Tuesday, March 31, 2009



When a definition of poetry is possible, it will signify poetry’s demise. Nevertheless, here are some definitions of poetry by poets:

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
Robert Frost

Poetry is like fish: if it’s fresh, it’s good; if it’s stale, it’s bad; and if you’re not certain, try it on the cat.
Osbert Sitwell

Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are along in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.
Dylan Thomas

Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.
Robert Frost

In a poem the words should be as pleasing to the ear as the meaning is to the mind.
Marianne Moore

In poetry you have a form looking for a subject and subject looking for a form. When they come together successfully you have a poem.

A poem should not mean, but be.
Archibald MacLeish

You will not find poetry anywhere unless you bring some of it with you.
Joseph Joubert

Poetry is language surprised in the act of changing into meaning.
Stanley Kunitz

Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art
Thomas Hardy

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking.
John Wain

Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.
Robert Frost

Only emotion endures.
Ezra Pound

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Yesterday afternoon, 2 to 4pm, Perth city was blocked off to traffic, anti-terrorist helicopters hovered over head, and security forces were on high alert for the first reading at the Perth Poetry Club at The Court Hotel. A string of police vehicles made their presence felt outside while the poets decimated flimsier aspects of Western society inside. Plain clothes detectives mingled in the bar beyond the amphitheatre area, variously disguised as persons of unfathomable reputes.

Den Mistress Janet Jackson and her sea-faring sidekick Helen Child plotted and planned the poetryscape, calling forth measured song from AnnaMaria Weldon, Kay Cairns, Sharon, Gabrielle Everall, Murray Jennings, a variety of other voices (whose names I couldn't catch), and myself as special guest.

Next week, the revolution continues with the Anti-Poet Allan Boyd gyrating through space and projecting syllables onto a thoroughly suspecting public. If you wish to see where poetry is going - down the gurgler or up the spout - come and have a beer at the Court while the poets lampoon the quotidian lives of Perth citizens.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Perth Poetry Club opens This Saturday at 2pm, 28 March 2009

Please support the beginning of this new poetry outlet in Perth. It should be a good venue and a strong entertainment element with Janet Jackson and Helen Child at the controls! Poetry, music and a bar - all with FREE entry. Bring your family and friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book Launch: Glen Phillips' Singing Granites & Shanghai Suite

Monday evening saw the launch of two books by the widely published poet, Glen Phillips. Planet Bookshop was the venue and its warehouse-style design always lends an earthy edge to such functions. From their cement floors with scattered rugs to the grandiose chandelier on the ceiling, the place seems just right for literary chat, far from the sterility of the book-chain outlets.

To launch Singing Granites, wheat belt born and bred poet John Kinsella did a clear job of defining the dissimilarities yet the vibrant connections between Glen Phillips and granites in the Australian landscape with Ann Born, English poet and her granites in the Devon landscape. Glen and John have worked together on various projects, and both have an affinity with the wheat belt area of Western Australia, so John's speech was both intimate with Glen's life and work, and illustrative of the literary themes of the book.

For all Glen's years as a teacher of literature and creative writing for students in Western Australia, his connections with China have grown a pace since he retired a couple of years back. He spends his time nowadays between The International Centre for Landscape and Language at Edith Cowan University and a Shanghai university. His second book launched on Monday evening was Shanghai Suite and Other Poems, a delightful little book published by the International Centre for Landscape and Language.

Professor Andrew Taylor, himself an internationally known Australian poet, launched this book by alluding to Glen's energy after his retirement - the fact that he could have simply rested after a life of teaching and creating opportunities for other writers in WA via writing centres, etc. But no, as Andrew pointed out, Glen has virtually started a new career by lecturing on Australian literature at the Shanghai University of Science and Technology. Andrew Taylor commented on the slightly different stylistic slant these poems have compared to the first book: they are certainly not copies of any Chinese style but they have an oblique imagery in them that seems to have come from the Chinese experience of the author.

