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In Australia, especially on the east coast, the color blue is inescapable. The sky is a deeper, wider blue than you will find almost anywhere else, mirrored by the blue of the ocean and harbors around which almost all life takes place. It’s a blue that’s used to sell the country to international tourists; a blue that facilitates our “sunny” national character. We have bluebottles, blue-tongue lizards, and the deadly blue-ringed octopus. The size and intensity of the blue sky can be overwhelming: I remember once returning home to Sydney from a lengthy visit to northern Europe and feeling both supercharged by the expanse of light and color, and also somehow claustrophobic by the sheer distances this blue suggested. “the sky’s huge blue hand pressed / against the windows” is how Ella Jeffery captures this paradox of feeling penned in by a vastness of sky. “A History of Blue” opens with the “Brainscan blue” of the pre-dawn sky, a slight nod to Eliot’s etherized evening, and goes on to offer a compendium of some of the most surprising and compelling ways one can describe a color. The “drowsy” blue of the grandfather’s tattoo is my favorite; you can almost see the old, fading blue-ink yawning and sliding down the skin as if slinking into bed. Ella Jeffery’s debut collection of poems, Dead Bolt (2020), won the Puncher & Wattmann Prize for a First Book of Poems and the Anne Elder Award. She is a recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award and her poetry has appeared widely in journals and anthologies. A History of Blue Brainscan blue of the horizon’s edge before dawn. That is the blue of indecision. Five blue lights blinking the plane through metaldust sky while the Pacific lilts like aquarium-plastic around some humid or hypothermic blue latitude. Look closer. Here’s Stradbroke Island in shades of blue-ringed octopus, blackblue crabs on rocks like moving bruises. Drowsy blue of my teetotal grandfather’s tattoo and the blue book of his brain that remembers all birds by their Latin names. Blue guts of swimming pools, blue-tongues scrummed in one shady corner. First and last: the sky’s huge blue hand pressed against the windows. “The Blue” illustrates two of John Forbes’ greatest talents as a poet. The first is his ability to take the transcendent and reduce it down to the domestic and routine in an image that perfectly reflects back to us the banality of modern life. In this case, it is the blue of Sydney which is “built-in like / a modern appliance / at my fingertips” suggesting that the color’s sheer accessibility cheapens its effect. The second is the propulsion the poem gathers and where Forbes chooses to interrupt it. Reading the poem aloud, we are thrust irresistibly forward until an anticlimax arrives with the lines “I can’t mix up love / with the weather & / feel better,” wherein a pause occurs and we are allowed to gather our breath, only to be launched... Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at The Best American Poetry
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Here are two poems, "Stendhal Syndrome" and "Fugal State," from Canberra based poet Melinda Smith, both taken from her most recent collection Man-Handled (2020). Smith won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call. Stendhal syndrome is a curious phenomenon in which a person suffers dysautonomic symptoms, such as tremors and fainting, in the presence of works of art. Reading about the condition reminded me of the great opening passage of Ben Lerner’s novel Leaving the Atocha Station, in which the narrator watches a man crying in front of Roger Van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross in the Prado, and wonders if the man is having a “profound experience of art.” The narrator, a poet, worries that he is incapable of having such an experience, and is deeply suspicious of anyone who claims they can: “Insofar as I was interested in the arts, I was interested in the disconnect between my experience of actual artworks and the claims made on their behalf; the closest I’d come to having a profound experience of art was probably the experience of this distance, the profound experience of the absence of profundity.” The speaker of Smith’s “Stendhal syndrome” takes this skepticism as the consensus position and, in disbelief of her own experience, claims an exception. The fact that she is arguing her case to a judge suggests there is a kind of failing in allowing oneself to be so affected by art, a slouching of our modern, permanently ironized, posture. It’s interesting to consider where the guilt arises from: is it too indulgent an act to submit so fully to an artwork? Or, perhaps, are such experiences only available to rubes and philistines, and to admit to one would be to admit to one’s own lack of sophistication? Stendhal syndrome Swooning is so 1817. But I can say truthfully, it happened, this century, in the Uffizi. It happened. Tears, even. I know. I thought I was past that. I thought we all were. Everyone cringes at words like transport, ecstasy. I was drunk, your honour, drunk on paint - no, drunk on charcoal and paper, those only. Or the echo of prayer. Struck dumb and ringing like a cuffed head, a bell, a gong, trembling, concussed, a pulsing tuning fork, thrumming the same note as all the others, overcome by the marks of the master's hand, this last sketch too much, the straw, just grey and black on yellowed paper, just perfect love, caught, still breathing, one radiant face among thousands, full-on felling me still The following are two definitions of Fugue taken from the Oxford dictionary: Music a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts. Psychiatry a loss of awareness of one's identity, often coupled with flight from one's usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy. In “Fugal State,” Smith... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Here’s some magic from Lionel Fogerty’s latest collection Harvest Lingo (Giramondo, 2022) which won the Judith Wright Calanthe Award for Poetry at the 2023 Queensland Literary Awards. Fogarty must be among the most unique voices writing in English language poetry today—his use of syntax and the way he disorders established lexical categories (“No hidden child backward growing up / gains my learned on the road sky”) compels us to concentrate on each line so thoroughly that they seem to exist in isolation of each other, like islands in an atoll which are only connected in the mind of the cartographer or reader of maps. Fogarty's syntax creates new compositions in English language, with previously unheard combinations of sounds and rhythms—a new music. John Kinsella, writing in Overland magazine, suggests there are at least three ways to a Fogarty poem: “One way is via lines of list-words in which words undo each other through juxtaposition and add up to an immensity. Another way through the staccato interrupting of English’s flow to make us concentrate on the impact of each word as colonial toxin. And yet another, and maybe most vitally, is reading with a flow, taking these other factors into consideration, and letting them sing their ghost tracks, samizdat, and cultural communiques that are not for all ears (to hear what you don’t hear and possibly can’t hear).” “Intruder Wants the Writer”, which opens Harvest Lingo, lends itself particularly well to all three of Kinsella’s suggested approaches. I will hopefully have more on Lionel Fogarty soon, so stay tuned. Intruder Wants the Writer To write as a child to be a man No boxes of childhood voice my present, writing details. No