Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's a frightening reminder

that the "colonial past" is not that far distant.

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the referendum that permitted Aborigines — the traditional owners of this land for something like 50,000 years — to be classed as Australian citizens 180 years after Europeans seized it under the pretence that no-one lived here, that the land was empty, terra nullius.

Friday, May 25, 2007

this is fucking fantastic!!!!!

a as in dog

Two great talents, Dan Waber & Marko Niemi, working together & producing one of the wittiest, most clever, funniest things I've seen. It's a major minimalist alphabet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A question of perception

Okay, so the sunlight on the water distorts, & it was at a distance, & my 20/20 vision needs to have a decimal point put in front of it these days. But.

This afternoon, walking through the riverside car park where I leave the car, I saw floating on the other side of the river a dark mass which could have been a family of ducks or a crocodile or a collation of weeds & grass. All three are equally likely in these parts, although the fact that the mass was moving upstream weighs against the third but that could just have been the tide.

I've seen two of the three, have only seen news videos of a croc in the river. But there are signs up all along the river, in three languages — German, Japanese & English: it's the tourist trade — achtunging about the possibility of lurking reptiles. & it's such a lovely day, & consequently the thought of biomass is too prosaic, a family of ducks is redundant when you're feeling warm & fuzzy — feathery? — anyway, so let's go for the crocodile & not watch tonight's local news to have your dreams negated by non-reportage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh / the symbolism / of it all

The (Australian) Future Fund's board of guardians has defended its decision to appoint a U.S. bank as global custodian of the $51 billion fund, saying it will still make its own investment decisions.

Chicago-based Northern Trust was appointed on May 10 as global custodian to the Future Fund, a decision that been attacked by the opposition and unions. Its regional headquarters are in Singapore, where the work it's won from the Future Fund will be conducted with some help from staff in Bangalore, India.

The Future Fund was set up by the Australian Federal government last year to cover public service superannuation liabilities, which are projected to be over $140 billion by 2020.

The Finance Sector Union called the decision an insult.

"This is the largest pool of money ever created in Australia and the Government is not prepared to entrust Australians to manage it," said union secretary Paul Schroder. "The decision means $51 billion will be managed in Singapore under U.S. corporate regulations."

Monday, May 21, 2007


"With alarm I have found that the issue of cloning has been revived again. As a concerned siticen I strongly object to the use of human embryos in any way that is artificial, like stemcell research/harvesting.

Cloning of humanbeings is outright wrong and against the interest of humanity.

Why? We see today a drive by sertain sections of society to devalue humanlife. Some are already claiming that an embryo is not human, in fragrand contradiction to the word of God the Creator."

A note for Nicholas Manning

In a post not too far below I refer to the launch of Nicholas' The Continental Review & comment that I expect more from the medium than just mouths opening (&, yes Nicholas, bodies moving).

The point I was trying to make, though I didn't expand on it, is that at one end of the spectrum we are still bound by the printed — or the electronic — page. Most audio, most video of text poetry is still page-based, even if that page becomes a separate frame. Videos of vispo are usually the lens moving over a static page, or a series of static frames, or kinetic software-based pieces. & so far nothing I have seen comes close to what I still consider one of the great pieces of filmed poetry, Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, shot I think by D.A. Pennebaker, in which Dylan holds up a series of flash cards with words from the song / poem on them as the song soundtrack underscores & Alan Price & Allen Ginsberg wander in & out & along the alley. It can probably be also considered the original video clip. & it was done at least 40 years ago.

At the other end of the spectrum is work done by people who are basically web-designers, who call their output poetry — & who are we to argue with them? Just walk away, Renée.

But somewhere between is the area I'm talking / dreaming about. It would probably have to be collaborative, though it's being touched on, dipped into by a few who I know are doing it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nick Piombino

generously included a couple of poems from my latest book, Falsely Goethe, in his recent posts to ::fait accompli::, remarking in response to one of my postman poems about John Cage's X how Cage had signed Nick's copy of the book over the printed Cage signature that was already there.

I'd intended to respond to Nick earlier, but I was at something of a loss. I'd bought my copy of X at last year's bookfair here. It's an annual event, though in hiatus until two years ago, run by one of the local charities, where they collect secondhand books & then have a sale in one of the pavillions at the local showgrounds. The books are priced from about 50c through to $2 or $3, &, in the main, the quality matches. The first year I went, two years ago, there wasn't much. I bought a few things, can't really remember what. Went last year, not expecting much, & ended up with about 50-60 books. Lots of poetry I'd never usually buy, other bits & pieces, & a copy of Cage.

