Grafitti

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7a3bc954b0f2243401c52a2bbe456476I’ve had an angry little poem published over on the excellent Bluepepper — the place for poetry with bite. This poem certainly has some! Thanks to editor Justin Lowe for his unfailing support.

Graffiti

Degrade degrade degrade yourself
take care to curl up small.
Have I grown
compact enough?
Unfurl me at your peril.

In the lengthening autumn
of my shadow skirl reams of discontent—
Am I sitting meekly?
No? Forbid me speak!

Deface deface deface yourself
until you disappear.
Leave no glyphs to sign this space
(she wasn’t even here).

Poetry & Place Anthology, Launch & Giveaway!

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My poem, Mourning Morning, has been included in an excellent anthology, Poetry & Place. It’s a collection of poems which explore ideas and experiences of ‘place’ in a variety of forms, from free and structured verse to concrete poetry and haiku. I just got my contributor copy in the mail — it’s terrific!

There’s been a virtual launch of the book, with poets reading their poems over at the Poetry & Place website. You can hear my reading here, along with some great readings by others.

A free copy of the anthology is being given away through Goodreads. Just click here and press ‘enter giveaway’ for your chance to receive a copy in the mail. Or hey, even consider buying one! Both print and e-book formats are available.

A big thanks and congratulations to editors Ashley Capes and Brooke Linford. They’ve produced a really beautiful collection.

 

Mourning Morning

My mother’s house surrounds
me in a shroud: the tinkling
of the teaspoon as my father stirs
his tea, his tea; the chug of the washing machine
that never dies. The tubular wind chimes casting
their cool auric spell around us; the complaint
of the floorboards bearing up our lives.
And the busyness, of the birds in bush nearby… I

lie with eyes shucked open, not turning
to what waits to be let in.
I hear the phone shriek—and again—
then footsteps up the hall; the sound
of hesitation at the door—
as I elongate this moment,
try to dwell inside before.

*first published in Bluepepper

 

 

 

 

 

My review of Hook and Eye, by Judith Beveridge, published on Mascara Literary Review

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HookandEye.jpgJudith Beveridge’s Hook and Eye is a collection of previously published poems selected to showcase the highly regarded Australian poet’s work to an American readership. The poems are for the most part imaginatively — rather than autobiographically — conceived, lyrical while still remaining largely outward looking, and full of the sensual imagery and sound-play for which Beveridge’s work is prized. Yet what is most striking about the book, comprised of work written over a twenty-five year span, are the enduring and distinctive spiritual concerns of the poet, and how these inform her praxis.

As Maria Takolander points out in a recent review[i], the book’s first poem, ‘Girl Swinging’, seems deliberately placed to give the reader insight into (perhaps even guidance for entering) the poet’s creative practise.

I often think about
the long process that loves
the sound we make.
It swings us until
we’ve got it by heart;
the music we are.

(‘Girl Swinging’)

The process of creation rather than the creation itself is paramount, a process which (like Beveridge) ‘loves’ playing with ‘the sound we make’ and which ‘swings us’ until we come to understand, at a heart level, ‘the music we are’. There is a profound desire for personal transformation: the speaker, longing ‘to be a symphony / levitated by grace-notes’, turns quietly within, ‘listening to myself’ until ‘that feeling comes / of being lifted into the air’. Takolander has convincingly argued that lyric poetry is fundamentally a poetry of embodiment and senses a paradox here in the way the remembered sensations of the girl’s body ‘swinging’ generate the adult speaker’s spiritual disembodiment. Yet it is not merely sensory experience which leads to this state – it is the poet’s attentive focus upon the girl’s sensory experience which foreground a form of mindfulness and lead the narrator of ‘Girl Swinging’ to her own kind of lyric elevation. Beveridge’s poetry could perhaps be called a poetry of conscious embodiment; here, physicality acts as tool for deepening the narrator’s awareness until she rises into a space of ‘…clear singing / …above / the common rattle / of chains’.

 

You can read the rest of the review over at Mascara. My thanks to editor Michelle Cahill. 

Engraft Launched at the 3rd Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Arts Festival at NSW Parliament House

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2016posterpage001-600x848A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be part of the 3rd Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Arts Festival, an inspirational event directed by poet, activist, feminist and filmmaker Saba Vasefi. I first read my poetry at this event in 2014, and have since become firm friends with Saba, working with her on the festival each year as its communications editor. Which made it all the more thrilling to have her launch my first poetry collection, Engraft, at this year’s festival on 16 March at NSW Parliament House. It was an AMAZING night — one look at the festival poster will tell you that. What a talented, intelligent and passionate group of women!

In her generous introduction to Engraft, Saba said:

“It’s a great pleasure for me to launch Engraft, the first poetry collection by Michele Seminara. Ever since I’ve known her, Michele has been a poet who is always at the forefront of supporting platforms for subaltern writing and multicultural cohesion. Engraft charts the darker waters of the human psyche, exploring themes of abuse, loss, family dynamics and the role of women as mothers, lovers, artists and spiritual beings. It is Michele’s fierce commitment to witness with clear eyes the challenging and joyous experiences that unite us as women which give the poems of Engraft their power.”

Thank you, Saba, for your heartfelt book launch, and for your work supporting women of all ethnicities to express themselves. The Women’s Poetry Festival is emerging as a unique and important contribution to the literary and feminist movements in Australia, and I am proud to be involved.

