Christmas delivered some truly amazing artefacts and experiences, the most incredible of which is a fully paid week at Varuna, The Writers House in The Blue Mountains, gifted by my lovely wife and son. The magnitude of it hasn’t really settled as yet, but it is giving the new year a mighty bright glow. Here’s a pic of the house and its surrounds.
The thought of a week with nothing to do but write has got my insides simmering.
Two other incredible gifts I received were, Cut-Ups, Cut-Ins, Cut-Outs: The Art of William S. Burroughs and The ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound. I have been busily reading ‘Cut-Ups’ and have fallen in love with Burroughs all over again. His intellect and fervor for experimentation produced some of the most groundbreaking work we are ever likely to see.
Reading an essay by Barry Miles, The Future Leaks Out: A Very Magical and Highly Charged Interludes I was energised by the idea that all writing is a ‘cut-up’ and that the cut-up technique lets the future leak out. After reading, I put the technique (or a permutation of it) to work using two poems by Ezra Pound – The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter and The Return – and two poems by Robert Adamson – Letter to Joanne Kyger and Bolinas Bay, An Ode to see what happened when these minds met. Why these minds, you may ask? Well, when I had the privilege of spending some time with Robert Adamson at this year’s QLD Poetry Festival, he spoke at length about Pound’s book, The ABC of Reading and how it is was his poetry education (and now, it will now add to mine).
With this knowledge, I was excited to bring the two poets together and see what leaked out. Here’s one result.
You came by on bamboo stilts;
the monkeys made sorrowful
noise overhead, sniffing the tide of air.
I looked up at the dome of your sky
as half-awakened; an animal spirit
called to a thousand times.
I desired my dust to be mingled
with yours, leaving traces of
silver powder on the globe.
The two of us walking through
a future we’d not actually lived
forever and forever and forever.