Monday, 31 October 2011
Since May I have been editing a small word-of-mouth online magazine called Five Poetry Journal. Issue 4 was released today (see: http://fivepoetryjournal.tumblr.com).
The aim of Five Poetry Journal is to showcase five poets five times a year. I wanted the journal to remain free of ‘bells and whistles’ so that the poems could speak for themselves. Another objective was to include poetry from poets of diverse backgrounds and experience. Ideally this meant sharing poetry from both hemispheres and in the first four issues work from Australia, Ireland, England, Scotland and the US have been included. I aim to cover more ground as each issue unfolds.
For those interested in submitting work for consideration please check the Submission Guidelines at http://fivepoetryjournal.tumblr.com/guidelines.
Issue 4 includes the work of Michael H Brownstein (USA), Mick Corrigan (Ireland and Crete), Adam Crothers (Northern Ireland and England), Judith R Robinson (USA) and Jessica Raschke (Australia), and is loosely framed around the notion of Oíche Samhna and Día de los Muertos, of commemoration and keeping an open dialogue with (and about) the mysteries.
Some people enjoy this time of year and have a lot of fun with Halloween while others consider it a bit of a con. Needless to say we live with the knowledge of the past and present every day of our lives. Because of this I will leave you with a quote from one of Scotland's finest poets:
A guest is as good as a ghost at this time,
at the hinge of the year when the gap
between the shades and the shadowed is just
-- Robin Robertson (from Samhain)
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
I laid myself down and slept on the map of Europe,
It creaked and pulled all night and when I rose
In a wide hall to the light of a thundery afternoon
The dreams had bent my body and fused my bones
And a note buzzed over and again and tuned for the night.
-- Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (from Curtain)
Image: Madonna and Child (detail) by Bernardino Luini
Monday, 24 October 2011
There are no forensic tests for poetry, in the sense that there are for musicians. It's obvious that if I can't pass Grade Five there's no point in booking the Wigmore Hall. But who can prescribe the skills I must achieve before I publish a poem? Who is to devise the exercises, the examinations? No doubt it is depressing enough to be dedicated to an art such as music or dance, which puts you through a long, rigorous training and then at a certain point may say: Sorry, this is as far as you get -- this is your level. But at least within a certain broad band of knowing, you know where you are. A poet like Auden, on the other hand -- a poet so abundantly stocked with ideas -- claimed never to finish a poem without the dreadful sense that he would never write again. My own experience is quite the opposite: when I am lucky enough to complete a poem, I imagine that I shall now be able to repeat the trick two or three times over. It is only later, as the wake of the excited passion recedes, that I realise I'm in for another long wait.
-- James Fenton (from Mistakes people make about poetry)
Friday, 21 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Monday, 17 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season
-- WS Merwin (from To This May)
Image: Heart poster by Ork Posters
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Monday, 10 October 2011
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Felicity Plunkett’s Thirty Australian Poets is now available at all good bookstores. This anthology includes a selection of poets born in 1968 and beyond – me being one of them. It’s a lovely thing to have Lisa Gorton to the left of me and Sarah Holland-Batt to the right. I am in very good company with Bronwyn Lea, Samuel Wagan Watson and Judith Bishop (to name but a few) among these pages. For more details please see www.readings.com.au/product/9780702239144/felicity-plunkett-ed-thirty-australian-poets.