The evening itself was a warm, wonderful night of friendship and literary gossip (none of which I am telling here!) I was lucky enough to introduce Jenny Davis, actor and theatre director, to a number of poets and friends, and it just went to show me the lack of connectivity between the various art forms in Perth. Jenny was there because she was playing host to Jennifer Compton, visiting Australian poet and playwright, whose latest play The Big Picture is on at the Subiaco Theatre Centre, staged by the Perth Theatre Company and Agelink, and directed by Jenny Davis.

I forgot my camera on the night, so the photos which accompany this small sketch have been generously donated by Sue Coughlan, poet, screenwriter and ex-convener and founder of The Poets'Corner.

HOT NEWS: Save The Kimberley Concert FRIDAY

John Butler and the Pigram Brothers will headline a free concert on Broome oval on Friday evening aimed at highlighting the cultural significance of Prices Point as the push to develop it as a gas processing hub continues.
The Walmadany Concert for Heritage - Walmadany being the Indigenous name for Prices Point - will also feature Midnight Oil's Rob Hirst and Goanna's Shane Howard. The concert will also host the reformation of legendary Broome group Scrap Metal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sonia Sanchez wins Creeley Award

African-American poetess ['poet' in Australian English] Sonia Sanchez, who infuses her verse with musical beats and performed at the inauguration, will receive the ninth annual Robert Creeley Award in the late poet's hometown of Acton.

"I'm greatly honored to receive this award, especially as it's given in memory of our dear brother Robert (Creeley)," said Sanchez from her home in Philadelphia where she serves as poet-in-residence at Temple University. "Creeley's idea of the poem as an act of responsibility moves me deeply."

more http://www.milforddailynews.com/books/x441466989/Philadelphia-poet-Sonia-Sanchez-to-be-honored-with-Robert-Creeley-Award-in-Acton

Monday, March 23, 2009

Free Poems - to Read around the world and to Hear in Berkeley

Knopf publishing house is continuing its annual tradition of sending out a free poem a day throughout Poetry Month [April] to anyone who cares to sign up on its Web site: http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/poetry/index.pperl

And over on the UC Berkeley campus, Pulitzer Prize-winning Berkeley poet and faculty member Robert Hass is hosting an out-of-the ordinary Lunch Poems event. The ongoing series presents poets in free readings at the Morrison Library the first Thursday of every month; the April 2 session at 12:10 p.m. in 101 Doe Library, however, will feature five women writers from Korea, all of whom will read their poetry in both English and their native tongue: Jeongrye Choi, Young Mi Choi, Hyesoon Kim, Hee-duk Ra and Chung-hee Moon. For more information, call 510-642-3671 [USA].

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shakespeare and Co in Paris

A view from inside the bookstore Shakespeare and Co in Paris [founded by Sylvia Beach many decades ago]. Photo by Toshio Kishiyama Flickr.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Perth Poetry Club opens 28 March 2009

In case you can't read the small print, I'll be the inaugural guest poet to launch the Perth Poetry Club, an initiative bravely taken on by local poets Helen Child and Janet Jackson. This is scheduled to be a Weekly event - ain't that great. So, get behind it. Stick posters up. Tell friends and colleagues. Lasso friends and relatives. Tell them lies if you have to, but get bums on seats. It's FREE, although donations will not be refused.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dirty, poorly dressed

On the dogs’ path, my soul came upon
my heart. Shattered, but alive,
dirty, poorly dressed, and filled with love.
On the dogs’ path, there where no one wants to go.
A path that only poets travel
when they have nothing left to do.
But I still had so many things to do!
And nevertheless, there I was: sentencing myself to death
by red ants and also
by black ants, traveling through the empty villages:
fear that grew
until it touched the stars.
A Chilean educated in Mexico can withstand everything,
I thought, but it wasn’t true.
At night, my heart cried. The river of being, chanted
some feverish lips I later discovered to be my own,
the river of being, the river of being, the ecstasy
that folds itself into the bank of these abandoned villages.
Mathematicians and theologians, diviners
and bandits emerged
like aquatic realities in the midst of a metallic reality.
Only fever and poetry provoke visions.
Only love and memory.
Not these paths or these plains.
Not these labyrinths.
Until at last my soul came upon my heart.
It was sick, it’s true, but it was alive.

