Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A line from Charles Mingus

Anybody can plan
weird. In her later
years she turned in-
wards, away from

what used to be the
conventional method
of producing baby
food, the folding/

unfolding of wax
from the beehives of
early punk rock. Now
she would fumble

through her chests of
drawers, picking out
things that caught her
fancy: campaigns for

voting system reform,
the daily news talks of
dictators, ritualized
violence against Chateaux

which she would then
combine. Some overlap &
noise, but a different
starter culture, a new time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Now out from Otoliths — Larry Sawyer's Unable to Fully California

Unable to Fully California
Larry Sawyer
128 pages
Cover collage by Krista Franklin
Otoliths, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-3-7
$15.95 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/unable-to-fully-california/12200921
Also available through Amazon in a week or two
The poetry of Larry Sawyer arrives free of any investment in a “poetics” or worldview and therefore ties its shoes on the run: “The city is a Smith and Wesson covered in noon.” The sublime lies in “covered in noon,” the waking world in the Smith and Wesson. So there’s a spontaneity of composition (anything can happen and does) that reminds us of what René Char was supposed to have been. On first impression, the poems can seem scattershot, like the art works of Niki de Saint Phalle composed by shotgun. Some of the pellets form patterns, some impressions they make are deeper than others, and some even pierce the metal canvas. Because Sawyer’s style is so open, the casual and intense find comfort in each other and the remarkable detail emerges: “What horizon / spreads in the distance / muscles ripening?” Much of this work is therefore fresh and unexpectable, like the final line of his elegy at Char’s gravesite: “Quiet snow, gossip over the hero’s grave.” —Paul Hoover

The split infinitive title that is Unable to Fully California prompts the question: What in 2010 is most real? Larry Sawyer leads us in response to “the exotic trigonometry” that invokes twirled concepts, blended wines, plus deliciously intentional mistakes. In this spree of sight and sound, nouns take up residence while collocating in new roles as verbs alive in trans-plantation. The tenor and vehicle of similes yield a vivid array of bleached blond poems that skid across the page. Their x axis is transmuted from horizon line to stars as yet unnamed from which we readers readily infer we’re not in Kansas anymore. —Sheila E. Murphy

I love the clear style, unforced music. It is not so much a strange poetry as the poetry of a stranger, the way Bishop was a Brazilian in Boston and a Bostonian in Brazil. I fell in love with your “blue fruit” and “inescapable tomorrow,” also what seems like renunciation not of sentimentality but of cliché …I like even the quasi-Romantic dislocations here: “There is a beauty to ice / only a statue understands.” I’m not a statue, so I only partially understand, but that should be more than enough for Larry Sawyer’s uncanny picnic on no grass … seemed as real as the Bronx, and I couldn’t stop thinking: I am so lucky that this poetry is so good. —David Shapiro

Saturday, August 28, 2010


One of the most disappointing things about the five weeks of election campaigning plus this past week where both sides of politics, each with 72 seats, have sought to win over the majority of the six independents & minority party representatives so that they can claim government, has been the almost universal negativity of the female members of the media towards Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Prior to the election, one of the topics of general debate was whether Australia was ready for a female Prime Minister. The election results leave it unclear whether it's gender or politics that has brought about the limbo we currently find ourselves in, but what is patently obvious—& this will doubtless be the subject of several Doctoral theses in the coming years—is that the overwhelming majority of females in the media, be they journalists, hack reporters, interviewers, talking heads, or whatever, most definitely aren't ready.

Talk about gender bias!

La Pipe

Surely a
Magritte not
can see is
that this

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Australian Federal election

was held on Saturday, but the final result is still not clear.

With postal & absentee votes & recounts in close seats still to come, & legal challenges sure to happen, the preliminary result so far is that either Labor or the conservative Coalition will hold 73 to the other's 72 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, the Lower House; the Greens will have one seat; & there will be four independents, three of whom are to be considered to have conservative leanings.

It means that, in order to form government, one of the major parties will have to rely on the independents for support. At first glance, it might appear that the Coalition have the greater chance of winning that support, given the background & the rural/regional electorates of the three "conservatives". But, interestingly, it is the policies of the Labor Party—e.g. a national State-owned broadband network with its ability to deliver not only wider internet & telephony coverage but greater rural health services via its connectivity, the conservation of water & the general environmental policies favoring agriculture over mining—that the independents appear most attracted to. Also, the National Party, once called the Country Party, which is the junior Coalition party, did their relationship with the independents a great deal of harm by publicly declaring two of them, as late as last Saturday, fools & idiots.

