Flowers

Standard

flowers2
I  have had a new poem, Flowers, published in Deep Water Literary Journal. You can read it below, or go to Deep Water and enjoy some of their truly wonderful poetry, fiction, and art.

The journal publishes “works which engage with the psychological and physical aspects of the darker side of the human condition.”

Please take a look, and perhaps consider submitting something yourself.

 

Flowers

Flowers, swaddled
like the babies you keep
losing, are a meagre offering to place upon
the altar of your abysmal grief;

their dilated eyes
and flaring heads
are sucked
into that cruel void.

I can feel
your pain’s gravity distorting
everything I dare approach with.

The hospital a monolith
to suffering, our suffering —
but how could a mere building
contain such suffering?
What kind of feeble bastion
against the unbearable black seed
that grows inside is this?

Standing, bereft, in the stark car park,
hungry for a shred of grace to ease my heart,
the only suggestion of God I find:
a flickering light; the aroma
of rain; electricity
quickening the air.

The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam

Standard

So The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam was AMAZING!

Rhyll McMaster

Rhyll McMaster

We had Australian poets Rhyll McMaster,
Elizabeth MoraEden Riley, and myself
(reading for Tricia Dearborn, who 
unfortunately was sick on the night). 
These ladies have great blogs/websites 
which you can explore - just click on 
their names to read some of their work.

Elizabeth Mora

Elizabeth Mora





Many people commented on our 
particularly strong open-mic 
section, which had a lovely mix 
of new and experienced female poets. 
There was some serious talent, 
and a very generous and supportive 
spirit, in the room.

 


Eden Riley

Eden Riley

It was a fun and intense experience 
being both MC for the evening and 
stand-in poetry reader. (No photos 
of me unfortunately, I was too busy 
taking them!) However I enjoyed 
it immensely, and will probably 
do it again some time, when I've 
recovered. :-)

 

 

Tricia Dearborn

Tricia Dearborn

 

I'm going to leave you with one of
Tricia's wonderful poems,
which I read out on the night 
to some musical backing. 
It's from her latest collection 
The Ringing World, which you can 
purchase here. I highly recommend 
buying one - I did!

 

She reconsiders life on the run

Sadness always knew where to find me, though I kept on giving it false addresses, and moved house when it got too close. It discovered my silent number. Tired of its voice on the answering machine, I disconnected the phone.

I took to leaving the lights off so sadness couldn’t tell   when I was at home. I didn’t put music on. I moved around as little as possible in case it had sonar. I wasn’t sure how it was tracking me.

It got so that it was hard to go out. I’d be standing in the supermarket choosing a brand of shampoo and sadness would touch my elbow. I’d realise in the cinema as the lights went down that sadness had the seat next to me.

Eventually I saved up and had my fingerprints removed and my face reconstructed by a plastic surgeon so sadness wouldn’t recognise me, even if we bumped into each other on the street.

The day sadness saw me and knew me in my new face and hands I realised it was going to take a heart transplant to shake this thing. The excitement of living like a get-away driver was beginning to pall.

I decided to reclaim my face, my actual address. I know that sadness will choose inconvenient times to visit, arriving as I’m getting dressed to go out, or at 2 am, or while I’m watching my favourite show on TV.

But it doesn’t unpack its suitcase all over my bedroom, or drink all the milk, or run up a three-figure phone bill calling long-distance, or expect to stay for months like an English backpacker.

And now I don’t have to avert my gaze when sadness catches my eye, or block my ears when it knocks at the door. Now I say, Is it you, sadness? Come in, come in, it’s been a while.

The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam!

Standard

blue space
I’m very excited to be MCing a special women’s edition of The Blue Space Poetry Jam! The Blue Space is a poetry and musical evening which takes place every third Thursday of the month in inner city Sydney. I’ve been a featured poet there in the past, and it’s a lot of fun!

We’re calling this one The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam, since it will be featuring  four AMAZING female poets, plus an all women’s open mic.

So if you’re in Sydney please consider coming along!

Pièce de Shakespeare

Standard
Joyce_Better_Contrast

Joyce in Zurich, c. 1918

I have had a new poem, Pièce de Shakespeare, published in Bluepepper.

This is a found poem written to celebrate Bloomsday, which falls on the 16th of June. On this day every year literary nerds such as myself pay homage to James Joyce’s ground-breaking novel, Ulysses.

I initially wrote this poem in response to a call out from The Found Poetry Review, which asked writers to create poems from a nominated chapter of Ulysses.  Pièce de Shakespeare is created from chapter 9, where Stephen Dedalus expounds his views about how much of Shakespeare’s life we can deduce from his writing.

Unfortunately Found Poetry Review did not accept my poem (aaw), but if you would like to read their Bloosmsday Issue, you can do so here. There are some great poems in there, although I will leave it up to you to decide which chapter 9 poem you prefer!

Luckily, editor Justin Lowe did take a fancy to my poem, and published it on his excellent site,  Bluepepper. You can read it there, (plus much more) or alternatively, below. Happy  belated Bloomsday!

Pièce de Shakespeare

Come, sheathe your dagger definitions —
the Father, Word, and Holy Breath,
the swan of Avon, has returned to die.

Lord of language, auric egg,
he lies laid out in stiffness —
bronzelidded in the secondbest bed,
lips twisted by Venus into prayer,
coffined thoughts embalmed in a spice
of words which rise like crooked smoke
up to the nostrils of God.