Roberto Bolaño Ávalos
(April 28, 1953 — July 15, 2003)

Friday, March 13, 2009


Photo: Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Phillip Whalen, Naropa 1975.Photo by Rachel Homer

"First Thought is Best in Art, Second in Other Matters."
— William Blake

I Background (Situation, Or Primary Perception)

1. "First Thought, Best Thought" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
2. "Take a friendly attitude toward your thoughts." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
3. "The Mind must be loose." — John Adams
4. "One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception." — Charles Olson, "Projective Verse"
5. "My writing is a picture of the mind moving." — Philip Whalen
6. Surprise Mind — Allen Ginsberg
7. "The old pond, a frog jumps in, Kerplunk!" — Basho
8. "Magic is the total delight (appreciation) of chance." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
9. "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes." –– Walt Whitman
10. "...What quality went to form a man of achievement, especially in literature? ... Negative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." — John Keats
11. "Form is never more than an extension ofcontent. — Robert Creeley to Charles Olson
12. "Form follows function." — Frank Lloyd Wright*
13. Ordinary Mind includes eternal perceptions. — A. G.
14. "Nothing is better for being Eternal
15. Nor so white as the white that dies of a day." — Louis Zukofsky
Notice what you notice. — A. G.
16. Catch yourself thinking. — A. G.
17. Observe what’s vivid. — A. G.
18. Vividness is self-selecting. — A. G.
19. "Spots of Time" — William Wordsworth
20. If we don’t show anyone we’re free to write anything. –– A. G.
21. "My mind is open to itself." — Gelek Rinpoche
22. "Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound." — Charles Reznikoff

II Path (Method, Or Recognition)

23. "No ideas but in things." "... No ideas but in the Facts." — William Carlos Williams
24. "Close to the nose." — W. C. Williams
25. "Sight is where the eye hits." — Louis Zukofsky
26. "Clamp the mind down on objects." — W C. Williams
27. "Direct treatment of the thing ... (or object)." — Ezra Pound, 1912
28. "Presentation, not reference." — Ezra Pound
29. "Give me a for instance." — Vernacular
30. "Show not tell." — Vernacular
31. "The natural object is always the adequate symbol." — Ezra Pound
32. "Things are symbols of themselves." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
33. "Labor well the minute particulars, take care of the little ones.
He who would do good for another must do it in minute particulars.
General Good is the plea of the Scoundrel Hypocrite and Flatterer
34. For Art & Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars." — William Blake "And being old she put a skin / on everything she said." — W. B. Yeats
35. "Don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better." — Jack Kerouac
36. "Details are the Life of Prose." — Jack Kerouac
37. Intense fragments of spoken idiom best. — A. G.
38. "Economy of Words" — Ezra Pound
39. "Tailoring" — Gregory Corso
40. Maximum information, minimum number of syllables. –– A. G.
41. Syntax condensed, sound is solid. — A. G.
42. Savor vowels, appreciate consonants. — A. G.
43. "Compose in the sequence of musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome." — Ezra Pound
44. "... awareness ... of the tone leading of the vowels." — Ezra Pound
45. "... an attempt to approximate classical quantitative meters . . . — Ezra Pound
46. "Lower limit speech, upper limit song" — Louis Zukofsky
47. "Phanopoeia, Melopoeia, Logopoeia." — Ezra Pound
48. "Sight. Sound & Intellect." — Louis Zukofsky
49. "Only emotion objectified endures." — Louis Zukofsky

III Fruition (Result, Or Appreciation)

