Sunday, April 30, 2006

Oban 06 update

The New Zealand electronic poetry centre's Oban 06 online anthology is now up.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Meanwhile, in the Hindu Kush

In the middle of dinner The Pope rings to offer me a great deal on home-delivered ice cream.

I do not hang up the phone, put it down on the hall table. From the dining room I can hear him in the distance prattling on in about sixty different languages. Not as many as the last one, but, hey, we can't all be perfect.

Dinner finished, I go back out & hang up the phone. I turn, slip on the melted ice cream on the floor.

The phone rings again. My wife answers. This time it's Dan Brown offering a great deal on health insurance. Oh, says my wife, I read all about you on Ron Silliman. That's nice, says Dan Brown. Now if you just get the answers right to a few simple questions you can join immediately, no waiting period, covers most things.

My wife asks if it covers accidental slippage, hangs up on him when he tells her it doesn't.

I stagger to my feet. The phone rings yet again. It's George W. Bush, asking if I'd like to join the war in Iraq.

What are the benefits, I ask.

Free health insurance that covers everything except violent death. More convolutions & plot twists than The da Vinci Code. Plus, all the ice cream you can eat.

I think about it for a moment, then decline. Too many other things to do.

My wife calls from the kitchen. I'm making coffee, Osama. Would you like some?

Friday, April 28, 2006

 
s
h

y
 
 
 
 
 
token

 
 
 
 

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lunch Poem

         Put down any- 
where, &
the environs
might be
somewhat
different
& the in-
virons a
bit more
open / more
closed
depending
on the deal
of sun
but the
equilibrium
is maintained
by a double
espresso
at a side-
walk table
& Ray Charles
singing You
know the Night
Time is The
Right Time on
the jukebox
of your soul.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This doesn't look like Kansas

Many months ago I saw that Black Spring was going to bring out a "Lawrence issue", & I was wondering why the fuck, in this day & age, would anyone want to bring out a whole issue devoted to D.H. Lawrence. Not until much closer to publication date, when a bit more information was forthcoming, did I realise it was a geographical descriptor. Boy, Toto, did I feel stupid.

Anyway, Jim McCrary was the editor of that issue, & he's the subject of Tom Beckett's latest interview over at e-values. & I've learned a great deal more about Lawrence.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In Context or: The Old Farts' Club

"Some of New Zealand's most iconic poets and literary figures will be looking back at the 1960s this autumn at the Auckland City Art Gallery. In Context is a series of talks organised by literary website leafsalon.co.nz and inspired by the Gallery's hugely successful exhibition Art & the 60s from Tate Britain.

In Context will run on four Saturdays throughout May and early June, and admission will be free. All sessions will start at 1pm in the Main Gallery, and last about 50 minutes.
6 May:       C K Stead with Murray Edmond

13 May:      Mark Young with an introduction by Barry Lett

27 May:      Riemke Ensing with Kevin Ireland

3 June:       Vanya Lowry with Frances Edmond

C K Stead was awarded the prestigious Michael King Writers' Fellowship last year, and was a finalist in both the fiction and poetry categories in the Montana NZ Book Awards 2005. Murray Edmond is a poet, playwright, director, editor and critic, and was also a poetry finalist in last year’s Montana Book Awards.

Mark Young left New Zealand in 1969 after becoming one of the leading poets and art reviewers of the decade. His works were published in overseas anthologies alongside Nobel prizewinners, and he penned the exhibition notes for Colin McCahon's first show at the Barry Lett Gallery. Barry Lett exhibited many of NZ’s finest artists at the gallery he co-owned with Rodney Kirk Smith in the 60s and is very active and well-known as a sculptor today.

Riemke Ensing was the editor of the first New Zealand anthology of women poets, 1977's Private Gardens, and recipient of the 2002 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship. Kevin Ireland was the winner of the 2004 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement. They will be remembering the 60s both here and in London.