hidden child backward growing up gains my learned on the road sky. Future’s song dance lit pen friends for me in evenings Not one sort of personal fireworks voice, gave rise to the now existence dared. Reluctance response by these ages, Spare me not remorseful teenage pandemonium. Pare her tempest defiant with red yellow brown ochre. Breathe well inside the walls of rooms helplessly undecided. No baby’s cries touch my raiment saddest crutch lost of mum’s death. Those life survivals by childhood happenings are snapped by swine trample readership. Embellishing more than needed. Note: All posts by Thomas Moody are copyright (c) 2024 by Thomas Moody. All rights reserved Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Bruce Beaver (1928-2004) has been called one of Australia’s “least known great poets” by Dorothy Porter and a “poet’s poet” by Timothy Schapcott. The two epithets reference the same quality: that of a poet who was underappreciated by the wider reading public but whose importance to contemporary Australian poetry has never been questioned by those readers who, perhaps, matter most: poets themselves. Beaver published thirteen collections of poetry over the course of his life, winning almost every major Australian literary award. His fourth book of poems, Letters to Live Poets (1969), was a seminal collection, groundbreaking in both its form and style. Beaver’s conversational, epistolary voice, at once personal and worldly, was entirely new for Australian poetry. As Schapcott writes,”Nothing like this had been written in Australia before.” Beaver was central to Australian poetry’s development towards more expansive horizons as both a poet and mentor. He was one of the original board members in 1964 of the highly influential journal Poetry Australia, which, with its embrace of international movements and openness to experimentation, was at the vanguard of poetry in Australia for over a decade. Throughout his life, Beaver’s apartment in the beachside Sydney suburb of Manly, which he shared with his wife and was built on the ruins of his childhood home, was a welcoming meeting place for younger writers and poets. Despite his waning health in his later years, Beaver continued to publish his poetry, with his final collection, aptly titled The Long Game and Other Poems (2005), sent to his publisher, University of Queensland Press, just before his death. October 1999 Got my gal, got my Lord, got my song Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward It’s come! Spring’s second month with hot and cold days and the last October in two thousand years. This time the fin de siecle’s crazier than even the frogs could imagine, even though they invented nutty ends of centuries. This time more bombs, earthquakes, floods, droughts, gun-murders as well as more pink and white blossoms in the perfectly sane streets, full of not-so-sane human beings. But most of them are in love, including me because we’re still alive enough and the weather’s warming up. It’s like the Old Testament: great poetry, lousy theology and a God – damned God – Still there’s the Lord to come in the New Millennium and this new Spring. Blossoms and bombs. Every Spring’s mad with love and wars, babies and murderers. And if you think I’m not going to keep on chanting about it, you’re nuttier than the century’s end. Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Part 1. of Jarad Bruinstroop’s triptych, “Pool Sweet, 2019”, is charged with risk and tempered by an understated bathos. Drawing associations between the Transfiguration of Jesus, one of the New Testament’s most important miracles and a major Christian feast day, and David Hockney’s Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool, is exciting, transgressive and, the poem proposes, suitably inadequate. Hockney’s painting is “less mesmerising” and “less glorious” than the Transfiguration, and this deficiency prevents us access to notions as sublime and aspirational as “heaven” and “the future." In Hockney's painting we are inescapably in the material present, but, the poem confirms, “This is how it should be.” The poem’s brilliance lies in its suggestive power; it is rich with potential allusions. When we consider Hockney’s nude Peter getting out of the pool as a substitute for the Transfiguration, we not only think about sexual desire as divine and the potential for the naked human figure to be holy, but also the Apostle Peter: in the lines “To get out of a pool / is to capitulate / to gravity”, Bruinstroop seems to invert the story of St. Peter, who, while walking on water in imitation of Christ, sinks because of his wavering faith. In the closing stanza, Bruinstroop calls to mind the ritual of Christian baptism. Jarad Bruinstroop is a writer who lives in Meanjin (Brisbane). His debut poetry collection, Reliefs, won the 2022 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. As the 2022 University of Queensland Fryer Library Creative Writing Fellow, he is developing a novella cycle that draws on Brisbane’s Queer history and the Fryer Library special collections. In 2023, he won the Val Vallis Award. His work has appeared in Best of Australian Poetry, Meanjin, Overland, HEAT, Island, Westerly, TEXT, Cordite, Australian Poetry Journal, Rabbit and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from QUT where he also teaches. From “Pool Sweet, 2019” After David Hockney’s Peter Getting out of Nick’s Pool (1966) 1. Peter Floating (1998). Watercolour on acetate. If instead of trudging after Jesus up the mountain, St James had sat in a dark art classroom and watched the procession of masterpieces until he saw Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool projected on the wall, the light would have been less mesmerising. No more a flash of lightning than a match struck. And the glory, oh the glory, would have been a good deal less glorious. They wouldn't call it the Transfiguration and nobody would speak about heaven or the future. This is as it should be. To get out of a pool is to capitulate to gravity. But to get in. To get into a pool Is to put your faith In the water Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Lucy Dougan’s “Leonie” speaks to the strange charisma that inanimate objects can assume over time when they share our space with us. A sculpture of an anonymous artist’s model, after living with the family for decades, suffering “endless room changes, / the tectonic jolts of whole-house moves”, becomes almost sacred to the speaker. Having borne witness to so much of the family’s life, the “many rows and unkind words” and “also good times, rafts of regrettable TV”, the speaker develops an intimacy with the figure that is itself familial, bordering on the erotic: “If I were rendered blind I would know / your lightly pitted cheekbones, / your brow line, your rough underside”. The sculpture is, of course, brought to life not by any innate animation it possesses, but by the memories the speaker and her family have imbued it with, and this artificial nature offers it a lifespan that is greater than their own, meaning that it can be a reservoir for these memories for longer than they themselves can. It is this dual character, at once familiar and extraordinary (the speaker's intimacy with the statue is interrupted by its headache-inducing epoxy resin), that inject these objects with their eerie presence. The figure, outliving the speaker’s parents, becomes uncannily totemic of them: “Stranger, stay with us, / watch over us, / never leave us.” “Leonie” is taken from Dougan’s most recent collection of poems, Monster Field (Giramondo, 2022). The title refers to “the