HUSH, My New Chapbook, From Blank Rune Press

HUSHcoverenhancedI’ve recently had a chapbook—HUSH—published by the wonderful small Australian Blank Rune Press. The publisher, Valli Poole, was a dream to work with—she’s so passionate and particular about what she does, and as a result the books (which she hand-makes) are exquisite. Blank Rune only do a very limited print run, and Valli has told me HUSH has almost sold out. But I have a few copies to sell, so if you’d like one, please hit me up! They’re $15 (which includes postage). Here’s a little taster from the book.

Facetune

I crop your girth of grief
so it won’t show.
Coruscate your under-eyes
in the hope that hope might grow.

Destain your teeth, raze blemishes,
out damn spot!
Blood the lips, lend bloom
to what’s worn off.

I pray I could move deeper—
sweep the lungs. Restart
the heart, the mind;
unspool the past.

Return us to the prescient game
I played,
when my unconscious
conjured you this way.

 

Thrilled to be Judging Queensland Poetry Festival’s Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Award

‘LS06_ 2011 by Michael Zavros
‘LS06’, 2011, by Michael Zavros. One of five images in this year’s QPF Ekphrasis Award.

I’m thrilled to have been asked (along with Queensland poet, Nathan Shepherdson) to co-judge this year’s Queensland Poetry Festival Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Award.

This award, now in its third year, is named after one of Australia’s premier art dealers, Philip Bacon. The word ekphrasis comes from the Greek ek (out) & phrasis (speak), and is a rhetorical device in which a visual object, usually a work of art, is described by another artistic medium – in this case, a poem under 12 lines in length.

Open to all Australian residents, the award is now accepting entries, and will close at 5pm July 10th 2017. The overall winner will receive $500 in prize money, the runner-up will get $250, and the top 3 poems will be published online at Verity La

Philip Bacon has selected five paintings from his own collection to which poets can respond. You can download the guidelines, submissions form and images here

I love reading – and writing – ekphrasis, and look forward to seeing how poets respond to these exciting images. Please consider entering, and don’t forget to check out the website for QPF 2017. The festival, themed Distant Voices, will take place August 24 – 27, and will include 80+ sessions, 120+ artists, and poetry in all its forms. The full program won’t be launched until 21 July, but the website already contains loads of information, and many other QPF 2017 Poetry Awards are already up and running, so check it out!

 

A Word from the Wise Guy

william-burroughs1111600x300

I’ve had some poems published in Have Your Chill, a magazine published by Australian poet and publisher Pete Spence. The magazine also includes poems by fellow Aussies Robbie Coburn, Valli Poole and Ariel Riveros Pavez, along with a swathe of international poets. Pete is renowned for publishing innovative independent print magazines via his Donnithorne Street Press, and I’m proud to have my work included in this one.

Here’s one of the poems, ‘A Word from the Wise Guy’. It’s a found poem sourced from the Introduction to The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.

 

A Word from the Wise Guy

Speaking Personally
(and if a man speaks
any other way shove
a pellet up his arse) beyond
a certain frequency the Sacred
is UNNECESSARY.

I have no precise memory
of the borrowed flesh
of the human form
—a condition of total exposure
tilting quixotically at NOTHING—
but in my psychic delirium
apparently I took notes:

Protoplasm Daddy
Step right up
and crank one in the Mother Cell;
there’s room for one
more back-brain baby—
shack up at your peril!

But it’s COLD OUTSIDE
and so nice-warm in here
with NAKED entities man and bestial
piled high on thermodynamic
tranquillizers, energizers, hallucinogens,
The Living Source and my own
special cure for the hourglass run-out
a spine like Fro-Zen TIME
approaching metabolic ZERO.

Tractacus Logico-Philosophicus:
How long will this trip last?
Mutatis mutandis:
As long as we can keep it going . . .

So Slow-DOWN dross eaters;
no mater how
you jerk
the handle the result is—

 

 

 

 

 

SCAR TO SCAR: A Collaborative Chapbook with Robbie Coburn

scar-to-scar-front-coverI’m thrilled to announce the publication of a new chapbook written in conjunction with my dear friend and stellar poet, Robbie Coburn. Scar to Scar was conceived when Robbie sent me a poem and I replied, in kind, with a poem I ‘found’ within his, re-ordering his original text as a form of poetic alchemy.

Our collaboration developed over the next few months, in part due to the impetus of Kit Kelen’s Project 365+1, which requires writers to publish a new poem every day for a month. Before we knew it, Robbie and I had enough poems to fill a small book, and so we did! The result is Scar to Scar, which has just been published by the excellent PressPress.

Thanks to Robbie for sharing his beautiful words with me, and to Chris Mansell, from PressPress, for publishing them. This book is very close to my heart and it’s wonderful to see it out in the world.