Vanya Lowry published the first part of her autobiography through AUP two years ago, entitled From the Wisteria Bush. When she was in her early twenties, her parents Bob and Irene hosted infamous parties for the leading lights of the arts and literary worlds. Frances Edmond is the President of the NZ Writers Guild and is a writer and an actor. She has recently devised a theatre piece based on the life and poetry of her mother Lauris Edmond, who published her first volume of poetry at fifty-one and ten years later had won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. She was awarded an OBE in 1986.
Art & the 60s from Tate Britain is an extensive exhibition with over 100 major works from the Tate's superb collection, along with loans from the National Gallery of Victoria. Auckland Art Gallery's own excellent collection of 60s art is also shown. The exhibition is particularly appropriate to Kiwis, with many travelling to England and Europe for the first time during the 60s and experiencing 'swinging' London at its best.

In Context is the first 'offline' event for the website www.leafsalon.co.nz. The site focuses on NZ literature – with book news, reviews, and event and course information. It is now one of the country’s leading online forums for writers and readers."

Monday, April 24, 2006

intuitive sagacity

Out & on
up to the
bridge. Rivers
are not
always so easily
passed over. Ob-
stacles to
progress, ill
afforded. After
crossing a river,
you should get far
away from it

wrote Sun Tzu.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

episodes

I have never been a notebook user, a pen to paper writer. I learnt to type at an early age, pre-pubescent I think, on my mother's upright Remington, then almost, these days an antique. When I started writing, typing was the way I went, something about that space betweem the ends of the fingers & the keys.

It gave rise to one of my early foibles. Writing poetry was very much about starting at the beginning of a poem & working my way through it in stages — word, line, verse — that I had to be happy with before I moved on to the next stage, even if I knew how I/it would shape itself. The result would be a building up of sheets of paper, the same thing over & over with minor variations, a different word, a changed construction, a little bit more each time. "Sheets of scattered openings" I wrote somewhere.

But I know exactly where that 'somewhere' was. Because one of the consequences of writing that way was you inhabited the insides of the poems, in a sense built them from the inside out, lived with them, knew every word, every space between them. I can probably, even now, recite them by heart, more than, in some cases, four decades later.

When I came back to writing poetry, less than a decade ago, I worked in much the same way, even though I was now using a computer. I'd print stuff out to look at it, that feel of paper in the fingers, probably mouthing the words. I'd move on if I felt happy with what I’d done, where I was. Sheets of scattered paper still. Still able to recite them without too much reference to the printed page.

Things have changed in the period since then. Not just no longer printing stuff out, but my memory of them. Partially it's because of my prolificy, having the time to write & write & write, & wanting to move on, to spend more time with poetry rather than individual poems. Using the computer as a notebook, & then the blog.

It has to do with the immediacy of publication because no matter what one claims, that is one of the major reasons one writes. In my earlier days there were not that many places one could publish, & so, especially when one is a relative newcomer, you'd shape — to varying degrees of consciousness — your poems to reflect the possible outlets. Only as your reputation developed would you have poems written as you wanted them to be being accepted, & even then, usually about two years after you wrote them.

The electronic age I returned to had widened the variety of outlets & so now, instead of matching poems to the outlet, you matched outlets to your poems. There was more naturalness, less shaping, more letting the poem shape itself. You didn't do those countless revisions, even rewritings, that imprinted every word on your brain.

Why I'm rambling on out all this is because when I decided to put episodes together, I went trawling through pelican dreaming & As/Is & was surprised by what I found. Not just because of the standard of some of it, but because I'd forgotten I'd written many of the damned poems.

& again, because it's now almost a year since I made the compilation, when I finally hold the book in my hands, I'm surprised to discover what are almost new poems to me. It’s no bad thing, because it's pleasure I get from them, not embarrassment, & it's a substantial collection if I say so myself. But I feel that the title page should say "written by this Mark Young & that one & the other one & another one & the one who only appears when the moon rises in that season when the orange trees have fruit on them & looks just like another piece of fruit".

There was a book character I used to like when I was a kid, Professor Brainstorm, who had seven pairs of glasses. One for reading, one for writing, one for looking at distant things, one for the close, one for walking with friends, one for thinking with, something like that. & one for looking for the other pairs of glasses when they'd all been misplaced.

I feel a bit like that.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A reminder

OBAN 06

is the title of nzepc’s online poetry anthology, building 21-23 April 2006 as part of the BLUFF 06 poetry symposium in Southland. Bluff’s famous Oyster Festival happens over the same weekend.

Email your contribution to the nzepc between 21-23 April.