50. Spiritus = Breathing = Inspiration = Unobstructed Breath
51. "Alone with the Alone" — Plotinus
52. Sunyata (Sanskrit) = Ku (Japanese) = Emptiness
53. "What’s the sound of one hand clapping?" — Zen Koan
54. "What’s the face you had before you were born?" — Zen Koan
55. Vipassana (Pali) = Clear Seeing
56. "Stop the world" — Carlos Castafleda
57. "The purpose of art is to stop time." — Bob Dylan
58. "the unspeakable visions of the individual — J. K.
59. "I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to try to listen recklessly." — Chuang Tzu (Tr. Burton Watson)
60. "Candor" —Whitman
61. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." — W. Shakespeare
62. "Contact" — A Magazine, Nathaniel West & W. C. Williams, Eds.
63. "God appears & God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in Night.
But does a Human Form Display
64. To those who Dwell in Realms of Day." — W. Blake
"Subject is known by what she sees." -A. G.
65. Others can measure their visions by what we see. –– A. G.
66. Candor ends paranoia. — A. G.
67. "Willingness to be Fool." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
68. "Day & Night / you’re all right." — Gregory Corso
69. Tyger: "Humility is Beatness." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche & A. G.
70. Lion: "Surprise Mind" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche &A.G.
71. Garuda: "Crazy Wisdom Outrageousness" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
72. Dragon: "Unborn Inscrutability" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
73. "To be men not destroyers" — Ezra Pound
74. Speech synchronizes mind & body — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
75. "The Emperor unites Heaven & Earth" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
76. "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world" — Shelley
77. "Make it new" — Ezra Pound
78. "When the music changes, the walls of the city shake" — Plato
79. "Every third thought shall be my grave — W Shakespeare, The Tempest
80. "That in black ink my love may still shine bright." –– W. Shakespeare, Sonnets
81. "Only emotion endures" — Ezra Pound
82. "Well while I’m here I’ll
do the work —
and what’s the Work?
To ease the pain of living.
Everything else, drunken
83. dumbshow." — A. G. "... Kindness, sweetest of the small notes in the world’s ache, most modest & gentle of the elements entered man before history and became his daily connection, let no man tell you otherwise." — Carl Rakosi
84. "To diminish the mass of human and sentient sufferings." — Gelek Rinpoche

Naropa Institute, July 1992
New York, March 5, 1993
New York, June 27, 1993

* Quoting his mentor; Louis Sullivan.

Allen Ginsberg "Mind Writing Slogans" copyright © 1992, 1993 by Allen Ginsberg, in What Book: Buddha Poems From Beat To Hiphop, Gary Gach, ed., copyright © 1998 by Gary Gach. Parallax Press.

For more go to http://www.elephantjournal.com/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


14 and 28 March, 10am - 4pm

Bring multiple copies of 3 poems, writing materials and lunch. Morning & afternoon tea are provided.

Exceptional, supporting yet challenging, showing (and earning) respect, a privilege to attend this leader’s workshop; serendipity but fabulous; contributed very generously ­ great value for money;I got more from two days with Les’ workshop than I did over a postgraduate year at university

One of the best-known poetry workshop templates in Australia. OK, you write and are starting to think it may be better if your work gets out there into a wider world, on to the next level. This is for you, all styles, all ages. Les' workshops are known for their constructive and friendly orientation. This workshop will have an emphasis on the nuts and bolts of establishing a poetry audience. A key component of the two days will be traditional workshopping where 3 of each participant's poems are discussed (don't worry, it's not intimidating, we just work together to make a good thing a little better). But this won't be all that's covered. Participants will benefit greatly from applying insider's hints on how the poetry scene works. Poems are examined with a view to finding outlets that fit your style .... all in addition to intensive editorial feedback. Other topics include running your own projects, taking up opportunities offered by the internet and, of course, getting your book published. Everyone who so wishes will have their poems published in an established internet magazine. Experience has shown this approach is highly effective… combining practical information with an artistic dialogue among peers over a solid block of time.

