- 94: EARTHSUBMIT to M Takolander 93: PEACHCOMING SOONwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith 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
Jessica L. Wilkinson
The Australian poetry scene, however you define it, is definitely thriving. So much so that it sometimes causes consternation. Perhaps you’ve been there at a poetry gathering or launch when someone wonders aloud whether, ‘thriving’ is one step removed from ‘overgrown’ – whether this healthy scene is actually in need of some ruthless pruning.
New Zealand poet and academic Anna Jackson’s presence easily fills a large room. At the Verse Biography: Truth or Beauty? conference in Wellington last November (of which Jackson was one of the three organisers), her enthusiasm for lively poetic discussion and debate is clear – abundant questions and wild tangents exhibit a mind tumbling with ideas bursting to be explored.
“Just between us, she could have been great” – George Balanchine I was a little boy with his eye in the keyhole, training: Vaganova, Karsavina, Gerdt pas de trois pink ribbon battement each one a different measure of sound unraveling …
In 2013, Jessica L. Wilkinson and A J Carruthers collaborated directly on The On-Going March Box (Stale Objects dePress), a poetic object collection consisting of words and alphabet arrangements printed on oddly shaped sight cards contained in an aged box. Startlingly bold affirmations like ‘HORNS’ or ‘SHORN’ or ‘S-HORN-S’ in black and white, and ‘TO THE FORE,’ quivering with seismic formatting, behave as unapologetic provocations to the reader. Their affect is confirmed by the project’s extension of craft beyond the word: to the physical object and to the website documenting their existence.
I’ve been meaning to write this review for a year – in fact, there’s a wine stain on my copy and I can pinpoint the exact date that I first put it on my to-do list (i.e. engaged in other work → frustration → tipped glass). Despite all of my sideways swerving, a year is a good amount of time to let Beesley’s recurring bees swirl around the head; a year helps one to figure out their tune. Or, as the poet writes, ‘It’s not about bees. There are no bees.’ Have I tipped the wine glass again?
Sometimes irritating, often informative, occasionally incisive and sporadically genuinely interrogatory, the thoughtfulness evinced by (many of) the writings collected in Poetry and the Trace triggers further chains of association and dissociation. This is a genuinely critical collection in various senses of that word: at once analytic, hortatory, and urgent.
Displacement is apparent both geographically and textually in Letters from Ausland by Louis Armand, The Vision of Error by John Kinsella (subtitled, ‘A Sextet of Activist Poems’) and marionette by jessica l. wilkinson (written here all in lower-case and subtitled, ‘a biography of miss marion davies’). All three poets are or have been editors of literary magazines: Armand edits VLAK, out of Prague; Kinsella, SALT; and Wilkinson, Rabbit (why does this name always remind me of Wittgenstein’s drawing of a rabbit that can also be perceived as a duck?) Armand and Kinsella have also collaborated on a number of books.
This panel from the NonfictioNow Conference 2012 – at RMIT University and in partnership with Iowa University and Barbara Bedell, the Copyright Agency Limited, the Wheeler Centre and ABC Radio National – explores and discusses the potential of ‘nonfiction poetry’ …
never the same night—never the same light in the feet dark devil in the heel the dress got wet— i cut it off—i lost control—rolled off the bed // the fault was all stylus— how it beat the rhythm out …
One of the sequences produced by the collaborative entity, A Constructed World, renders the phrases ‘No need to be great’ and ‘Stay in Groups’ in a range of media – silk-stitch, screen print, photography and painting. One of the painted versions of the image shows a naked woman covered in yellow post-it notes overseen by a hulking, shadowy male. These figures represent the artists Jacqueline Riva and Geoff Lowe. The image appears again in the form of a photograph and the installation was staged in various places around the world – as if the only way to get the message across would be to subject it to constant repetition in as many different formats as possible. Indeed, a number of the collective’s performances and installations attest to the impossibility of communication – even as these take the form of images that can’t fail to deliver. Avant Spectacle A Micro Medicine Show, 2011, features skeleton-costumed performers inexpertly singing and playing instruments while six knee-high wooden letters – S, P, E, E, C and H – burn like small condemned buildings at front of stage.
The verse novel is a peculiar organism: descended from the sweeping epics that chronicled the birth of nations and the misadventures of wayward heroes, we can still find characters struggling on their ‘grand’ journey – likely to be a personal, emotional and/or psychological journey – with the occasional battle scene (though, this is more likely to take place on a much smaller, personal level). As a distinctly modern form, there is certainly much less aggrandisement of the natural world via mythical and magical hyperbole in the verse novel.