They aim to build a local and international poetry anthology over three days, launching Sunday 23 April in Oban on Rakiura (Stewart Island). They'd welcome your poem. They’d like it to engage with time and place, transience and duration, memory and forgetting, coming and going, poetry and oysters – any or all of the above.

& if you've got an atlas, check out where Stewart Island (Rakiura) is. How low can you go?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dental koan hay(na)ku

If
you can't
eat properly yet

is
it still
called a lunchbreak?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

After Kenneth Koch

Thank you for inviting me here to talk about quantum mechanics but it's not a subject I know a great deal about so what I thought I'd do is maybe read some poetry or talk on those things I do know a little about such as the paintings of René Magritte or the early recordings of Ray Charles or how plants synthesize sunlight & then I thought I'd maybe play a little jazz to give some ambience to the ampitheatre & then segue in Bach & overdub it with a recording of Gödel talking about mathematical progressions & then I thought you could all get up & dance & I'll start projecting your composite changing energy patterns on the back wall & I'll make a cup of coffee in the microwave & read a few more poems & then overlay your dance with a horizontal hologram of Schrödinger's equation which broken up would appear asemic & then I'd bring out a dart-throwing machine that was programmed so that any throw had a 5% chance of hitting the bulls-eye & a 95% chance of hitting the outer ring but no other place & then I'd get it to throw 100 darts & then project the end image so that you could all see each dart & how together they behave like particles but you could also see the small cluster in the centre of the board surrounded by a large ring made up of the majority of the darts & the whole pattern is the accumulation of the individual darts based on the probabilities of where each dart would have landed & shows the wavelike behaviour of the darts & then I'd say well I guess that means that the overlaying ellipses of the iconic atom are out of date & the Atomic Energy Commission had better change its logo & then I'd stand there silent for a moment & say that you all know where I am up here on the stage & that's classical physics but in reality the particles of my body keep moving so that you only get an approximate idea of where I'd be & have to work out the probabilities of how they'd move to know exactly where I am & that's quantum mechanics or a very rough approximation of it then I'd do another little dance which I've called the wave-particle duality of light & matter & you could all go home knowing a little bit about the subject I was invited hear tonight to talk about & essentially a whole lot more than I do.

let me count the ways

 


 

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

From out

of
the bellycan
of the pelican


At Nokturno, Marko K. Niemi has added another page of Finnish translations of some of my marquee poems from pelican dreaming to his wonderful growing collection of visual poetry.

& from Jukka-Pekka Kervinen's xPress(ed) - there are various links in the sidebar - a new 150-page collection



that includes a number of poems first posted to pelican dreaming & is available from here.

The backpage reads:
A note of thanks to the following who have contributed, often unknowingly, in some way to the creation of these poems.

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Michele Leggott, Jill Jones, Martin Edmond, Karri Kokko, Tom Beckett, Lauren Young, Jean Vengua, Eileen Tabios, Vincent Ponka, Kirsten Kaschock, PR Primeau, harry k. stammer, Sheila Murphy, Craig Freeman, Leevi Lehto, Didi Menendez, Bill Allegrezza, Ernesto Priego & Richard Lopez.
So, to all those named, don't bother buying the book because I'll be sending you a copy of it, once I've had a chance to look at it in its final shape, within the month.

Monday, April 17, 2006

hear
hair
hare
hier
heir
here

say 

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Les objets d'art de René Magritte

a pair of diamante lorgnettes

birds that are birds, that are not birds, that are, sometimes, something else

clouds stolen from the opening of The Simpsons

death masks

Edgar Allen Poe

Fantomas

Georgette. Naked Georgette. Clothed Georgette. Incomplete Georgette. Always Georgette

horses' bells

inflamed euphoniums

jokes & jockeys

kiss. No, not the rock group but the Rodin sculpture. But not the Rodin sculpture, only the space it fills

lost worlds

Martin Luther & the King of the Jews

neologism, or at least the attachment of new labels

open-toed boots

pleasure that the girl gets from eating a bird

quantum leaps

rendering the impossible possible

sacks that cover the lovers' heads

this is not an apple, nor a pipe, not even a piece of cheese

using speech to show how speech misleads

victory is what was hoped for in this break in the clouds, even if they turned their backs on the war & the victory came unseen

what lasts is how the lovers shared a space, not how they looked at one another

x-rays of leaves, the skeletons of trees

"Your dialectics & your Surrealism en plein soleil are threadbare," wrote André Breton. "Sorry, Breton, but the invisible thread is on your bobbin," replied Magritte

Zeus. Anger. Hubris

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Shadows

without

Shadows
within
Shadows.