Why even his errors are portals to discovery!
Following his lean unlovely lines
through spaces smaller than red globules of blood
we creepycrawl after his buttocks
meeting robbers, ghosts, old men, young men,
wives, widows, brothers-in-love;
the molecules all changing, the I becoming other,
the unquiet father reborn in the son —
but always, always, as we walk through him
we are walking into ourselves.

 

* A found poem sourced from chapter 9 of James Joyce’s Ulysses

 

A Sudden Absence

Standard

Vilhelm Hammershoi, femme dans un interieur, 1905

I have had a new poem, 
A Sudden Absence, published 
in Bluepepper. Read it below, 
or better still, read it online 
at Bluepepper, where you will find 
an array of fine poetry on offer.
This wonderful site, edited by 
Australian poet Justin Lowe, 
has recently been included in 
Pandora,the National Library of 
Australia's Web Archive — which is  
a testament to the high standard 
of poetry it publishes. Just sign 
up via email to receive a regular 
dose of good quality poems into 
your inbox. Enjoy!

A Sudden Absence

When a sudden absence opens
where before there was a lover, or a child,
(a child’s worse, we must all agree
a child’s loss is worst), the everyday
grows almost perverse.

Routine grinds around and round the lack
and identity, devoid of vital purpose
withers back…

Autumn’s raw draft rankles from her room —
but I don’t look; instead I close the door,
and try to cover up by loving
the others a little more.

 

 

 

 

Grand Mont

Standard

 

Leda-by-Emmanuel-Benner

 

I have had a poem, Grand Mont, published in Verity La, an online creative arts journal which publishes short fiction and poetry, cultural comment, photomedia, reviews, and interviews. I absolutely love Verity La, which prides itself on showcasing “writing that gets you in the head as well as the gut, that has a point, that isn’t afraid.” My kind of journal!

Grand Mont is a found poem – a poem created from other texts – in this case sourced from one of my favourite novellas, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, by Elizabeth Smart. It’s a passionate account of the author’s tumultuous love affair with the already married English poet George Barker, with whom Smart had four children. The novel has been likened to Madame Bovary blasted by lightning”, and the poem I wrote based upon it is similarly dramatic.

You can read Grand Mont below, or click  here to read it — and many other wonderful things — at Verity La!

 

Grand Mont

A cat scrambles in the cave of my sex

my heart is infested by desire;

Jupiter has been with Leda

and this typewriter is guilty with love.

Electrified with memories of dangerous propinquity

(to my verboten lover, beautiful as allegory) I rise

from this jungled bed, virile as a cobra –

my obstreperous shape of shame a colossus

whose snowy thighs soar, obliviously, out of sorrow.

 

 

 

 

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Standard

writing

Many thanks to poet Benjamin Dodds  for including me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. Ben is a wonderful poet, as well as being a very lovely guy! His first poetry collection Regulator was recently released, and I highly recommend it.  It can be purchased online via Puncher & Wattmann, and you can read Ben’s own blog post on his writing process here.

To the questions!

What am I working on?

I’m working on getting together enough good quality poems to publish a chapbook by the end of the year. A chapbook is a mini book of poetry, and is a good first step for a newish poet like me.  But I want to wait until I have enough poems which I’m really proud of before I publish.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve no idea. I’ve only been writing poetry for around two years, and the fact that I’m writing poetry at all surprises me! Although I studied English Literature at university, am a voracious reader, and have always written (prose), poetry was never something I thought I would write. It’s been a steep learning curve which has involved educating myself further about poetry, but essentially I write from my gut, relatively unaffected by what other poets are doing; which is probably a blessing and a curse! I think that compared to most contemporary poets, my writing is a bit earnest and uncool (but then, so am I)!

Why do I write what I do?

The short (and ungrammatical) answer is  because I can’t not! I think I’m drawn to write poetry because it deals with the big stuff  the stuff of the heart and the soul  and as I get older that’s what absorbs me. I’m not interested in fluffing around   I write because I need to write, and poetry is a distilled and powerful way of expressing oneself.

How does my writing process work?

I have to preface this by saying I have three children and work as a yoga teacher, so any writing process is very much fitted in around all of that. Also, poems are slippery suckers, and can be hard to conjure up at the best of times. It’s rare that I sit down and decide  I shall write a poem  and something of any worth comes out. Generally, I find that the subconscious works on the poem for me, and when it’s nearly ready to be ‘born’ I get a very strange feeling, almost visceral, like something pushing up from inside that needs to come out NOW! And if I can’t get pen to paper quickly enough, the poem will simply surface and then dissolve back into wherever it came from — forgotten forever!

Which isn’t to imply that the poem emerges fully formed  on the contrary, the first draft is (usually) a horror, a similitude of the poem that is waiting inside it to be unearthed. But in there it is, and if I can run off for even ten minutes and get that first draft down, I know that with many (many!) subsequent re-writings, the poem will gradually find its form and make itself heard.

Next on the Writing Process Blog Tour:

Stuart Barnes is a super talented poet, poetry editor at  Tincture Journal, and co-poetry reader (along with yours truly) at the fabulous Verity La. You can hunt down his poetry in many online and print journals and anthologies, and read his answers to the writing process blog tour at  his tumblr, spines, jackets, sleeves

Ashley Capes is a poet and teacher whose third poetry collection Between Giants is available through Ginninderra Press. You can visit his blog, Ashley capes: Poetry and Stuff, for insights into his writing process, and to read some of his truly lovely poetry.

Enjoy!