I’ll be doing an unofficial launch of Scar to Scar at The Wollongong Writers Festival this coming Sunday 27 November, as part of the Mad Poets Panel along with poets Tim Heffernan, Ariel Riveros Pavez, Alise Blayney, Phillip Page and David Stavanger.  It should be an amazing afternoon of poetry and performance!

You can find out more about those events here and purchase Scar to Scar from PressPress here. And to whet your appetite, here are the original pair of poems which started it all…


Scars

Robbie Coburn

within landscapes
sealed off   and positioning the body

you watch the breath enter the stilled atmosphere.

along the blade    poised
against your palm
where blood begins to run,
the framed nature of panic
is forgotten.

the wound is only preservation, remember.

when the skin begins to fail
blood draped along the decayed bone-lines
a pulse will run along the nerve ends.

you corner the vein and drive the object in again
finding a point of collapse —

with the same impulse the passage will lead you back.
for a while the red painted on your arm
feels distant
your body does not belong to you.

in this   there is

permanence.

 

Counter Scars

Michele Seminara 

the cry of my voice is enough

to collapse skin.

becoming survival
you cross    a passage
preservation wounds
forgotten.

the panic of blood
against blade along poised palm

stills.

my breath enters

your sealed

landscapes
within.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Reviews for Engraft

1engraft_cropped_cover_02-12-15-2I’ve been lucky to receive a number of very positive and thoughtful reviews of my poetry collection, Engraft: one by Mary Cresswell in Plumwood Mountain; another by Magdalena Ball in The Compulsive Reader; and a third, by Alyson Miller, in Cordite Poetry Review. My sincere thanks to the reviewers and to the editors of these excellent journals — Anne Elvey, Magdalena Ball and Kent MacCarter, respectively. Below is an extract from the Cordite review:

In ‘Sky Burial’, a poem about ‘the secrets inside / that we shamefully hide’, Seminara offers a provocation: ‘So listen / why don’t we share them? / Cut our guts open / and air them?’ It is an invitation to confession, but the visceral imagery is also a confrontation, an insistence on exposure which characterises much of Engraft, Seminara’s debut collection of poetry. Indeed, Engraft is often focussed on conflict and opposition, on a brutal pulling away of surfaces to reveal – and at times, even revel in – pain, loss, and confusion. The consequence of such fierceness is a series of uncomfortable realities: the cruelty of love and birth; the violence of frustration; and the disappointing failures of self. In cutting open that which is hidden, and allowing ‘birds of carrion’ to feed on what is found there, Seminara constructs a hopeful, albeit macabre vision, in which ‘dark feelings’ might ‘transmute […] to food’. This suggestion of transformation and consumption (and even of transubstantiation) is gothic in nature, yet an apt metaphor for creativity; a kind of vampiric leeching. Certainly, in explicitly drawing on poets such as Shakespeare, Dickinson, Plath, Hughes, Bishop, and Lowell, as well as Kafka, Duras, Solzhenitsyn, and Joyce, Engraft is both polyphonic and parodic, including letters, prayers, homages, re-mixes, erasures, ekphrases, and found poems. The combination of so many modes and voices ought to be jarring, yet a synthesis is achieved in a repetition with difference that is as concerned with tradition as it is renewal.

You can read the rest of the Cordite review here, and buy a print or ebook copy of Engraft here.

I Review The Special, by David Stavanger, for Mascara

the-special-674x1024Reviewing is a labour of love, and in this case the labour was a long one — elephantine in fact — nearly two years gestation! Thank heavens this review popped out in the end, of David Stavanger’s intriguing poetry collection, The Special:

 

This book is dedicated to the dead
who are bravely living
(and to those who wake wild-eyed in the dark)

 

So begins David Stavanger’s first full length collection, The Special, published by UQP as wining manuscript of the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. As the dedication suggests, this book is an unsettling read; one feels, intentionally so. The poems deal with what is dark and broken in the human psyche, informed, presumably, by the poet’s own personal and professional experiences with mental illness. This is Stavanger’s first serious foray into the world of ‘page’ as opposed to ‘performance’ poetry (a distinction he eschews), the leap between these two hotly fought over territories no doubt entailing a certain risk of the poems falling flat on the page. Yet while the book may, on first reading, appear somewhat stylistically and tonally ‘flat’, upon deeper reading it becomes clear that this has less to do with Stavanger’s poetry not transitioning well onto the page, and more to do with the nature of what the poet is trying to achieve. When exploring states of mind such as depression or psychosis, an emotionally disconnected, disjointed, or even dissociated style of poetry may indeed be the perfect mode of expression…

 

If this tickles your fancy, please read the rest over at the wonderful Mascara Literary Review, where you can also enjoy their latest issue comprising some of the finest writing in the land. A huge thanks to editor Michelle Cahill, who works hard to support the publication of a diverse range of Australian Literature.