Queer Modes: New Australian Poetry
Tina FiveAsh | Queer Love | 6 x C-type photograph | 1997
I acknowledge that the land I live and work on is the land of the Kaurna people. Land where sovereignty has never been ceded. I pay my respects to elders past, present, and future.
Annabell Evitts: Spoken
Rosslyn Prosser: How to Make Whips
Adolfo Aranjuez: Motion
Molly Lukin: House
Ainslie Templeton: sun square on stomach
Cee Devlin: TIDE
Virginia Barratt: mMouth hHouse pPanic cCathedral
Quinn Eades: Binding
Romy Durrant: Sometimes we meet in hotels
Plenary: an introduction I did not want to build a falling-down house of rhetoric Or even one that could stand all the huffing and puffing I did need something gentle So many gentle things To stick together the words of others To find some gentle Rhythm to walkwork through words I seek I sought I see. I do not want your letter back in my alphabet. Small as it is, There’s no room. Reading— Trip along the whip crack of associations Reaching for open space Wound up, collected, in a no place no place —would my skin make leather words? Working over, rubbing, and smoothing out lines that are laughter, lines—history of touch, sun-split sun-kissed wearing the shore in corners of eyes, It might be beautiful to grow old. If I (ifs ands or buts) multiply the sweetness of experience if we are alone and bordered by suspicion longing beaches open and close when there is no home to go to just a line of sunset gambling luck and lycra bad luck deep curve lock and key the lack lack in this place multiplied by grief and the red dirt rift of memory on the body on skin on land the road taken slow motion bark all red and blue and sand Not here It never happened (and then it always did). Every map I can’t read, Unknowing names and places. Skin unfolds in a dream, On a sun square stomach. Garden plump ripe with ache and promise I read the wall again. And if I could borrow your panic For a minute To gestate this archaeology Of scribbles and correspondence I would unravel my intestines too And shake out that Freudian creed Knowing my debt To words To language Falling out of every house Trapped in the archipelago of light And the pace of breath In the travelogue of breath In lieu of an introduction Like Stendhal’s prefaces to Love I want to trust you with the offering And break the cathedral prayer by prayer. All the while I go on reading And drive my love in Pressing my cheek to the tide Falling from grace I’ve never known.
In 2015, at the Experimentalies symposium convened by myself and Rosslyn Prosser at The University of Adelaide, Professor Marion May Campbell presented the plenary address. She performed a poem made of the titles of and observations about the papers given over the three-day event. I have taken inspiration from this in introducing this collection of work. ‘Plenary: an introduction’ souvenirs the works generously contributed here, and I would like to thank the writers for their insights and for being open to this process of collection and publication.