mysterious zone surrealist artist Paul Nash’s called ‘Monster Field’: the place glimpsed from a car at speed, which opens up a space between the everyday and the occult as it ‘almost slides past our eyes’.” Monster Field is Dougan’s seventh book of poems. Her third collection, The Guardians (Giramondo, 2015) was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry, and won the 2016 West Australian Premier’s Poetry Award. Dougan lives in Perth, where she is poetry editor of Westerly Magazine. Leonie Paid artists' model, your face has lived with the family for decades. You have suffered endless room changes, the tectonic jolts of whole-house moves yet you remain sanguine. Your hairstyle has weathered the years and the many rows and unkind words you have presided over, also good times, rafts of regrettable TV. If I were rendered blind I would know your lightly pitted cheekbones, your brow line, your rough underside and slight headache-inducing scent of epoxy resin in which a finger could snag a glassy splinter of what it is you keep inside the void of your cast. I cannot see you as empty for in your hollow head lives the clamour of us all. And something else, you still abide with us even though our mother and father are dead and gone. Stranger, stay with us, watch over us, never leave us. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Kate Middelton’s recently published book length poem Television (Giramando) is an emotional survey of the poet’s tv watching history. Both in its form and compositional approach, the poem owes much to A.R. Ammons’s Garbage. As Middleton writes in the book’s notes, “Re-reading Garbage, I was struck by the fact that in taking garbage as his subject Ammons could include everything. As I began to write about television, I wondered if the same might be true of this subject.” Television, like garbage, does include everything, however, everything has to pass through the very specific medium of television to be included, with its unique peculiarities and predilections. Divided into thirty-three cantos (Inferno, Purgatorio or Paradiso?) of unrhymed couplets, Television embraces and investigates these peculiarities; at times the poem prosecutes tv’s preference for scandal and the sentimental, it’s (corrupting) influence and ability to distort (particularly in the poet’s teenage memories of watching Beverly Hills 90210 and Twin Peaks, “the autopsy / on Laura an autopsy on girlhood”), while at other moments extols it’s virtues, however flawed: “television, / you are spiritual: teach attention and inattention in equal measure”. Notice Middleton’s deft use of the colon, borrowed from Ammons, as a means of “linking the disparate but coexisting, and so staving off completion”, as Mark Ford wrote. Kate Middleton is a Melbourne based poet whose collections include Fire Season, which was awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry in 2009, Ephemeral Waters and Passage. In 2020 she was runner up for the Australian Book Review’s Calibre Essay Award. From "Television" 6. I want to celebrate Astro, the robot boy I loved, his Pinocchio ache, a moment's solace that time he found a robot girlfriend: incandescent eyes at last find eyes to beam right back: and him fallen in, into, unprogrammed love: but soon the complication revealed, its violence: his robot girlfriend not just another robot but, also, a bomb, the bomb, the one he needs to find, defuse, and his girlfriend sacrificed: a higher pathos: so: her body on a table, disassembled, redeemed, everyone but her saved, (a celebration,) except the robot boy and his lonely deathlessness: did he understand time's passage in a different way, its metronomic tick echoing in his ever-childish body?: did he understand the replaceable, Argonautic parts of himself as his own, as bodily integrity, autonomy?: for all his griefs, there's that final shot—a wink, a playful secret: Astro tells us, his audience, his only confidantes, he kept her legs, which, non-explosive, did not require sacrifice: and he caresses his own thighs, calves, and we understand it: her legs, shared legs, now his legs, no rejection of the transplant, no foreign tissue, instead a flawless interchangeability, the comfort of this particular inheritance incalculable: I recapped the scene to the boy at the video store counter, our own private form of payment for my late fee, as if it were just gross and not wondrous as well: and, to me this transplant only feels complete years later, its longing for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Congratulations to Grace Yee who last week won Australia’s richest literary prize, the Victorian Prize for Literature, for her debut collection Chinese Fish (Giramondo, 2023). The collection traces the story of an immigrant family from Hong Kong living in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. The judges comments noted that Chinese Fish “focuses on women’s experience; particularly, how migration tests the relationship between a mother and her daughter. (Yee) tells this story with sparkling humour, wit, and stylistic verve, while paying sustained attention to historical circumstance – particularly everyday racism and the discriminatory government policies which affected Chinese migrants.” In “to paint like picasso before 1904”, first published in Overland in 2019, Yee’s “sparkling humour, wit, and stylistic verve” are on full display, along with a beguiling mix of registers switched so seamlessly and effectively, it is near impossible to get one's bearings within the poem. In "to paint like picasso before 1904", Yee takes from us our sealegs so she can more easily steer us through the urgent and the absurd until we arrive, implausibly, at the poem's title. to paint like picasso before 1904 there is a species of tavern where drinkers make disparaging remarks about chinese immigrants. it is patronised by a squadron of pirates of otherwise sweet temperament, who truck their goods with whomever they please. baring dog-yellow teeth, they sit in plastic fold-up chairs in cheap t-shirts designed by europeans unmolested in canton. each ship at the bar plays furiously, leaving a trail of wild colonial girls cruelly strangled after the first wash. in the wake of their missionary grandmothers, the risk these women take is calculated on trigonometrical principles. female players have the option of wearing cones so they don’t get kissed for no reason. everyone looks for their partners online these days, including an entire class of whining feminists for whom postpartum incontinence has never been a problem, but who nonetheless kegel jade eggs at every opportunity. it’s hard for these women not to feel violated by the knowledge that their dna is half-man, but the smarter chicks check their purses of emotional labour in (the taverns’) tiny grimy bathrooms and suspend intercourse by returning to campus via the victorian roads. in high pollen weather, with abscesses fit to burst, they heroically collaborate in their efforts to arrest the flames. after years of feckless liaisons, some of these women set sail for the orient. landing in the earl’s court, they feel secure in their portion of comparatively uncontaminated empire. with contempt in equal parts for men and aliens silently stoning their gallbladders, they manage to live peacefully, albeit corpulently, by a calendar of saints for years under a special licence to paint like picasso before 1904. Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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This year, January 26 arrives in Australia with added resignation following the defeat of the “Voice” referendum late last year, which would have altered the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to parliament. The Voice emerged from the Uluru Statement From the Heart, a petition written and endorsed by First Nations leaders calling for substantive constitutional and structural reform. The Uluru Statement was released on National Sorry Day (May 26) in 2017, a day that remembers and acknowledges the forcible removal of indigenous children from their families and communities, known as the Stolen Generations. The brutal policy was carried out by successive governments from the mid-1800s right up until the 1970s, but it was not until 2008 that a formal apology was given by then prime minister Kevin Rudd on behalf of the Australian government. For the speaker in Ali Cobby Eckermann’s “The Apology Day breakfast”, the apology and its accompanying function offer no substantive remedy to the intergenerational trauma inflicted upon her, rather it just adds another layer of intrusion (“how does one define the jigsaw / when the pieces are misshapen / by the constant hands of others?”) into the process of healing she has undertaken through her own conviction, “you offer breakfast and forget / I found my mother," and force of imagination, “and rebirthed my son/ Together we are the Banquet”. A conviction and imagination that will need to be more resilient than ever this coming Friday. Ali Cobby Eckermann is a Yankunytjatjara poet and artist from South Australia whose work has been published and celebrated around the world. Her poetry collections include little bit long time and the award-winning collection Inside My Mother. Her verse novels are His Father’s Eyes and Ruby Moonlight, which won the inaugural black&write! Indigenous fellowship, the Kenneth Slessor Prize, a Deadly Award and was named the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Book of the Year. In 2013 Ali toured Ireland as Australia’s Poetry Ambassador, and in 2017 she received the Windham-Campbell Prize from Yale University. The Apology Day breakfast my mother did not grow up with her mother I did not grow up with mine my son did not grow up with me how does one define the jigsaw when the pieces are misshapen by the constant hands of others? the gift of life is maternity and the removal of this is a reparation that has no price the picture is askew in the portrait you offer and rejection is the new graffiti to rewrite the script you offer breakfast and forget I found my mother and rebirthed my son Together we are the Banquet Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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Petra White has published five collections of poetry, including her most recent Cities (Vagabond Press, 2021). Here debut collection, Incoming Tide (John Leonard Press, 2007) was shortlisted for both the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards and the ACT Poetry Prize, while in 2010 she was awarded the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry for The Simplified World (John Leonard Press, 2010). Passing Through Chicago Rivers of road, rivers of river, snow-clumped trees, the angel, flowering in moonlight. People would have muttered if they’d seen. What good is an angel now? His terrifying beauty, hidden beneath a wing. If we think we could be rescued, from the fate we’ve shored up, it is not an angel, it’s a person, rising out of flames. Perhaps the angel, fallen to earth as lightly as a feather from a falcon, has nothing to offer but himself, pale clawed feet in the dark street, his feeble torch on this avenue of twitching flags, threads of a great anxiety. He crawls into the attic of number 1813. In the space between home and state, the angel shudders, turns, cramped wings shake open – through the house a molten dream, through breakfast and dinner, through the silver sorrows of the city, its lumpy cracked streets, its America, soaring in the snow. Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
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"Stalin's Holidays" is the title poem of John Forbes' second collection. Happy holidays! Stalin's Holidays The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Juniper berries bloom in the heat. My heart! ‘Bottoms up, Comrade.’ The nicotine-stained fingers of our latest defector shake as they reach for Sholokhov’s Lenin—the verandah is littered with copies—no, commies, the ones in comics like ‘Battle Action’ or ‘Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandos’. Does form follow function? Well, after lunch we hear a speech. It’s Stephen Fitzgerald back from ‘Red’ China. Then, you hear a postie whistle. I hear without understanding, two members of Wolverhampton Wanderers pissed out of their brains, trying to talk Russian. Try reading your telegram— ‘mes vacances sont finies: Stalin’. But we don’t speak French or play soccer in Australia, our vocabulary and games are lazier by far. Back in the USSR, we don’t know how lucky we are. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Issue #114 of Hanging Loose is out now, and it's chock-full of great stuff, with new poems by Sherman Alexie, Joanna Fuhrman and David Lehman; art by Amy Masters; a supplement of poems curated by Hanging Loose author R. Zamora Linmark featuring Denise Duhamel, John Hennessy, Paulo Javier and a translation by Kimiko Hahn; and a remembrance of the poet and New York Times dance critic, Jack Anderson, plus Jack’s last poem. Issue #114 marks 57 continuous years of publishing for Hanging Loose. In that time, the press has championed the work of authors marginalized by mainstream publishing, whether because of gender, race, age, class or socioeconomic status. Many of the over 220 books Hanging Loose has put out have been first books, including the first full collections by Sherman Alexie, Kimiko Hahn, D. Nurkse, Jack Agüeros, Cathy Park Hong, Eula Biss, Hayan Charara, and Maggie Nelson. While the press has always gratefully relied upon the generosity of their friends and readers to ensure the enterprise continues, this fall a necessary move to a more expensive warehouse and storage space is increasing their financial need. In order to supplement these greater costs, Hanging Loose has set up an online auction which is running until early next January. Signed books by Charles North and Sherman Alexi are up for auction. There’s also a 10 week online class with Barbara Henning and a Dumpling Dinner with Hanging Loose editor Jiwon Choi! Click here to bid on one of the items, or alternatively, you can make a straight donation here to help this iconic independent press keep keeping on. Oh—and you can find Issue #114 here. Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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In the introduction to her collection of short essays on Australian poets, “Fishing for Lightning: The Spark of Poetry”, Sarah Holland-Blatt writes “As a form, poetry is full of freedom and possibility. It asks the reader to be open to coincidence and association, to music and imagery, to chance and change. Poems are full of surprises: each line is a little detonation of language and imagery, each stanza a series of swift steps into the unknown.” Holland-Blatt’s “Night Flight” is a perfect demonstration of these detonations of language and imagery. From one line to the next throughout the poem, we are shepherded across continents and desires, to destinations known and unknown, physical, temporal, bodily, imaginative and personal, where everything is “defined / by distance: how close we were, how far from steel mills in Pittsburgh / and those killing Chicago winds”. Sarah Holland-Blatt is one of Australia’s leading poets, editors and literary critics. She has been published widely internationally, including in The New Yorker on several occasions. From 2014 to 2019 she was the poetry editor of Island magazine, and was also the editor of The Best Australian Poems 2016 and The Best Australian Poems 2017. Her three collections of poems to date have swept up nearly every major literary award Australian poetry has to offer, with her most recent title, Jaguar, winning the 2023 Stella Award. Night Flight As my plane drops down in turbulence I think of you and of Salt Lake City, I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes and of Omaha and of adamant plains. I think of all the places I have never been: Caracas, La Paz, Kingston. I think of the way our bodies puzzled together in that room over pine woods where night deer passed in the snow, their lonesome inscrutable tracks sluicing in the morning’s melt, I think of your eyes that are almost the colour of mercury, of their unbearable weight, I think of the plateau of your chest rising, rising, and of your hand resting on my right thigh, of the slim glint of your wedding band in the dove predawn light. I think of how everything is defined by distance: how close we were, how far from steel mills in Pittsburgh and those killing Chicago winds and union towns near Detroit, Michigan where loyalty is the only religion. I think of the sound of your breathing, which is the sound of fields of blond Illinois wheat bent down, I think of those silver silos of harvest corn we saw in Schuylerville, barns blazing in all that silence as we drove through what we could not think or say. There is no grace in this kind of longing, there is only pain, pain which I have always preferred anyway – it is where I live, and called love by any other name. Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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In 2019 Michael Farrell edited the anthology Ashbery Mode, a collection of over sixty Australian poets whose work has been inspired by John Ashbery. The anthology is as much a testament to Ashbery’s range (both form and tone) and durability as it is to his inimitability. Ashbery’s influence is noticeable in Farrell’s own poetry, the two poets share a penchant for playing with form. “Good Fortune” borrows much of its formal restrictions from a sestina: six, six-line stanzas followed by a tercet. But Farrell disrupts the traditional sestina: instead of repeating the end words of the first stanza in sequence throughout the poem, he repeats the opening words, while maintaining the traditional pattern. The shift in placement alters the dynamic of the poem, which assumes a “push” force, rather than the “pull” of a traditional sestina, in which we know where we will end up, we just don’t know how we are going to get there. The irony of Farrell’s adaptation of the sestina is that the opening up of the end words to variation does not alter the form’s overall effect. We still know where we are going to end up: right back at the beginning. Good Fortune Suddenly I was a banker with a magnificent desk Yet it seemed that after years of success and luck Everything I’d worked for was about to disappear Due to mismanagement or fraud or the economy Thanks to good fortune however, it turned around And I kept the desk with its four kangaroo legs Suddenly I was a farmer with a magnificent flock Yet it seemed that the good seasons and high yields Everything I’d taken for granted had now collapsed Due to climate change or bureaucratic guidelines Thanks to good fortune though, I was able to sell it And it became a sanctuary for sheep with wooden legs Suddenly I was a toymaker with a magnificent factory Yet it seemed after years of innovation and record sales Everything had become unpopular and old-fashioned Due to multinational pressure or the cheapness of plastic Thanks to good fortune or rep, I got a new commission And became a maker of robots with weaponised legs Suddenly I was a priest with a magnificent window Yet it seemed that the amount of joy and worshippers Everything that seemed right in the world, was dwindling Due to scandals and competing with Twitter and Satan Thanks to good fortune or God’s grace, or Coca-Cola And the thirst for promotion, I became a Coke on legs Suddenly I was a porn star with a magnificent action Yet it seemed that the decades of sex and recognition Everything that’d once been a stud’s due, was over Due to ageing or cams and the rise of amateurism Thanks to good fortune or surgery I literally became A donkey and could do so much more with four legs Suddenly I was a kangaroo with a magnificent head Yet it seemed that after years of a cushioned existence Everything in the building... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Michael Farrell is one of Australian poetry’s great experimenters. Over his eight collections to date he has pushed at the limits of form, structure, syntax and more to interrogate, and indeed reshape, what “Australian poetry” actually means, particularly in its post-colonial paradigm. His seminal critical work Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796 - 1945 expanded on this project, and further established him as among the nation’s most adventurous and original intellects, along with being one of its foremost poets. “proust aboard a doomed corvette” is taken from Farrell’s second collection ode ode (2002), a collection marked by a talent for hyper-paced parataxis, reminiscent of Dean Young. Farrell’s early poems are laced with pop-culture and literary references, wit, irony and pathos. The imagery is surreal and their associations surprising, but they always remain rooted to an emotional truth, so that in Farrell’s poetry we are able to identify both the fractured external world around us and our equally incongruous internal lives. proust aboard a doomed corvette the blue car was too slow marcel insisted this was a virtue so we toured the galleries gave cats lifts painted bodies as we passed there were some whose souls we entered briefly & saddened like weevils in an opened cheese remained illdisposed to heroics haircutting ate nothing so this is the moon marcel remarked gloomily the life forms are disappointing i dont understand what god was getting at leave god out of it i said annoyed at last by his trilby twitching watch the road baron he replied there arent any moon roads anyway i thought you were driving out of petrol time to abandon vessel lay low hope a cattle farmer comes along we can steal his wife horizon his bitter expressions well the first figure to come along was an army deserter we were too sentimental to harm we lent him a cork shelter a phone that remembered princes number ned kelly shrieked mp we continued without holdups Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Last Saturday’s referendum to alter Australia’s constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice failed to pass. It is, I feel, a devastating and profoundly sad outcome that cuts to the very soul of the nation. Indigenous leaders have called for a week of silence to mourn the result, a result that can only be viewed as Australia's latest rejection of our First Peoples’ rightful place within their country, and I want to honor this request by not posting an Australian poet today. Rather, I would like to pay my respects to the great Louise Glück. “Parable” is the opening poem of Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014), a favorite collection of mine. The poem captures the state of futility we too often experience in our shared existence, a