LES WICKS is widely published both in Australia and overseas, an accessible poet with 8 collections to his name. He's been involved in dozens of editing projects over his 30 years as a writer and has done his popular workshops from Hobart to Byron Bay to Broken Hill..

Tom Collins House, Swanbourne

Enquiries, bookings ring 9384 4771. FAWWA Members: $75; non-members: $85.


Website: website@fawwa.org.au

Les Wicks


8th book of poetry "The Ambrosiacs"

is now available from the author


or via Island Press


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rafferty's Rules

Whilst researching for something 'completely different', I found this at http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv207.html and thought I'd share it with you. Reason? Who needs a reason?

Rafferty's Rules

Sometimes it seemed W. GlennDuncan's Texas P.I. Rafferty had a rule for everything, but the fact remains that most of them were a hoot. And, of course, a further irony is that "Rafferty's Rules" is in fact an Australian football term for "no rules at all."

So, without any further adieu, here are Rafferty's Rules, as compiled from the six books (the book they appeared in originally is listed in brackets, if I happened to have noted it at the time), all numbered for your convenience. Or at least that was the game plan. Unfortunately, numbers apparently aren't Rafferty's strong suit -- he skips some numbers and sometimes assigns the same number to two or more different rules (he's particularly fond of #34, it seems). But hey, he's a P.I., not an accountant. And he's a damn good P.I.

2. Be lucky. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
3. If you're going to be stupid, see rule number two. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
3. When all else fails, sit on your duff and await good news... (there were evidently two number threes).
5. If a client can afford it, he -- or she -- pays top dollar.
6. Don't forget the money.
7. Anxious clients who smile too much are usually trouble.
8. The client has to say out loud what he wants me to do. (Rafferty's Rules)
8. When in doubt, raise hell and see who complains about the noise. (Last Seen Alive)
9. Dull won't balance the checkbook.
11. Don't worry about what's right, worry about what's possible.
11. To feel really dumb, be a smart ass once too often. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
12. Selling people is antisocial.
13. Get the money up front.
16. When you can't tell the bad guys from the good guys, it's time to get the hell out. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
17. Never take a client at face value.
18. Ribs should be eaten naked.
21. Grow up and grow old.
22. Don't skulk. You can get away with anything if you act like you're supposed to be doing it.
23. You show me a man who always "fights fair" and I'll show you a man who loses too often.
27. In one way or another, every client lies. (Even Rafferty isn't sure if this is #27 or not.)
28. Hot coffee and nudity don't mix. If you spill, it hurts.
33. Always obey your friend, the police man.
34. Sometimes good luck accomplishes more than hard work. (Rafferty's Rules)
34. When in doubt, dodge. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
34. Clients always hold back something back. (Last Seen Alive)
35. If a client appears to be telling you everything, see rule #34. (Last Seen Alive)
39. Smiting the wicked sounds biblical, but mostly it's good clean fun.
41. When someone mentions how good something "could" be, they're really telling me how lousy that something is.
47. Wear steel-toed boots when kicking people on their bony parts.

Monday, March 09, 2009

South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Durban, 3rd day

New Australian opening Test batsman, Philip Hughes, scores his second century in this ongoing Test against South Africa. The players there and their media gave Hughes a tough time of it during his first Test, so now they must eat their words as a side salad to a generous helping of humble pie >g<

The 2009 NZPS International Poetry Competition

The 2009 New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition closes on 31 May and all entries must be received by that date.

Please read the competition rules carefully before submitting your entry. All rules must be complied with in order for your entry to be considered, and disqualified entries will not have fees refunded. If your entry arrives after 31 May it will be considered for inclusion in our annual anthology, but will not be read by the judges, and entry fees will not be refunded.

The competition rules can be read and downloaded below, and entry forms can also be downloaded. The forms are in pdf format, and if you have any problem opening or downloading them, please contact the Competition Secretary at competition@poetrysociety.org.nz to have them sent to you as Word documents.