Saba Vasefi

Saba Vasefi launching Engraft

Michele Seminara

Me, looking slightly less nervous than I felt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My poetry roadie, aka the long-suffering husband.

My poetry roadie, aka the long-suffering husband

 

 

 

 

 

Srubbing up OK for the night.

We scrubbed up alright on the night!

 

 

 

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A full and culturally diverse audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to read some poems from Engraft you can do so here and here, and if you feel inspired to buy a copy (hooray!) please click on the button to the right of this post.

Launch of Engraft by Martin Langford

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12654248_10153963895347437_5224428608965360806_nWell it’s done!  Engraft has officially been launched, and I couldn’t be happier. The room was full, the crowd were kind, and some books were sold. Phew!

Distinguished poet and critic Martin Langford was generous enough to launch the book, and Rochford Street Review were good enough to publish the speech he gave.

Martin said:

“Writing has a complex relationship with Buddhism. It is so weighted with the dirt and doubt and slew of ordinary living that it can never hope to walk in that territory where one is free of such encumbrances – the territory, that is, that Buddhism aims for. For this reason, some schools of Buddhism dismiss the arts altogether. What the two do share, however, is a common engagement with understandings. They may come at them from slightly different routes, and neither of them may quite have understanding as their ultimate aim – there is a point in Buddhism where one hopes to move beyond one’s understandings, whereas in literature, the aim is usually to take those understandings and work them into some sort of overall aesthetic experience – but both revolve, in important though different ways, around that fragile, verbal confrontation.

I was thinking of these similarities and differences reading Michele Seminara’s new book, Engraft. Many of the poems are attempts to shape the forces at play in experience in a credible and accurate way: in short, to understand them…”

You can read the rest of Martin’s thoughtful launch speech here. Many thanks to him, to fellow poet Les Wicks (whose 13th book Getting By Not Fitting In was also launched on the day), to my publishers Island Press and to all who attended or sent good wishes. I feel very fortunate to have actually published a book, let alone to have anyone read it!

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Engraft – A Sneak Peak!

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Good Lord, it’s a book! My first poetry collection, Engraft, has just been published by Island Press, one of Australia’s oldest and most well respected independent poetry publishers. Which is all rather exciting!

Here’s a sneak peek from the book:

pirate

up on the plateau
dog running sprightly in the wind
ears flapping triumphantly
teeth bared in what is surely a grin

your kite stingrays against the sun’s
dazzle painful to observe
while down below it menaces us —
prey too dense to fly

And some very nice things that some very nice people have said:

Engraft is a masterwork. Seminara’s deep gift lies in her fusion of the viscera of life with a transcendent poetic vision. By turns terrifying and tender, loving and lost, Seminara is a major new voice in contemporary poetry.” – Charles Bane, Jr.

“Michele Seminara’s analytic prayers, domestic fables and eloquent centos work their ludic wit and charms in the house of loss and disturbance. She is not afraid to say ‘beauty’ in the language of economy engrafted with careful flourishes.”
– Michelle Cahill

“There is a great restlessness in this collection – the poems grumble, push on, then soar. The reader is drawn progressively into that fascinating morass called life… It is no small treat to immerse oneself in this collection: let yourself in.” – Les Wicks

Engraft is chock-full of tender, brave poems with emotional depth. Seminara’s work displays control, deft pacing, and a fierce commitment to witness with clear eyes the horrors we commit upon ourselves and each other. A book filled with variety and surprise which you will want, and need, to return to many times.” – Melinda Louise Smith

And some info on the 1st Sydney launch (in case you’re in the vicinity!):

ENGRAFTIsland logoISLAND PRESS

Michele Seminara’s first poetry collection Engraft explores the darker aspects of the human psyche and relationships.
This debut collection by a strong new poetic voice is being launched by distinguished poet Martin Langford.

ALSO LAUNCHING ON THE DAY
Les Wicks’ Getting By Not Fitting In – the 13th book
by one of Australia’s most well loved and respected poets.
Launched by Chris Mansell

We are having a launch for both books at:

Friend in Hand Hotel
58 Cowper St, Glebe
(upstairs bar)
Saturday 6th February 2.30pm

You can order a copy of Engraft directly from this blog via Paypal.
Or contact micheleseminara@hotmail.com to organise a direct credit.
Cheques should be made payable to Michele Seminara & sent to 1 Seebrees St, Manly Vale, NSW 2093.
You can also order direct from Island Press at 29 Park Rd, Woodford NSW 2778. http://islandpress.tripod.com/ISLAND.htm

 

 

Three New Poems, a New Book and Some Kind Words!

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I recently had the honour of featuring as a guest on the excellent blog of poet Julie Maclean. She has some very generous things to say and has published three of my new poems! Please take a read, and thank you Julie!

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This new year kicks off very happily with a dynamic new poet who is forging a dazzling path through the poetry scene. A full collection after so few years  is testament to the talent, energy and passion that Michele has in spades. But not to give you the wrong idea,  Michele was a writer of fiction before she was seduced by the beauty of poetry so is not altogether a raw beginner.

What amazes me about her place in the literary world is the way she is already giving back. She has shown courage and enormous generosity in taking on the position of Managing Editor of a high profile online literary journal, Verity La, as well as writing, attending readings and raising three children. I think this is where her Buddhist training must come in. In interview Michele comes across as humble, modest and thoughtful. She is always positive and life-affirming. I look forward to this debut collection (love the cover and title) which…

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