Well, things may quieten here over the next week, as tomorrow I head off to Varuna to soak in silence and see what bubbles to the surface. One week of solid, uninterrupted writing, sitting at Eleanor Dark’s desk in her studio overlooking the magnificent gardens. Sounds amazing when I say it, though, a little daunting at the same time…
Good friend and fine poet, Nathan Shepherdson jokingly said it’s an opportunity to go Chris Gayle (cricket reference for all those wondering) style and write 100 poems in the week, but as I said, a well crafted 30 would do me just fine.
One thing is for sure, I will be sharing the odd poem here over the coming weeks… and hopefully a postcard in the next few days.
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.
There seems to be exciting opportunities popping up all over the place for poets at the moment, and to add to the mix Varuna have joined forces with Picaro Press and the Byron Bay Writers Festival to come up with two great opportunities for poets.
This includes the opportunity to be published in a new anthology of poetry and also the opportunity for two new or emerging writers to have a collection of their work published by Picaro Press. Both the anthology and the individual collections will be launched at the 2010 Byron Bay Writers Festival and travel and accommodation expenses will be included for the two poets who will have their collections published.
Applications are now being accepted and close on Friday April 30. For full details visit the Varuna Writers’ House website.