long known assumes magnitude, blah blah blah.

A young boy builds a miniature community (buildings, roads, stories) in the dirt out the backyard, round a quiet corner, near the compost heap and various secretive trees. He spends all his time there cultivating the romance of the place. Naturally the place develops its own life. Monsters dwell in the compost. People scurry between dirt-mounds when no-one is looking. Rituals are born. Flash-forwards in the narrative reveal the boy will become an addict (of most varieties)  in later life. He will die early. Is the magical city to blame? Or society? The answer is in the compost. As a present-day narrator (emerging in the second half of the narrative – let’s say he is lost relative of the young boy) will find out.

An English teacher in a semi-urban / semi-rural high-school teaches middle-class kids of un-diverse ethnic backgrounds, teaches them English. He dreams of writing a great novel (of winning the Vogel) but awakens one day to find he is 35. Sunlight starts to play a large part in his moods. He hatches a mad plot to start a school-farm and fill it with diverse animals. The principal is naturally opposed to this idea (and he becomes the antagonist in the story, as if by chance but not really). People keep saying ‘What’s going on?’ in ever-increasing numbers. It makes the English teacher wonder why nothing is going on in his life.

50s library, discussions of gloom

catch the seafarer of vast doona pattern unknowns in this:

like a ball-lightning technologist (his face pretty much an avatar)

busy basking, with some expertise in vegetable dye screen printing

& love, just to humanise all future victims. secretly i pine for you,

also your vast truths mate, like a waiting patient breathing. look at that.

 

iconic: a veritable mr squiggle when i hide these things. mirey.

although, your enthusiasm for the hole punch mechanism pales to

not moderately noteworthy. however syntax cooperates with

me it’s because i woo it. wearing the tracksuit pants of previous

 

freeze-frame fame it would seem. betwixt & athwart

mindless passing the time & beverages we exchange

instances of running into friends we record the surprise

& mention it, then as if i am now doing it & never was,

a present smile & nod presents (others are wry, delicate

 

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