As I said a while back, I'm in the thick of writing Aussie nature poems. Writing Aussie nature poems for publication, in fact. They should emerge in the first half of 2014.
There are many challenges: writing what hasn't been written on this subject before; shaping poems that are unique and unexpected; avoiding predictable gum and wattle references; steering clear of bush poetry; playing with purposeful form and layout; avoiding sentimentality and writing too many poems that pay homage to our natural world (which is easy to do, when you're a birder and wilderness tragic). I'm trying to balance things out, compose fantastical and truthful pieces. I also want to highlight this irony: our wilderness sustains us, but doesn't give a toss about us.
Eighteen poems are done. Another two are in mind. There's fire, rain, leeches, glow worms, a bowerbird, a funnel-web, a wombat, Putin, Avatar, Hamlet, Harry Potter, family, heritage, scraps of indigenous culture...
Just as long as the reader isn't bored, as long as they want to turn the page, as long as they wish to have my poems in their life for a little while. And, that at the end of it all, the reader turns away from their life of deadlines and dead ends and gets back out into nature, soaks it up, strives to preserve it for previous generations.
Who knows whether my work will have that much impact?
LJ, November 29 2013.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
After 10 glorious days in Scandinavia earlier in 2013, I had to sink my teeth into some Scandi Crime when back home. I recently finished watching the entire series of The Eagle - A Crime Odyssey, which I found enthralling. I loved how everything ended with Halgrim (our haunted, complex, intuitive, daring, pig-headed, philandering Icelandic-Danish police hero) most content as an independent bachelor in a brightly-lit new apartment. LJ, November 25 2013.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Britpop supremo (and vegan) Johnny Marr is playing the Oxford Art Factory early in January 2014. I'm a big fan of his work with The Smiths and Electronic. His new solo album, The Messenger, rocks. His recent gigs in the UK have been getting glowing reviews.
LJ, November 19 2013.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
How fine it was to come home yesterday (after another demanding day of teaching and HSC marking) to my contributor's copy of The Southern Highlands Poetry Anthology which Peter Lach-Newinsky (editor of the Anthology) placed on my doorstep.
Peter was the brains behind the eighty-page volume, which marries Anglo-Saxon and indigenous voices in a sustained hallelujah for everything worth preserving in the Southern Highlands. I thank him wholeheartedly for including six poems of mine, several of which have been published here at The Ultraviolet Range (sometimes in different forms). My poems leap from one thing to the other - you'll come across Don Bradman, Bowral teenagers, glow worms, fly agaric, foxes, native flowers, sooty owls, Smith St Melbourne, Adolf Hitler and the Abu Sayyaf. Peter's editorial suggestions re. my work were deeply considered and most beneficial.
It's an honour to be in a collection that meditates on many Southern Highland things including our notion of home, our shaping by history, what we owe the natural world and what we owe each other. Mark Tredinnick, Jennifer Compton (who just won the Newcastle Poetry Prize), Jennifer Rankin, Grace Perry and Peter himself are amongst the other poets in the Anthology. You can purchase copies of the book from Peter via his website and at those precious few places that still value poetry and place and humanity.
LJ, 7 November 2013.