- 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
I am old enough to remember the K-Tel LP records (vinyl) of the 1970’s – 20 Hits of Summer, 20 Sizzling Hits of 1976 and so on. They were relatively cheap and covered a large range of pop music styles, from Slade to Kiki Dee and back to Deep Purple. The task of deciding what to include in each release must have been relatively simple – each song had to have been on high rotation on the major AM pop/rock radio stations – and the aim was to get teenagers to spend their pocket money on a cheap album rather that a number of singles. Judging by the number of K-Tel collections my friends had, it was a successful strategy.
There is an apt awkwardness and uncertainty in all three poets – Emma Rooksby, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, J.P. Quinton – here: in the expression of sentiment (‘Preparations’, Rooksby), in the use of syntax (Mitchell) and archaisms like ‘verily’ (Quinton). All three are skilled poets, but they are new, and there is a sense that they are still trying things out. As editor Tracy Ryan writes, the three are ‘extremely diverse in tone and approach’ and this diversity is pronounced in a way that would be tempered were there more poets in the book. Ryan’s selected poets represent three modes, rather than merely variety itself. This is not a sampler, however, but three books in one, and perhaps not designed to be read sequentially.
Thirty Australian Poets is a new anthology out of UQP that focuses on the work of poets born after 1968. It’s an intriguing conceit that invites comparison with the work of the Generation of ’68 without actually issuing a challenge per se, but at least prompting a ‘look where we are now’ conversation. Since this constraint naturally excludes both poets who make up Australia’s vibrant live poetry scene (who tend not to be as widely published on the page) and also talented poets whose work may not have yet been collected, the poetry on offer does tend toward the formal.”
I’ve respected John Leonard Press since its beginnings in 2006, and over the years a theme has formed across its publications. Leonard’s poets have a lot in common. There is nothing slapdash about any of them. These are poets clearly enticed by language and by the theories of life. Don’t expect rhyming. Don’t expect clichés. And do not, above all, expect anything simple.”
‘Electronic Literature’ could refer to quite different things: a novel written in the form of emails, a poem in Cordite (poetry is code!), a piece of musique concrète, an interactive installation in a gallery, a thread of You Tube comments, the Wikileaks cables . . . Understood broadly it would include any piece of literature that makes use of an electronic technology – e.g. Microsoft Word – somewhere along the line. ‘What literature today isn’t electronic?’ might be a more productive question to start with.
It’s hard to write about a collection as diverse as this. It has no theme really except what Adamson mentions in his introduction, quoting Baudelaire’s poem ‘Correspondances’, a poem, to paraphrase blandly, about mysterious relations between things of different kinds. Anything can be compared to anything else, but is there a “ténébreuse et profonde unité” (“dark and deep unity”) in this collection, as Adamson seems to imply?
This book positively brims. With words, with pictures, with experiments and experiences. At eight hundred pages plus, it is as a definitive testament to Prague’s so-called International Literary Renaissance. Apart from the prose and poetry, there are photos of those involved and an extensive bibliography of journals, zines and newspapers which have been published in Prague over the last two decades.
In the interview with Tim Winton in this issue of Indigo, the acclaimed author provides a valuable reminder: it’s all very well to go to literary parties and drink lattes with the top Eastern States editors, but writers must also write. And read, widely.
Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia is ambitious. This anthology reads as a sample of more to come, rather than a clear achievement of the sizable task that it sets out in its introduction. Over There is not, as the title might initially suggest, a collection of travel poems, nor is it a comparison of different postcolonial reflections arising from Singapore and Australia.
If we seek a division in Australian poetry, we will not find it represented among the poems in these two anthologies. Wearne puts it adroitly in his introduction when he says about the Poetry Wars, ‘for all the legendary brouhaha it may have all happened at one party (and perhaps that's how the eventual movie will see it). If some of us played for different teams (and still may) remember the operative words are 'play' and 'teams'.
Paul Chowder, poet and narrator of Nicholson Baker's novel The Anthologist, is trying to write an introduction to his forthcoming anthology of poetry Only Rhyme. Unfortunately, he is unable to say exactly why rhyme is important, and so like anyone with a seemingly impossible task, he procrastinates.
Since the 1990s, academic discussions about literature have challenged, if not deconstructed, the project of a national canon. These discussions have centered on the notions of representation, inclusion, aesthetics, and importantly, identity. While the debates may at times seem atomising, the effects have invigorated literature, both in how it is conceptualised as a discipline and in how texts are produced.
The editors of New European Poets have made their intentions quite clear. They aim to reinvigorate the transatlantic conversation between American and European poets. Such an ambitious task is not without compromise. In order to achieve their aim, the editors have had to set some constraints, some they admit are arbitrary.
When Paroxysm Press sent out their call for submissions in March last year for an anthology titled Ten Years of Things That Didn't Kill Us, they had just one piece of advice for writers: 'we want it to be as Paroxysm as hell'. The result – a collection of poetry and prose from writers well-known to Paroxysm followers along with a number of new contributors – isn't intended to please everyone.
There is a deep sigh of relief when we come across Poetry Without Borders, an anthology willing to cross unknown terrain to bring us the voices of poets rarely heard. Whether it's due to language, cultural, economic or psychological factors, those poets who have migrated or are considered to be 'new arrivals' are hardly published.
When an anthology purports to represent the best poetry of a time or region, it's fair to assume someone will question the validity of its publication. 'On what criteria is this judged?' some readers might wonder. 'Can poetry really have a best?' others will ask. 'Why wasn't I included?' a few may dare voice aloud.
Anthologies which wrap up the year's 'best' are always greatly anticipated. We want to be reacquainted with our favourite poets, see what sort of spin they've taken on our world during the past twelve months. But of greater interest is often the introduction to new writers. We're curious if the poets who have recently found their way into small press publications have made the cut.
I've long been a fan of Dorothy Porter, the poet, and I can now say loudly and proudly that I am a fan of Dorothy Porter, the editor. Skimming through the index, I am immediately impressed by the range of texts drawn upon to assemble the collection. The poems were not all plucked from the 'best of the best', and this, I am confident, attributes to the range in voice.
For the 2005 (and tenth) issue of the Canadian Moosehead Anthology guest editor Todd Swift has added an X ('the X-Files aspect') to the publication's title. Although retrofitted with fifties B-grade movie genre characteristics and preoccupations, it claims to deal with 'exceptionally pressing contemporary issues, images and invasions'; and the editor muses on the possibilities of a new 'B-grade' genre of poetry and prose which, like the fifties sci-fi and horror movies, would manage to break through the surface 'to speak of the hopes and fears of the time'.
At Changi Airport's arrivals hall, you're greeted by the sound of birds, which is quite disconcerting at 2am. This simulated birdsong is symptomatic of the city-state's attitude to nature. For Singapore, it seems, nature is dangerous and unpredictable, better replaced with more predictable, more aesthetically pleasing technologies. Former Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew once famously asserted that the greatest invention of the 20th century was the air conditioner. Thus it is more than just an urban condition that is constructed in Singapore, it is an aesthetic condition that incorporates all aspects of life.