You can also receive paper copies of the rules and entry forms by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to:

The Competition Secretary
PO Box 5283
Wellington 6145

The 2009 judges are:

Michael Harlow - Open Section

Sue Wootton - Open Junior Section

Tony Chad - Haiku Section

Linzy Forbes - Haiku Junior Section

We look forward to receiving your entries, and wish you luck in the competition.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors, Community Post.

Competition Rules - Open and Junior Open Section:

(Haiku and Junior Haiku rules are available by clicking on the link below.)

• All entries are to be the original work of the entrant, and may not have been previously published, broadcast on radio or TV, or awarded any prize or payment.

• We do not classify poems appearing on author blogs or personal websites, or posted by the author to newsgroups or online workshops, as previously published. We do classify poems appearing in online or print magazines as previously published. If you are unsure about the publication standing of a particular poem, please query before submitting.

• The author’s name must be recorded only on the entry form. Submissions bearing a name or any other form of identification on the poem page will be disqualified and entry fees will not be returned.

• Entries must be in English and typed or very clearly handwritten on one side only of the page, one poem per page.

• Number of entries is unlimited. Poems may be up to 40 lines.

• Please enclose two copies of each poem, each on a separate sheet of paper.

• Entries will not be returned but will be destroyed, so please keep a copy.

• Poems must not be submitted elsewhere before 31 August 2009, by which time entrants will be notified if their poems have won or been accepted for publication in our anthology.

• Entry constitutes acceptance of all terms herein.

Open Section Prizes: 1st prize NZ$500, 2nd prize NZ$200, 3rd prize NZ$100.

Entry fee is NZ$5 per poem; NZ$4 per poem for NZPS members.

Open Junior Section Prizes (Open only to entrants who are 17 years of age or younger on 31 May 2008.) First Prize: NZ$200. Primary/Intermediate: 1st runner-up: NZ$100, 2nd runner-up NZ$50; Secondary: 1st runner-up NZ$150, 2nd runner-up NZ$100.

Entry fee is NZ$2 per poem. Please do not send coins; you can send 4 x 50c stamps per poem.

Overseas entries are welcomed in both sections.

Fees may be paid by cheque, in cash at your own risk, or by IRC (worth NZ$2 each, available from post offices). Overseas entrants may pay the NZ$ equivalent in their own currency (see www.xe.com for exchange rate). Please do not send coins of any currency. No change or overpayments of less than $5 will be refunded.

Results will be published in our bimonthly magazine, posted on our website, emailed by request, or enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SSAE) with your entry.

Publication: All poems entered must be made available for publication in an anthology to be published by the NZPS in November 2009. Entrants will be notified by 31 August 2009 if their poems have won or been accepted for publication. NZPS has the right of first publication of all poems accepted for the anthology.

Promotion: Winners consent to the use of their poems for promotional purposes by the NZPS including but not limited to our website, brochure, and magazine.

Copyright in individual poems will remain with the poet, but copyright in any book produced by The New Zealand Poetry Society Inc will remain with the NZPS.

All entry forms and rules & conditions available through: http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/about2009competition

Entries MUST BE RECEIVED by: 31 May 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

foam:e #6 online now

Two of my poems appear at http://www.foame.org/Issue6/poems/burke.html Please visit and then read on - a wide collection of Australian poets in foam:e's clear and attractive format.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's not new, but it's fun ... Fibonacci poetry

Fibonacci poetry is a literary form based on the Fibonacci number sequence. The sequence begins like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. In order to find the next number in the sequence, you add the two preceding numbers. The sum of these two is the next number, which then is added to the one before it to get to the next number, and so on. This is how it works:

1 + 0 = 1
1 + 1 = 2
2 + 1 = 3
3 + 2 = 5
5 + 3 = 8
8 + 5 = 13
13 + 8 = 21

The Fibonacci sequence appears often in nature as the underlying form of growing patterns. For example, conch shells and sunflowers follow the pattern as they grow in a spiral formation that increases as it moves outward.