condition that can be overwhelming at times like these, when shadows appear to be falling upon all corners of the world. Parable First divesting ourselves of worldly goods, as St. Francis teaches, in order that our souls not be distracted by gain and loss, and in order also that our bodies be free to move easily at the mountain passes, we had then to discuss whither or where we might travel, with the second question being should we have a purpose, against which many of us argued fiercely that such purpose corresponded to worldly goods, meaning a limitation or constriction, whereas others said it was by this word we were consecrated pilgrims rather than wanderers: in our minds, the word translated as a dream, a something-sought, so that by concentrating we might see it glimmering among the stones, and not pass blindly by; each further issue we debated equally fully, the arguments going back and forth, so that we grew, some said, less flexible and more resigned, like soldiers in a useless war. And snow fell upon us, and wind blew, which in time abated — where the snow had been, many flowers appeared, and where the stars had shone, the sun rose over the tree line so that we had shadows again; many times this happened. Also rain, also flooding sometimes, also avalanches, in which some of us were lost, and periodically we would seem to have achieved an agreement; our canteens hoisted upon our shoulders, but always that moment passed, so (after many years) we were still at that first stage, still preparing to begin a journey, but we were changed nevertheless; we could see this in one another; we had changed although we never moved, and one said, ah, behold how we have aged, traveling from day to night only, neither forward nor sideward, and this seemed in a strange way miraculous. And those who believed we should have a purpose believed this was the purpose, and those who felt we must remain free in order to encounter truth, felt it had been revealed. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Sarah Rice is a Canberra based poet and visual artist who holds a PhD in Philosophy and has lectured in art-theory at the Australian National University's school of art. In 2011, she co-won the prestigious Gwen Harwood poetry prize. Her limited-edition, art-book of poetry Those Who Travel (Ampersand Duck, 2010), with prints by Patsy Payne, is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. Self-reliance No one is going to come and save you. And because of this you must fold your clothes at day's end despite the urge to abandon them to the backs of chairs. You must shake the crumple of sleep from the sheet. You must clean your teeth. Wash the teaspoons. Fold your pyjamas too and lay the neat squares to rest under your pillow of a morning despite the fact that in a few hours all will be done again in reverse. All will be undone. And there will be no-one to see. No one will know the bed corners were tucked into triangles. No one will see the sleeves cross empty arms against flattened chests and wait quietly. No one will know if the spoon was licked before it re- entered the jam jar. And no one will call you to bed and to the relief of sleep. That midnight hour must be crossed alone. The curtains drawn and redrawn, drawn and erased. Be wary of sitting too long in a warm place, of holding cups of tea for too long, or lying in bed thinking in the morning. Be up and doing, up and at 'em. Be the bird that gets the worm before it eats the apple. Try to resist writing poetry. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Theodore Ell’s first collection of poems Beginning in Sight won the 2022 Anne Elder Award, judged by Gig Ryan, Ella Jeffery and Marjan Mossammaparast. As the book’s title suggests, Ell’s poems are conceived through a gathering of visual details, their accumulation developing atmospheres and meanings that are often vague and indefinite. Part of the appeal of Ell’s poetry is the contrast between the precision of these details and the shadowy effects they create. In “Tenebrae” the arrival of nighttime into a city apartment is presented with rigorous particularity: “Sky / in the gaps of a broken comb - the medley / of towers, antennae.” The way the night seems to enter the apartment, to break the distinction between the inside and outside worlds, generates a vulnerability, ominous, that transforms solitude into isolation, reminiscent of some of Pierre Reverdy’s poems. Tenebrae is of course a Catholic service held during Holy Week in the days leading up to Easter, and a tension exists in the poem between “the cold communion” of maintaining this solitude by watching the night pass by from the windowsill and the desire to enter into the world: “Thoughts of not doing an evening by halves – / not dress circles”. Tenebrae Nightfall on the sill. Trinkets, hardened dust. Sky in the gaps of a broken comb – the medley of towers, antennae. The city: a queue for dinner at a swish place, or a catwalk. Thoughts of not doing an evening by halves – not dress circles or crystal filled in series, only forgetting the rule of doubt for hours, leaving morning till morning, whole vacancies. This sill, monogrammed by wine rims. A living. Rest from studying the pavement in silent lines, from the cold communion, aid. Frail-voiced nuns chant responses from behind gilt fences through the workless days. They reach some in the street, who look in, down a ribcage of coloured light, high rafters, canopy – a keyhole vision of dusk between towers, that toothed horizon, a light that breaks our outline, hides our numbers. Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Dominic Symes’ “Intimacy” was first published in the bi-annual journal Meniscus in 2021, an issue of the magazine in which the specter of Australia’s covid-lockdowns understandably hangs over many of the poems and short-stories included. It is difficult not to read Symes’ poem in this context: for many of us, the lockdowns transformed intimacy into a state of near claustrophobia. But Symes instantly turns this association on its head: the intimacy he is speaking of is gained in solitude, finding the quietude offered by reading and the small gestures of the natural world. The impersonal torpor of the lockdowns is brought back to us in the brilliantly depressing couplet “how we both sleep better after sex / but we’re both too tired to initiate”. The poem then shifts again to that liminal space we are taken to whilst reading, at once a lonely and intensely sociable act, in which we often develop a deep intimacy with the writers we read, noticing the most subtle shifts in their style, like a borrowed reference, as clearly as “ the haircut changes the shape of your face”. Dominic Symes’ first book, I Saw the Best Memes of My Generation, was published by Recent Works Press in 2022. Intimacy sometimes you get it reading Rilke the small glimmer of sunlight from the window which rests between your neck and the pillow how our fault-ridden bodies are supposed to shed, regrow and forget how we both sleep better after sex but we’re both too tired to initiate you can tell when a reference is second hand in a personal essay I read it when I was reading such & such like the haircut changes the shape of your face the humidity the quality of your skin now soft to touch but strong, firm, young some letters he wrote just to say sorry for not writing sooner there was this war I got held up in Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Francis Geyer’s “Refugee” first appeared in the Summer 1962 issue of Meajin, one of Australia's premier literary magazines. Geyer was Gwen Harwood’s second