EKPHRASTIC Editorial: Poetry that Sees

Ekphrasis In ancient Greece ekphrasis was understood more broadly than in the contemporary world, indicating a complex genealogy for this term that encompasses so much fine poetry as well as many other forms of writing. For the ancients, the best …

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J S Harry’s ‘tunnel vision’, Vicious Sydney and The Car Story

As I began this essay on J S Harry’s poem ‘Tunnel Vision’ several years ago (2006) the radio drive shows in Sydney were full of opinions, mainly angry, concerning a report that a male teacher, in an English class, encouraging students to find as many words in ‘Australia’ as they could, had led the way by showing them how it contains the word ‘slut’, and then, when asked what that meant – it must have been a young primary-school class – had told them that it was a word used to describe women.

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Ekphrasis as ‘Event’: Poets Paint Words and the ‘Performance’ of Ekphrasis in Australia

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery (NRAG) in 2007, Lisa Slade and Peter Minter co-curated the exhibition Poets Paint Words. The two curators commissioned some of Australia’s best poets to write poems in response to …

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Is Contemporary Australian Poetry Contemporary Australian Poetry?

Poet, if you’re looking for your name in this essay, jump ahead a couple of pages. There I begin talking about poets collected in this anthology. Those of you interested in a review about contemporary Australian poetry, let’s begin here.

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ConfessionCharles Whalley’s essay on post-internet poetics ‘This has been a blue / green message exiting the social world’ takes its title from a Sam Riviere poem, which makes me imagine ‘blue / green’ text messages bubbling like algae blooms on a mobile phone.

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‘The atomic landscape … does not allow me to rest’: Kurihara Sadako and the Hibakusha Poet as Public Intellectual

The 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima was marked by a solemn ceremony in the Hiroshima Peace Park on 6 August, 2015. I formed part of the 40,000 strong crowd, pausing at 8.15 am while the peace bell tolled to mark the dawning of the nuclear age. On that day, the anti-nuclear sentiments the anniversary spawned were complicated and compromised by politics.

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Courrier des Antipodes – Notes on Michel Butor’s Letters from the Antipodes

In mid-August I was in Adelaide to read poetry with Kent MacCarter and others as a guest of Ken Bolton’s ‘Lee Marvin Readings’ series at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation. Over a couple of days, Kent, Ken and I had some expansive conversations including one about how much we loved various works by Michel Butor, the great French experimental writer. Just over a week later we heard the sad news that Michel Butor had died on 24 August, 2016 at the age of 89.

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The Many Lives of a Handscroll: Inspired by Zhai Yongming’s ‘Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang’

Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is a handscroll by the Taoist painter Huang Gongwang from the Yuan Dynasty. It is now acclaimed as one of the ten masterpieces of Chinese painting. Inspired by Huang’s work, the renowned Chinese poet Zhai Yongming published her latest collection Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang in 2015. Chen Si’an, a young theatre director and novelist, read an earlier version of the text and was inspired to create a theatrical adaptation. Sharing the title of Zhai’s poem, Chen’s play premiered in Beijing in 2014. This essay explores the life and after-lives of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.

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Language Barriers

Many live after L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E then, but few live as it. There is no comparable, or adequate, rupture precisely because there is a lack of Historical, and philosophical, work being done. Cue the misunderstanding of what to radically break with. This might be because of the paradox of university scholarship now – we live in a moment after the national mythmaking of bygone days and in one informed by the black armband view that is predominant institutionally.

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Elif Sezen’s ‘Dear Immigrants’ and ‘The Turkish Bath’

I am reminded of Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth. For the work Salcedo broke a hairline crack into the floor of the Tate Gallery’s Turbine Hall. Running the sheer length of the hall, the crack broadened out to a crevasse of some feet. You walked alongside and gaped in. The floor was later repaired the cracks remain.

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Feminine Beings: A Resonance of Voices in Vietnamese Poetry

The authors I touch upon in this essay – perhaps not the female poets most in accordance with my personal taste – share a common story in which I am more or less implicated. I see their choices to write as a means of displaying a female experience, and – with a straightforwardness and sharp intentionality at every step – reject the matter of females as reflected objects. Instead, they assert their self-reflected subjecthood.

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EXPLODE Editorial: Awfully Passionate Egregious Demagogueries … reflections on absolutes, straying, anguish and bees

If poets are in the business of cultivating ‘voice’ then, logically enough, to which ends? Is there an onus not only to learn how to speak but to also become versed in what to speak of? If 20c. English-language poetry can be characterised at least partly as a constellation of non-dogmatic radicalised tropes making response to authorising discourses of power / knowledge, then which impetus remains (if any) to adopt transgression as a foremost rhetorical mode?

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