So we wait & see what will happen. In the interim, newspaper reports suggest that it is only The Sex Party, which fielded a number of unsuccessful candidates in the election, that can find any pleasure in the idea of a hung parliament.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Apparition

                   They're keywords. That
much he recognizes
even if he doesn't
recognize the discipline
that they come from. "The
labels could mean any-
thing," he thinks. Which
means. He carries one
himself. Or two. He doesn't
think. Which means.
He isn't. He appears.
Walking towards
one of two horizons.
Which means. They
may not be.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Am unsure

if I'll be home or away when I attend the second, Sydney, installment of the New Zealand electronic poetry center's trans-Tasman home & away symposium. (The first, Auckland, part is up online here.) After all, I've lived in Australia, three decades plus in Sydney, for most of my life, but I still hold a New Zealand passport. So maybe, for me, it's more properly a hoay & awme event. Or some such.....

Friday, August 13, 2010

An interesting article

this, from the UK Daily Mail Online.
"A third of the experts advising the World Health Organisation about the swine flu pandemic had ties to drugs firms, it has emerged.

Five of the 15 specialists who sat on the emergency committee had received funding from pharmaceutical giants, or were linked to them through their research.

The revelation will prompt speculation that the 'pandemic' was wildly overestimated and largely fuelled by the drugs industry who stood to benefit from the panic."
The full article can be found here.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


it's because it's pre-election time, & everywhere you go on tv there are political heads pontificating, added to which is the fact that my last "line from" poem was from Dürrenmatt—okay, he's Swiss, but, hey, that's like next door to Germany—but this morning, on the front porch, there was no song plucked from my unsub/conscious jukebox. Instead, I was thinking of what might have been said if JFK had given a particular speech somewhere other than Berlin.....
Ich bin ein Frankfurter
Ich bin ein Hamburger
Ich bin ein Bad Endbacher

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a passage past the eye

The nuances,

if such delightfully exaggerated caricatures can possess nuances, may only be fully understood by an Australian audience, but I think the message is clear. &, more importantly, I think the majority of Australian voters are coming to the same conclusion, that a vote for the conservative side of politics is a retreat into the past.

Go team!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An "alkali attack"

just doesn't have that headline resonance.....
"A boy suspected of throwing acid on two two toddlers in a pram will not be charged because is too young, say police."

"(the substance) was a form of sodium hydroxide."

quoting . . . quoting . . .

Bob Ellis quoting from an email from dramatist Nick Parsons:
"Tony Abbott is Australia's George Bush, a likeable dope who knows what he believes but doesn't know what he thinks, and will take Australia on a series of expensive and disastrous adventures. Like Bush he makes decisions based on a religiously-based conviction rather than logic. Like Bush he's charming and personable. Like Bush he's a fitness fanatic with little interest in financial matters or the economy. Like Bush he comes from a privileged background, with a private education, and has little understanding of the needs and ambitions of the common man. Like Bush he may just squeak through to claim the election. And like Bush, at the end of his term of office we'll look out at the rubble and ask ourselves what we were thinking. Likeable and personable people can still wreak great evil on the world."
The Drum unleashed, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's on-line blog.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

reposted, cos I kinda like it

Series Magritte #45
Le Thérapeute
for Nick Piombino

I know that
asking you to lie down
on the couch while I
sit across from you
is a bit old-fashioned
but humor me, it comes
from doing my studies
in Vienna. The bag
beside me contains a
peregrine falcon whose
purpose will become clear
later on. The scene behind?
A piece of trompe l'oeil
I asked this Belgian painter
to do for me. The sea is
so soothing. It's where
we all came from, it's
where we all desire
to return. Why? Think
amniotic fluid, think your
mother's lullabies. & the
birds inside the cage? At
first they're something
for your mind to focus on
while I explore the skies
they used to fly in. As we
progress, I gradually get
you to transfer to them
all the concerns that keep
you planted in the earth.
When that is done we set
them free. The final act
is to release the falcon.


Thursday, August 05, 2010


The Victorian Age

seems so far away. & yet, in terms of my personal continuity, it is not that distant. One jump.

My father was born on this day in 1898. A toehold in the 19th Century, nearly 90 years in the 20th. I, 60 years in the 20th Century, & now a leg, I reckon, into the 21st.