published heteronym, whose creation freed a multitude of Harwood’s most notable poetic strengths (read more about Harwood’s heteronyms here). Harwood styled Guyer as a European romantic, a Hungarian refugee who most likely migrated to Australia following the 1956 revolution, and afforded him a rich lyricism and sentimentality missing from the poetry Harwood was writing under her own name and that of Walter Lehmann, her other heteronym at the time. Harwood’s heteronyms caused much embarrassment to editors across Australia. Meajin’s then editor, Clem Christesen, who was the inspiration behind Harwood’s famous poem ‘Abelard to Eloise’ (which reads acrostically “FUCK ALL EDITORS”) for his alleged plagiarism of one of Harwood’s lines, appears to have identified Geyer as one of Harwood’s heteronyms (see below) but printed the poem none the less. Sifting through Meajin’s digital archive, I was pleased to see Geyer still named as the poet of “Refugee.” Refugee I remember the rough-spoken landscape frayed by years of upheaval, the towns unimaginably old, and the thoughtful passion of the Christ in a church where we prayed. I remember locked figures in the streets: duel or embrace, I did not know; the impetuous gestures of our guide as we came to those gates where the river meets rock, the savage boldness of the flood. A voice saying ‘Freedom’ in a tongue I have forgotten, the wet red sandstone, my life-long terror of blood. I remember the ocean licking at lonely piers, and the scavenged food. I cannot remember the faces of father, mother, my sister; only the places that were not home, and the tears. Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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With the directness of paint-thinner, Louise Carter’s “Marrickville” strips away at the euphemisms and self-told fictions a young poet must decorate her life with to sustain her vocation. A share house is “a glorified squat for people / who don’t want to pay full rent”. The poem takes its name from a historically working-class neighborhood in Sydney’s inner-west, and Carter’s sharp eye and the precision of her phrasing, in turns frank and humorous, brilliantly capture the ridiculous circumstances (if all too common) that early-stage gentrification can present: “We’re a generation of ideological orphans / building Zion in Marrickville, our dyed hair a symbol / of our kinship – while the original residents, the old-school / Greek immigrants, gaze bewildered from their porches / as hordes of us jog past them of a morning, / farting smugness.” The poem then turns inwards, the speaker, like many poets at various stages of their lives, unable to mount a defense for continuing to pursue her vocation, instead, she wonders if it might be more judicious to “swallow your insolence, move back to the suburbs and give birth / in front of the TV.” It is this balance Carter finds in her candidness, never excessive, sometimes enlivened with a splash of irony, that gives “Marrickville” its power. Louise Carter lives on Gadigal land (Sydney). Her poetry has appeared in Meanjin, Best Australian Poems, Westerly, Cordite and other publications. Her first collection of poems, Golden Repair (2023) was published this month by Giramando. Marrickville It’s been three weeks since I cleaned the bathroom and it hasn’t been cleaned since. But that’s what you get in a share house – a glorified squat for people who don’t want to pay full rent but dress it up as ‘community minded’ – a place where conversations about the fairest division of the gas bill take place over the compost bin. You could say, hopeful of heart, that it’s a family, which it is – dysfunctional – the air seething with PMT, all of us rolling out yoga mats to the sound of the kettle boiling, the fridge stocked with kale and coconut water but never meat. We’re a generation of ideological orphans building Zion in Marrickville, our dyed hair a symbol of our kinship – while the original residents, the old-school Greek immigrants, gaze bewildered from their porches as hordes of us jog past them of a morning, farting smugness. I’m so far from home, from the buzz-cut lawns and yipping dogs, from kitchens with microwaves and African violets softly dying beside disinfected sinks. These days I take comfort in YouTube and weed on nights where the urge to give up on this poetry caper becomes overwhelming – the fear that there’s nothing you can do to avoid becoming your mother so you might as well swallow your insolence, move back to the suburbs and give birth in front of the TV. These days I force my focus onto whatever the present moment happens to reveal – organic... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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The Judith Wright Poetry Prize was established in 2007 by Overland magazine, one of Australia’s more inspired quarterlies and among the nation’s best homes for poetry, as an annual award recognizing new and emerging poets. In 2021, Overland published Groundswell: The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize 2007-2020, an anthology which collected not only the winning poems (including the runners up), but also a selection of poems written by the winning poets since they were honored by the prize. Edited by Overland’s poetry editor, Toby Fitch, Groundswell is perhaps the best chronicle of the state of Australian poetry over the past 14 years you’re likely to find, mapping its fashions and trajectory through the work of a number of innovative voices. 2015’s winning poem “alkaway” by Ella O’Keefe grabs you with the sheer charisma of its opening line “a punchline flies business class”—how could anyone resist reading what comes next? But there is more than mere surface charm to the line: when it comes to jokes and their punchlines, we speak of their success in terms of “landing.” This joke, still in flight, remains hanging in the balance. It also occupies a place of privilege, flying not in coach but “business class,” which brings up the question of the role of humor in our society more generally, and comedians in particular, many of whom feel they are entitled to say the un-sayable, that their punchlines, no matter where they land, deserve to travel in a certain amount of comfort and be received with immunity. What follows is a series of surprising images and phrases juxtaposed against one another, which, as the award judges note, address a range of themes “from high capitalism, health fads, technology and the law, to the domestic, cohabitation, indifference and the refuse of human consumption”, but throughout the poem the privilege of distance (how we can remove ourselves, or be removed, from what we say, see or do) seems to lurk disturbingly in the background. Ella O’Keefe’s first collection of poems Slowlier was published by Cordite in 2020. She currently teaches at Deakin University, where she was awarded her thesis which discussed the poetry and critical writing of Veronica Forrest-Thomson and Barbara Guest. alkaway a punchline flies business class towards vague archipelagos    in the deepening Pacific I find glassy petrol spots the size of 5-cent pieces refracting intervals of the day thrushy embers in mornings overturn       woken by shapeless violence your body returned    from sleep’s legal trip quilling into the afternoon discovering ‘the therapeutic power of water’    while wasp-shaped helicopters    spotlight the oval – but when? (in violet enamel when bees were discovered) after filtering the whole house cohabited refuse goes archaeological turncoat, Georgic pink       bread bag (garment)       elastic calendar as in       day-shaped