My problem in talking about this is that I find it almost impossible to convey how strange it was to come across a book of Cage's mesostics in Rockhampton. Sure there's a University here but it focuses on Engineering & Nursing & Education & Business with only a small Humanities school; & I think if you mentioned Cage it would be Nicholas that everyone assumed you were talking about. Finding this book was a bit like finding an antarctic flower growing in the middle of the desert, almost enough to start a doorknock campaign to try & find the owner. This place is a place that someone who liked Cage couldn't stand.

The bookfair's on again, this weekend, so went today & was disappointed. Bought a couple of things—a novel by Bruce Stirling, Stein's Three Lives, Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. Will go back tomorrow & see if anything else has surfaced. See if anything exciting has been let loose from the cage as it were.

& another Nick,

Nicholas Manning this time, has started up The Continental Review, a compilation of videos by/of poets. So far it's oral, as though the extent of a poet's intercourse with video is to show them with their mouths open & words coming out. It's interesting, but I expect more of the medium, much along the lines of what poets like Nico Vassilakis & mIEKAL aND are doing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perhaps one shouldn’t laugh

but in a report of the death of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, a “one-legged fighter”, it was noted that the many Taliban fighters were unhappy with him because they felt he’d “become too big for his shoes”.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The double-barred (or owl-faced) finch has a short breeding cycle, though over the past year I have only ever seen a pair of them at any one time; constructs a separate nest each time — there were four in a dead spadix that fell from one of our palms — which takes about a day to build & is usually in a difficult for predators to reach place; & seems to prefer to find new dried grass each time — the birds used the dead branch as their launching pad to scavenge from, ignoring the quantity of building material that was closer at hand.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me a kilo of
blow. I snorted
in disbelief.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The last few days

have been fairly busy, so I've been reading Tom Beckett's Soluble Census to keep up with what I've been doing.

Thanks, little brother. Yr book's in the mail.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure. And that would be irresponsible," said President Bush. "Far better not to set a date, & let it become somebody else's failure."

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The First XI Interviews.

The First XI Interviews.

Tom Beckett (Curator)
ISBN: 978-0-9775604-9-3
Otoliths, 2007
$16.95 + p&h

In response to popular demand, Otoliths is releasing one of the books from its next round of offerings early, E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The First XI Interviews.
Tom Beckett's E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S website has become, since its inception in 2005, an important source of information on contemporary poetry and poetics. This book brings together the first eleven interviews from the on-going series, augmented by bionotes and almost one hundred pages of self-selected examples of the interviewees’ work.

The interviewees (some of whom later reappear as interviewers) are Crag Hill, Thomas Fink, Nick Piombino, Sheila E. Murphy, Eileen Tabios, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, K. Silem Mohammad, Geof Huth, Barbara Jane Reyes, Paolo Javier, Stephen Paul Miller and Jean Vengua.The other interviewers are Tom Beckett, Ron Silliman and Mark Young.
The remaining books of this quarter’s quartet — Nick Piombino’s “visual collage novel” Free Fall, Rochelle Ratner’s poetic journal/memoir Leads & Sheila E. Murphy’s first integrated collection of text & visual poetry, The Case of the Lost Objective (Case), will be given a separate launch towards the end of the month.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Issue five of Otoliths

has just gone live, which means it's a year old today.

It's also May Day, so arise & join in a chorus of The Internationale with Paul Siegell, Andrew Topel, Jordan Stempleman, Ernesto Priego, Paolo Manalo, Eileen Tabios, Jeff Harrison, Katrinka Moore, Corey Mesler, Raymond Farr, Steve Rodgers, Robert Lee Brewer, Mark Cunningham, Martin Edmond, Steve Timm, James Sanders, Audacia Dangereyes, Thomas Fink, Spencer Selby, Maria Zajkowski, Richard Lopez, Marcia Arrieta, Tom Hibbard, Matina Stamatakis, Louise Landes Levi, Márton Koppány, Anny Ballardini, Jill Jones, Craig Santos Perez, mIEKAL aND, Dax Bayard-Murray, Ed Schenk, MTC Cronin, Alana Madison, Alexander Jorgensen, Andrew Taylor, Carol Novack (& Stan Crocker), Stephanie Green, Maurice Oliver, Caleb Puckett, David-Baptiste Chirot, Derek Motion, James Maughn, Michael Rothenberg, Tom Beckett, Nick Piombino & Richard Kostelanetz as they "change henceforth the old tradition".