I inherited from him—nurture—his strong sense of ethics &—nature—his thinning hair pattern. He provided a comfortable life for his family, though the age difference between he & I meant that we didn't communicate all that well.

He once read Kerouac's The Subterraneans in an attempt to "understand me", only to find he didn't understand Kerouac.

I have rarely written about him, maybe once or twice. The only lines I remember are part of one of my Series Magritte poems, The Liberator.
I see echoes of my father
also. Non-Italian. Freemason.
The attache case with the regalia
hidden inside, the pearled
candelabra reminding me
of jewels & embroidered
aprons. He never talked to me
about it. I never asked. He
never talked because I didn’t
ask. I never asked because
he never talked about it. Round
& round. We never came close.


Never a liberator. Quite
the reverse. A tight hold
on the family. Rationed
freedom. We escaped by
becoming birds or keys or
pipes or wineglasses. Every-
day objects that could always
be replaced. He never
noticed. The space inside
the outline is as it has always
been, a shadow of himself, how
he’d always seen us. The
eyes in the pearled lorgnette
are mother’s eyes. She is
held tightly. A second cane.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

In retrospect,

I probably should have put won des laits into hibernation for eleven months at the end of NaPwoWriMo (© Geof Huth); but I had a couple more pwoermds to post, & then a couple more, & then....

I've now entered my fifth month of continuous posting, a word a day, not always, strictly speaking, pwoermds, mixed as they with found typos & Google word verification captchas & puns & mini concrete poems & a bit of simple vispo. Sometimes they come in a stream, postdated posts spread across a number of days; sometimes the stream dries up. A fast or a feminine, as it were. &, sure, there's crap, & carp, & a bit of frank Capra, & a banner headline marqueeing through my brain—QUIT NOW WHILE YOU'VE STILL AHEAD—which, I suppose, means there's also a whole heap of masoschism in there.

But mainly it's fun, so I'll kpee on kpeeing on though, probably, when next year's NaPwoWriMo (® Geof Huth) comes around, I'll have exhausted my repartee, & there'll be nothing left to post, & I'll just have to hop on my

sk tebo rd
a a
& sali off into the buel.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Otoliths #18 now live

Issue 18, the southern winter 2010 issue, of Otoliths has just gone live.

Let's get the obvious pun out of the way first. This is an august issue. It's packed with text in its many forms—as story, essay, review, or poem—as well as a wide range of visual media: collages, frottages, glyphs, postcards, paintings, notebook pages & some great new vispo.

Included in the issue are Emma Smith, Eileen R. Tabios, Mark Cunningham, Ed Baker, Piotr Gwiazda, Anne Gorrick, Ed Higgins, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Manfred Weidhorn, Carlos Soto-Román, Sally Ann McIntyre, James Maughn, Mark Francis Johnson, Sheila E. Murphy, Amanda Earl, Orchid Tierney, Philip Byron Oakes, Raymond Farr, Joe Balaz, Randall Brock, Meaghan Lank, Jeff Harrison, Mary Kasimor, Bruno Neiva, Benjamin Winkler, M. V. Montgomery, Ric Carfagna, Jessica Breheny, Jal Nicholl, Alexander Jorgensen, Mark Stricker, Reed Altemus, Jenny Enochsson, Felino Soriano, Corey Wakeling, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Lars Palm, Thomas Fink, Dorothee Lang & Steve Wing, Larry Sawyer, Paul Siegell, Beth Boettcher, Charles Freeland, Jake David, Márton Koppány, Katrinka Moore, Aidan Semmens, Connor Stratman, Stephen Nelson & Mike Cannell, SJ Fowler, Cath Vidler, Cecelia Chapman, rob mclennan, Cherie Hunter Day, Neil Ellman, Geof Huth, R. Riekki, Tony Brinkley, sean burn, Scott Metz, Travis Macdonald, Stuart Barnes, Spencer Selby, Keith Higginbotham, Sam Langer, Tony Rickaby, Bob Heman, Andrew Topel, Andrew Taylor, John Martone, Brad Vogler, Bobbi Lurie, Michael Brandonisio, Yonah Korngold, J. D. Nelson, Tyler L. Gobble reviewing Adam Robinson's Say, Poem, Sheila E. Murphy reviewing Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets, Cassie Eddington, & Colleen Lookingbill.

Enough there, & of sufficient variety, to keep everybody happy.