An Interview

Close friend and fellow poet Stuart Barnes recently interviewed me about all things poetic and the result is up on Tincture Journal’s homepage. It was good fun. I’ve also got a couple of new poems in the latest issue. Tincture is a really strong little e-journal, so be sure to buy and download an issue or two to keep your e-reader well fed.

In related news, huge congratulations to Stuart for being awarded runner-up in this year’s Thomas Shapcott Prize. Stuart’s poetry is powerful stuff.

Poetica – Around the Nation

Last week, I made a very pleasant discovery. Mike Ladd, producer of Radio National’s weekly Poetica programme, has put together his annual selection of notable new poetry publications, and my work is included in his selection. The episode airs next month on the 13th of September at 3pm, but it is already available online to stream and/or download.

Listening to one’s own poetry being professionally recited by a voice actor is a wonderful experience, I must say. The titular poem from my collection, Regulator, is read perfectly and even has some appropriate sound effects mixed in to heighten the listening experience. Mike also generously adds a few very welcome positive comments in the poem’s introduction.

What a great thing to stumble upon! Have a listen. There are some fantastic examples of contemporary Australian poetry throughout the episode.

The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry

I recently received my contributor’s copy of a pretty special book. NZ poet Tim Jones has paired up with Australian poet P.S. Cottier to edit The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, and they’ve done a sterling job.

I was truly impressed to see some of the included names in the anthology’s contents pages. There are poems from Alan Gould, John Tranter, Judith Beveridge, Luke Davies, Dorothy Porter, Dorothy Hewitt, Les Murray and even Banjo Paterson, just to name eight!

I only have one small criticism: where is John Kinsella? He has at least two volumes of poetry that I can think of which deal with speculative themes. Surely some of the poems from his collection Visitants are beautifully suited for this anthology?

Anyway, I’m very pleased to have been included in such esteemed company. Why not come along to the Sydney launch on the 23rd of July? I’ll be there to read my poem Others.

Herd Mentality Podcast

I’m no believer. Anyone who’s ever had more than a five second chat with me is able to figure that out. I’m a big fan of anything skeptical, be it Skeptic Magazine, an episode of Mythbusters or a book by the legendary Carl Sagan. I’ve worked in laboratories and find the scientific process to be a thing of (relatively) simple beauty.

So, it’s hardly surprising that my collection of poetry, Regulator, contains a few pieces that deal with issues of skepticism. There’s one about the (understandably) secret attempt by an Apollo astronaut to transmit psychic thoughts from space*, and another, called Two Books, about my take on the absurdity of Christian religion.

I’m very excited to say that a reading of the latter poem will be included in tomorrow’s 60th episode of the absolutely brilliant skeptic/atheist podcast, The Herd Mentality. The podcast is the baby of Adam Reakes, a fantastic guy who dedicates much of his time to the admirable endeavour of promoting critical thinking. I’d like to thank Adam and urge you to subscribe to The Herd Mentality Podcast.

*I decide to end my poem just short of his inevitable disappointment, despite the fact that he actually claims the experiment was somewhat successful.

Something Different: A Disney Blog Post

A great passion or mine—some might say obsession—is Disney animation. Our family VCR was a true work horse, playing and replaying cassette after cassette when my siblings and I came home from school and all weekend, every one a Disney feature film.

As an adult, that excitement has never gone away. Some people find this strange (I’m thinking of you, head-shaking mother in the matinee screening of Frozen), but it’s a natural progression of the sheer enjoyment these wonderful movies provided as a child. Acquaintances are usually either impressed or shocked to hear that I’ve visited eight separate Disney theme parks around the world.

I now rightly view these films as more than entertainment. They’re true works of art. The mind-blowing amount of work that goes into each of these films is utterly astounding, and delving behind the scenes through books and blogs is a daily source of interest.

Recently (as a form of procrastination), I started to write down some thoughts about a particular design feature I’d noticed in a significantly large amount of Disney animated films, something I’d never heard anyone discuss before. It was purely a fun, throw-away exercise in writing, but I ended up sending it to a great Disney blog that sometimes accepts article submissions. They’ve just posted it today.

The article has been quite heavily edited—the playful introduction has been removed, the spelling Americanised, and there’s half a paragraph in there that I didn’t even write—but I still think it reads fairly well and draws attention to an interesting Disney design feature. It was fun to write something other than poetry for a change, too! Nowhere near as intense or slow.

Here is my article, Rising Above It: Disney’s Use of the ‘Rocky Platform’ at The Mickey Mindset.

 

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Writing Process Blog Chain

Robbie Coburn’s Writing Process Blog Chain Post. A great read. Check out the rest of his site. You won’t be disappointed.

Parnassus Mad Ward

Friend of mine and wonderful poet and writer Ashley Capes has kindly tagged myself and Mark William Jackson in next in this little blog chain that’s currently doing the rounds online. Thank you very much, ash.
Please do check out Ash’s work- his collections are all wonderful and he also has his first novel forthcoming from Snapping Turtle Books. Also, it seems both Ash and I have work in the new issue of foam:e, which is very cool. My answers below.

Q. What am I working on?

I’m well into a second collection of poems, titled The Other Flesh. I am confident it’s the best work I’ve produced, and a significant progression from my last book Rain Season (Picaro Press, 2013).
I’ve also written an autobiographical novella called A Day without Me that I’m currently looking for a home for.

Q. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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My Writing Process Blog Chain Post

Within a couple of days of each other, two poet friends nominated me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Chain (google it for heaps of great posts). I won’t say whether Robbie Coburn or Ivy Alvarez got in first, but here’s the resulting post. Thanks to both of these amazing poets for tagging me in the chain. It’s been good fun.

 

1. What am I working on?

After having my first book published in February, I’m in the strange position of finding a large chunk of my work neatly wrapped up with a bow. It’s very satisfying, but also quite terrifying. I’ve got a few ideas of what I’d like to do next, but the road lies dauntingly open. Some science poems and a verse novel are my most pressing projects at the moment.

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s cheating to say so, but I think every poet’s work differs from everyone else’s. Regulator—my recently published collection—covers nature, a country adolescence, sexuality and science with a touch of dark humour. I’d like to think it’s not like too many other works out there.

 

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write poetry because it’s the only mode of expression that scratches my particular itch. I still remember very vividly the lesson in Year 3 when Mrs P asked us to write a poem. She made a big fuss of the sentimental mess I produced and, in the process, created an enduring monster— the big, furry, friendly muppety sort.

 

4. How does my writing process work?

I’d love nothing more than to be able to declare ‘Writing Time’ and sit down to have spun-gold issue from my fingertips, but it just doesn’t happen like that for me. There have been magical moments when a poem has arrived pretty much fully formed, beaming up at me from the screen, but these are exceedingly rare. Instead, I type key phrases or lines into the Notes app on my iPhone as they sporadically occur— random stuff, probably never to be used, such as this:

 

I worked with a man 

whose father’s arm was slowly 

twisted off by my grandfather’s 

post hole borer.

 

When I have time to tune out the rest of my life, I sit at my computer and see what happens. On good days, something does.

I’ve tagged two excellent poets to continue the Writing Process Blog Chain next week, Stuart Barnes and Michele Seminara. I look forward to reading about their respective creative process.

 

My book, Regulator, can be purchased from the Puncher & Wattmann website.