moments between yawns time-check: pearling three o’clock clicks to night without dusk    floating floor    live improv set in the big suburb    replica village reality effect the bodice sits over the body know this well already, cf. ‘it mimics nature to filter’ old-sponge chunks of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Since the 1970s, Ken Bolton has summoned the spirit of the New York School in his life and poetry: erudite, conversational, playful, modern (as he writes in “Horizon”: “I never wanted to be postcolonial / or colonial just modern which is / the joke on me—but who wants to be a category?”) to fashion one of the most distinctive styles in Australian poetry. Born in Sydney in 1949, Bolton moved to Adelaide (the capital city of South Australia) in 1982, where he has become a central figure in the city’s cultural scene through his association with the iconic Experimental Art Foundation, his art and literary criticism and his poetry, in which the city often acts as the guiding motif. (Bolton is also a publisher of note, founding the magazine Otis Rush and operating the press Little Esther Books.) In “30.11.12” the speaker, sitting in an Adelaide cafe, takes the dreaded question all writers ask themselves when they face a blank page, “What am I going to write here?” as an entry point into the poem, answering the call with typical understatement and insouciance, “Something, I hope.” We then discover the significance of the poem’s title: the date is an event, a return to the page after a year's absence, exacerbating the anxiety of the question just posed, an anxiety which is just as quickly diffused by the speaker's casual self-deprication: A year or so since I last launched out in my usual spot and stopped, because I didn’t want the usual– which after all this time with nothing else happening I miss. So what is “the usual” Ken Bolton poem? Often his best poems are loquacious, sweeping and inclusive, but never “long” (take “Kirkman Guide to the Bars of Europe, their music, their service, views etcetera” or “August 6th”). They are frequently, as Bolton describes Elvin Bishop’s guitar in “poem, the terrific days of summer”: “ex- / pansive, & rolling, / with a fabulous 'well-being' type of swagger” in the way they space themselves over the page (his use of single word lines can be especially powerful). They are O’Hara-like in their celebration of interests: musicians, painters, poets, friends. John Forbes is a frequent guest. So is Pam Brown and John Jenkins. Laurie Duggan, John Tranter, Gig Ryan, Lou Reed, Manet, James Schuyler, Tony Towle and Paul Violi ("So much of what / I write is an open letter to someone" from "Home Town"). They wander through observation and thought, and the profound enjoyment of taking time to truly appreciate one’s surroundings, such as in “30.11.12”, when the speaker, rather than taking umbrage with the distractions the cafe presents, uses them as platforms to propel the poem forward, as when he notices the lady at the register: ” I think she is enjoying / the air conditioning, the / sudden sense of choice. Her relief – / at the prospect of rest.” 30.11.12 What am I going to write here? Something, I hope. A year or so since I last... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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M.T.C. Cronin has been among the most prolific Australian poets over the course of the last three decades, having published more than twenty volumes of poetry since her debut collection Zoetrope: We See Us Moving in 1995. Her poetry has won a number of Australia’s major literary awards, including the prestigious Gwen Harwood Memorial Poetry Prize. Cronin has a background in law, and while she rarely, if ever, refers directly to her legal work, her poetry often draws parallels and incongruities between law and poetry, their distinct styles, languages and processes. In a 2009 lecture, Cronin asked if, as a test of poetry’s worth, we should apply to the poem Ann Scales’ statement on law as a social tool: “It is only extrinsically important, its actual value depends on its success in promoting that which is intrinsically valuable.” Cronin’s answer was an emphatic no: “Poetry’s purpose is not to provide solatium. Poetry’s purpose is not to get there, and poetry is neither extrinsically nor intrinsically important. Poetry is not a tool… its purpose is unintended and its purpose is undesigned… All that is undecided lives in poetry, and this aids decision.” The Audited Heart Words went up to the front and fought and were wounded And died and returned home and were paralyzed - The slippery survivors parsed together so that we may listen To their swords The clatter That's where the teeth are, not in the mouth But in the hand, stretching out for the heart behind it This cage of holy acceptance The race to the bottom of that red place Snake, that thing, that turns there Settled under the chest because there is only war here Violence on the coast In the corridors The country designing itself, vacant and threatening Without need to measure the space between this word And my last The present grows smaller and smaller As the future grows larger and larger The Australian's book was written Following an oath taken never to write Again. Everything Had too much importance, Too little I do not want to rest my fate on the ordinary, On security - I want to talk to everyone! But God is not a parent Not a mother or a father And you must also look beyond my voice To hear my voice authentically Even I, who did it, must search for evidence of what I did - So tired that there is no occasion I will rise to Nothing intimate in my movements towards the world I cannot rest on my own hand Beauty, even of clouds, alerts me To the partiality of the flower I have held the smallest man's hands The strength still in them, of a giant And Raising my laugh to the level of a physical characteristic Say: Don't be restless with others' love For these organs, these unreliable means of detection Are the very ones which find the major violations Like that three-eyed fish running In the river behind our homes The Story Of Someone... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2023 at The Best American Poetry
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Gareth Morgan is a Melbourne poet whose collection When a Punk Becomes a Spunk was published last year and received an admiring and perceptive review in Overland magazine by Elese Dowden, absorbingly titled "The moral risk of taking things too seriously." Morgan, an astute critic himself, has also published a chapbook of epistolary poems addressed to Eileen Myles, Dear Eileen, and his poem "the national debt" placed second in the 2021 Judith Wright Poetry Prize, among the most prestigious poetry awards in Australia. the hate i ate had a nice day i can see outside my window there are lights on like a tomazs salamun poem, squares drifting thru a square portion of the city yellow squares and a lyrical mattress where i now sleep it seems everything comes in the post these days yet the post is so fucked up? me and eileen myles both wrote books about this i wrote eileen a letter but they didn’t write back this is part of the problem…. oh well if you wanted to read up on the fate of the global postal service, you should seek out my chapbook Dear Eileen, but if you’re pressed for time i’ll tell you here— it’s not looking good! still i saw a mailman out my window, beautiful cold blue day chamomile blue, i felt calm and new she pushed her cart like a horizon Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2023 at The Best American Poetry