More to be learnt at http://poetry.about.com/od/poeticforms/a/fibonaccipoems.htm?nl=1

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

as the dove flies

dove on
the grey roof's

before palm fronds
waving in a white cloud

turns as if
the breeze has pushed
her crest

flies solo
to the setting sun

Monday, March 02, 2009

John Kinsella, Meg McKinlay & David Brooks @ Perth Writers Festival

As a young man, I was passionate about poetry - the history of it (or them - researching poets one by one), the reading of it, the writing of it, the sharing of it ... but life and making a living etc etc and so forth have taken the edge off, and the constant and widespread applause for the other writing forms, from novels to screenplays, has all gone a long way toward taking more glitter off. But then I hear a couple of good readings, I talk poetry and poetics with other poets, I see an audience thrilled and moved by poems spoken in a public place, and I am hooked again.

This year's Perth Writers Festival has played host to a few of my favourite Australian poets, people I'm proud to call friends: Robert Adamson, David Brooks and John Kinsella. A new face to me was Mark Tredinnick, and a quiet man in the crowd was Philip Mead. No women, you cry? Well, Meg McKinlay read and Tracy Ryan was also involved, but as a novelist.

In today's session, Kinsella, McKinlay and Brooks read, chaired by another poet, Dennis Haskell.

John read from his version of Divine Comedy: Journeys through a Regional Geography. His voice suffered from the flu he was carrying, but his stage presence was enough to win the audience. Here's a taste, a Sub-Paradiso poem, Mushrooms:

It has rained enough for mushrooms to emerge,
to crack open the still crusty soil and platform their heads,
gazebos of dark and gilled orchestras

Ah, nowhere near enough, but get the book and enjoy it yourself - Divine Comedy, UQP 2008. You can also read more samples at http://poems.com/poem.php?date=14138

From 410 pages of John to Meg McKinlay's 52 page chapbook, Cleanskin, the baton change over was amazing and amusing. Meg's easy confident manner and humble performance won the crowd over in a different way than John - it was a wonderful example of the many sides of poetry. Her witty intros also helped knit the poems into a delightful sequence. Here are the final lines of In China, a poem about expecting to find and finding at least one poem in a two week visit to that exotic civilisation:

Is this what it takes, to find
the poems of away -
a first sight of home?
And so I begin.

After Meg, the dramatic sight of David Brooks: shaved head, moustache and brush beard, dressed in black. David's approach was more the classic stance of the contemporary poet, if that's not too much of a clash: he spoke clearly and elegantly to the microphone, and drew the audience in with a performance that was intimate in such a public room. His poems were all love poems from his new collection The Balcony, UQP 2008. (It was medium range length at 120 pages, btw, if you were counting.) I have met his wife, Teja, and can vouch for this accurate picture of her:

She's still at the age
where she thinks that she's immortal,
smokes too much,
drives too fast,
has the patience
of spilt quicksilver ...

Love in many disguises, or should I say, many guises, came through this poetry reading today, and served to extend the enormous poetry rush I had yesterday from Robert Adamson's reading (mainly from The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems, Black Inc. 2008)

Such a pair of days gives me the push to write more, to read more, to eulogise more - but first, I must walk the dog. While I walk, you find a poem you like and read it aloud, letting the wind carry it to others to share your joy.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Perth Writers Festival 2009 @ UWA Crawley Campus

Barry Maitland, David Brooks
and Michael Meehan discussing 'Peeling back the Layers' at the first morning session. Then two pictures of the crowd, small to start with, on a Sunday morn. The panel discussing poetry (top photo) were Joanna Featherstone, Robert Adamson and Mike Tredinnick.

One more day to go, including sessions with James McBride and Sebastian Barry. One of particular interest to me is Lyrical Voices, with readings by David Brooks, John Kinsella and Meg McKinlay. 11am in the Dolphin Theatre.