&
the squatters
have arrived already.
        Midges
caught by the
  sun
        aerate
    this late
  afternoon.
Taken as a
given. So
different from
received
as a gift.

Friday, April 14, 2006

An unsolicited testimonial

Never knew the
enormity of
spam

until
I opened
a Gmail account.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

r.i.p.

Filamore Tabios, Sr.
1925-2006

Cameleon

I dream of solid food.

I pretend this diet of icecream, jello, scrambled eggs & iced coffee is sustaining me.

I lie.

I am living off my accumulated fats.

I am a camel.

Single-humped.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An ibis

prowls the
pathways
of the private
hospital.

*

If I was doing this post as live to air radio, it would not be appearing. I had the last of my teeth taken out this morning, my mouth has only just cleared of blood, the anaesthetic has worn off so I can move my lips, the painkillers have kicked in. I'm bearing it, but I can't grin about it.

*

I now have teeth that gleam like a Bollywood star's. Pity about the rest of me, plus I can't sing, can't dance.

*

I chip away at my writer's block. Carrera marble.

*

This morning, as I brushed my teeth, I thought about the Borges poem that begins
Of all those streets that wander to the west,
there must be one (I do not know which one)
which unawares I have walked down for a last
indifferent time…..

*

I dream of solid food.

*

Actuality.
Two antibiotics.
Two painkillers.
Washed down with a nice glass of salt water.

*

Gummy bears.

*

Where are you Hannibal Lector, now that I have need of you?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

There is a saying

a universe in a grain of sand.

Compression. It's one of the reasons that I like Borges so much, that ability to compress so much into a paragraph that it becomes a page, a page becomes a chapter, a story becomes a novel. Do not even have to add water.

I was reminded of this ability to convey maximum through minimum by Eileen Tabios' continuing journal of her vigil at her father's bedside. A few words, & the ripples expand, a large stone thrown into a lake.

Eileen's writing is sparse, the feeling of notes written late at night, after returing to a home that is, in a sense, no longer her own but one where she has lived most of her life, physically or mentally. It is naked writing, laying bare her relationship with her father. It is, for many of us, a guilt trip, we who could not reconcile ourselves with our parents, even on their deathbed. It is made even worse because Eileen writes in a way that compels us to sit on her shoulder, or behind her eyes, inside her soul, & we see through our own eyes as she sees through hers.

One of the reasons I left New Zealand was to escape my parents' deaths. I was a child born late to them in their lives, at least in terms of child-bearing ages. My mother was in her early forties, my father a few years older. I was thirty when I left.

Five years or so later I received a phonecall at work from the woman who lived in one of the flats in the same converted house as I did. A telegram had arrived for me - yes, it's that long ago - & it contained bad news, she said. "Which one is it?" I asked. "Your mother."

My father died in his nineties. My paternal side is long-lived. I went back to see him about three months before he died, after a phonecall from my sister saying that he was going. I'm glad I did, but it was sad. He was frail, his leg had been amputated some years before. He was lucid, though apparently he wasn't always so. I don't think I made peace with him; there was still the distance that there had always been. But I think it helped me make peace with myself.

For at time at least. I read Eileen, & I feel guilty that I could not confront my parents' deaths with such compassion, understanding, insight into ourselves & our relationships with those who are supposed to be our nearest & dearest. I feel guilty that I could not turn my thoughts around.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kool, I'm in

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Some
times I
forget who I

am,
& live
vicariously through myself.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

instituition
It is a
sad morning
when
the
river smells
of dead fish.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I left him nearly 30 years ago. I have finally returned.

Finally.


Eileen Tabios' incredible, indelible post about her father. From grief, beauty. Passion. Compassion.
 
 
 
bro     ken
open

 
 
 

Sunday, April 02, 2006

ceci n'est pas une image?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Busy doing other things

but this arrived in my email after a couple of kangaroo hops, & being a word lover I couldn't resist........
The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's (2005) winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund which lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): the colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.