Justin Clemens



Introduction to Astrid Lorange’s Labour and Other Poems

This book is titled Labour and Other Poems. Just as Astrid Lorange speaks of building a poetics – intensive and intentional – as a way of perceiving the world of relations in their shadow, every poem here requests an attentiveness to the multiple relations of our lives, to the entwining of senses and references.

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Ken Bolton’s Suburbia, an Introduction

This is going to be a rather disordered list of undeveloped and not closely connected thoughts about ‘the suburban’ and its binary partner ‘the urban’. Not my thoughts, for the most part, but my list of thoughts generally available.

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MATHEMATICS Editorial

I was already quite a few years into a creative writing PhD titled ‘Generic Engineering’ and flailing around quite spectacularly in a galaxy of words when an academic friend, perhaps hoping to spare me the indignity of a completed thesis and potential employment, flipped to the middle of the 526-page book he was reading and wordlessly pointed to a single sentence. ‘Due to a predilection whose origin I will leave it up to the reader to determine,’ he read, ‘I will choose the symbol ♀ for this inscription.’

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The Idea Takes Place As Place Itself, Expanded and Revised Edition with a New Foreword by the Author

“From where did topos theory come?” that is the question. Usually God Alone poses rhetorical questions that answer themselves unlike logic. Also: self-answer, self-slaughter. It came from an unblessed contingent confluence of algebraic geometry and category theory given further decisive …

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Review Short: Writing to the Wire, Dan Disney and Kit Kelen, eds.

Hannah Arendt clearly noted it: a dog with a name-tag has a better chance of surviving than an anonymous dog. She also noted that the alleged protections offered by legal and moral rights – human or otherwise – would only be made available to those who did not need them. The right to have rights would be stripped from the rest; they would be consigned to the worst.

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Cordite Book Launch: Loney, Gibson, Hawke, Harkin

Collected Works Bookstore, Wednesday 6 May, 2015 I will begin with a bit of spontaneous resentful metaphysics. I am sorry to do so, for a number of reasons, but there we are. If it can be justified at all, it …

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Against Colony Collapse Disorder; or, Settler Mess in the Cells of Contemporary Australian Poetry

Colony collapse disorder describes a phenomenon whereby worker bees suddenly and inexplicably disappear from a hive. It has recently been identified as a syndrome following the rapid vanishing of Western honeybee colonies across North America and Europe. Justin Clemens also uses the term to describe an aesthetic collapse, whereby poets can only demonstrate their existence as ‘being caught dead’ given the fragile conditions of poetry and the inevitable, deadly effects of the past.

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madam, i’m adam: noah’s nose knows no gnosis: physis machine: …

madam, i’m adam: noah’s nose knows no gnosis: physis machine: i, cassandra: romano umano: ++: (black out): ares & aphrodite: renaissance: cc: evo-revo: wah wah wah: clones, drones, loans & moans: the drowned world Trace nit up yap at start, …

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Justin Clemens Reviews Poetry and the Trace

Poetry and the TraceSometimes 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.

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Review Short: Paul Magee’s Stone Postcard

Stone PostcardUnlike the recent Australian governmental fervour for signs of title (British, monarchist, hierarchical) and their accompanying anathemas contra entitlement (Australian, social democratic, welfarist), poetry titles struggle with self-authorization and singularisation.

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me n me trumpet set the controls

me n me trumpt have unccontably misplacd our new grindr so we take to the streets clutchin our big bouncy baglettes of beans we bought in bulk from a boutique boutique in brunswick extracted from the rectum of a nut-mental …

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Mathew Abbott Reviews Justin Clemens

MundiadWhat was mock epic? I use the past tense because the genre is thought to have died in the nineteenth century. According to a recent study by Professor Ritchie Robertson, a Queen’s College fellow and Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature at Oxford University, mock epic died because epic lost its authoritative status: it was only possible to write a real mock epic in a time ‘when serious epics were being written and read in large numbers, manag[ing] to attain a position of cultural authority remotely comparable to that of Homer, Virgil, or Milton.’ Mock epic needed something prestigious to mock; when the epic lost its prestige mock epic lost its reason for being.

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Justin Clemens Reviews Pam Brown

Home by DarkWhat does it mean to be ‘Home by Dark’? Is it a parental instruction to a potentially wayward child? Is it an expression of relief after a day of threat and uncertainty? Is it a navigational expression, a crepuscular refiguration of ‘North by North-West’? Is it a simple description of an accomplished movement, or another possibility altogether? To open this book is not to find such questions answered; it is rather to move and be moved with and by somebody who, as the epigraph from Kevin Davies has it, is prepared to ‘just keep staring into that English-language night sky.’

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Justin Clemens Reviews Pam Brown and Ken Bolton

Brown and BoltonIf there is one true love in the history of Australian verse, it’s perhaps the love of Pam Brown and Ken Bolton. As you should expect, it’s not a normal kind of love at all – or maybe it’s the only normal love, depending on how you’re predisposed to taking the word or the thing (‘normal,’ I mean), and depending whether you think you can tell the difference between the two (‘word’ and ‘thing,’ I mean).

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Brief Treatise on Molecular Logology

I told, ah, I, de tale. Tops pun in order to span pin, a rack limned, dim nib spool spins — artist in pot, smirk, cab. But wend or walk, come home, line won, wash all, I’d well lack cack …

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Wandering through the Universal Archive

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.

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A disjoint, truncated tale of a war between war and peace, comprising diverse developments of sexual perversion and environmental military hardware, which culminates or concludes, rather more calumniatory than acclamatory, in a veritable orgy of elite tourism, boutique comestibles, property investment portfolios, and marketing sallies, all those grandiloquent techniques directed towards the incitation, inculcation, inflection and enhancement of primordial polymorphous psychophysical pleasures

No end if fits tail a swarm. Ra stops to house heat, lines rap across IP loco, torpedo, teargas. A ‘Parc de Nord’ spilled Om. Reeled inset ibis eats — flee it nude! Lite-sabre laser spots play about. Teats ahoy! …

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Enter Cordite Scholarly

Cordite Scholarly is a new section of Cordite Poetry Review devoted to peer-reviewed research on Australian and international poetry and poetics. Essays published in Cordite Scholarly are reviewed by at least two members of Cordite’s Academic Advisory Board (or see …

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The Mundiad Book V

The Argument: Having found ourselves unable to fulfill the promises pretentiously pronounced in The Argument of Book the Fourth of The Mundiad, we return once more unto the aforesaid breach of promise in order to essay its repair, an essay …

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Michael Farrell reviews 10,000 Monkeys

My apologies to the musicians: this won't be a music review. The music's purpose – from the point of view of the words, or lyrics, is serious, not ironic, though several of the tracks are happy-sounding, almost jaunty, emphasising that Clemens is enjoying himself. He's doing a fragment at least of what he wants – being a few monkeys. For the time being, we'll have to make do with anecdotes of ten thousand monkeys till Clemens works out how to be them, for that I think is his vision of freedom.

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