7 October 2013

How to get rid of the layer of snow

Published in Rabbit #5 (Rabbit's a quarterly journal of non-fiction poetry)

HOW TO GET RID OF THE LAYER OF SNOW

Anne Kellas


1. First observe it.
Apply your cooling-glasses to it.
The pebble ones, rounded at the edge.
The snow will fall off.
If it doesn’t, see 2.

2. Shoot the snow, scatter it.
With your pellet gun.
The shards will break up and mix with the grey.

3. Poetry’s not allowed to have “shards” in it anymore.
(Ref. Twitter, yesterday, CA.)

4. I know the layer of snow is still there
because I saw it overnight
in its pale dressing-gown.
Loitering.

5. I wanted to say “moon” somewhere.
But the image would not fit with “a layer of snow”.
It’s hard to fit things to one dimension,
to a flat surface.


6. When the layer of snow is gone
it will appeal to you.
“Appeal”. Not pleading.
It will have a face as fresh
as a cloud.
I mean, child.
It will swim.

7. My Operas can’t Swim
(Manfred Jurgensen, via Val Vallis,
Brisbane flood, 1974, cf. Notes, p.79.)
Enough syllables per line/break?

8. As the layer of snow melts,
two things
or one of two things, will happen: your poems will get
shorter. No.
Your poems will get longer.

9. Once you’ve got rid of the layer of snow
you’ll be able to see your lyrical aura.
Then the circle will be complete.
You must, they say,
get rid of your lyrical aura.
Then you’ll be safe from the predatory black line
visible now the snow has melted.

Or perhaps,
safe from the predatory line break, visible now.

At least begin each line with a capital letter.

10. Write on the line.
And the thin black words will vanish.

26 August 2013

Reading for pleasure, reading for writing and reading for publication

Reading for pleasure, reading for writing and reading for publication

This brief article by David Musgrave about the poetry of J K Murphy, Les Murray and John Kinsella makes conscious the processes we as poets adopt when "reading" poetry.

"... where is the cutting edge? Where is the poetic wave breaking? There is no pat answer to this, but being at least aware of the question I try to read as widely as I can and (whether or not I like them) I am familiar with many different schools and styles of poetry. Having published on post-modernism, deconstruction and linguistic theory as well as having read widely in those areas, I am able to rely to a certain extent on some theoretical underpinnings to my judgements, but inevitably there will be gaps. Moreover, with two hundred or so books of poetry being published in Australia each year, it is nigh-on impossible for an individual to keep abreast of all developments in Australian, let alone English,language poetry. What would help?"
Musgrave's "notes" go a long way towards answering these and other questions. The article is at:
http://www.academia.edu/4318769/Reading_for_pleasure_reading_for_writing_and_reading_for_publication_notes_on_murphy_murray_and_kinsella

25 July 2013

'Poets and Painters: A Tribute to Dick Bett' opens at the Bett Gallery, 6pm Friday 2 August

'Poets and Painters: A Tribute to Dick Bett'
Bett Gallery, North Hobart
Opens 6pm on Friday 2 August.

The exhibition is a tribute to Dick Bett AM, who initiated and ran the Poets & Painters exhibitions as part of the Bett Gallery exhibition program for 25 years. The exhibitions united his love of the visual arts and poetry – they were "always very successful and positive events", writes Carol Bett.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM, Emeritus Professor in the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne, will open the exhibition.

Poet/painter pairs featured:

Adrienne Eberhard & Sue Lovegrove
Alexander Okenyo & Heather B Swann
Andrew Harper & Julie Gough
Andrew Sant & Jane Burton
Anne Kellas & Pat Hall
Anne Morgan & Sally Rees
Arjun von Caemmerer & Tom Samek
Ben Walter & Richard Wastell
Cameron Hindrum & Philip Wolfhagen
Edith Speers & Ian Bonde
Gina Mercer & Barbie Kjar
Graeme Hetherington & David Keeling
James Charlton & Imants Tillers
Jane Williams & Pat Brassington
Jim Everett & Geoff Dyer
Karen Knight & Michael Schlitz
Katherine Lomer & Pat Grieve
Lindsay Pope (NZ) & Peter James Smith
Liz McQuilkin & Jonathan Kimberley
Louise Oxley & Troy Ruffels
Lyn Reeves & Helen Wright
Nancy Mauro-Flude & Joel Crosswell
Nick Whittock & Rob O’Connor
Pete Hay & Tom O’Hern
Raymond Arnold
Richard Flanagan & Kevin Perkins
Robyn Mathison & Irene Briant
Sarah Day & Stephanie Tabram
Sue Moss & Amber Koroluk-Stephenson
Susan Austin & Amanda Davies
Tim Thorne & Tim Burns

Accompanying the exhibition is an essay by Dr David Hansen, currently Senior Researcher at Sotherby's and a writer and curator of many significant exhibitions.

Proceedings will include readings by some of the featured poets. The exhibition art works and readings will spill over from the Bett Gallery into the North Hobart precinct.

Master of Ceremonies: Andrew Harper
Accompanying essay by Dr David Hansen
Exhibition continues to 23 August 2013

POETRY READINGS
Friday 2 August from 6pm

Saturday 3 August from 3pm

6 July 2013

Aesthetica competition

Aesthetica Magazine's creative writing competition "offers both existing and aspiring writers the chance to showcase their work to a wider, international audience".

Now in its sixth year, the competition "celebrates and nurtures creative talent", inviting writers to submit imaginative and original work (in either the poetry or the short fiction category).

Prizes include £500 prize money, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual and a selection of books from partner organisations.

Submissions previously published elsewhere are accepted and the deadline for entries is 31 August 2013. For more information, visit http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/creativewriting.

23 June 2013

Blogging with Paulo Freire

For those who blog or love blogs, "Blogging with Paulo Freire" is Steve Wheeler's interpretation of some of Paulo Freire's ideas, drawn from 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed'. Wheeler takes six key points from Freire to illustrate how they "might apply to the art of educational blogging" -- but to me they apply for anyone engaged in blogging.
(Photo by Steve Wheeler)

8 March 2013

Why poetry matters: A conversation between Rob Adamson and Tony Barnstone, 20/3/2013

Coming up: "Why Poetry Matters" -- A conversation between two multi award-winning poets, followed by readings from their latest books.

* Robert Adamson, UTS CAL Chair of Poetry and
* Tony Barnstone, the Albert Upton Professor and Chair of English at Whittier College, California.

Chair: Kate Middleton, the first City of Sydney Poet

Date: Wednesday, 20 March
Time: 5.30 p.m.

Venue: Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building,
State Library of New South Wales
Macquarie Street, Sydney

Presented by the UTS Centre for New Writing
RSVP: Veronica.Scicluna@uts.edu.au by 18 March 2013

(Source: Robert Adamson's Facebook page, viewed 8 March 2013)

22 November 2012

Everyday heroes

For the past week, I have been honoured to have been the poet in residence at a conference of emergency physicians. The EDs as they call themselves, held their annual scientific meeting in Hobart. http://www.cdesign.com.au/acem2012/ 

The convenor and professor of emergency medicine at UTAS, Prof. Geoff Couser, 
@GeoffCouser titled the event, the Art and Science of Emergency Medicine. 

It's hard to describe the effect on me: the deeply moving themes that the conference gave rise to have left me exhausted. 

The delegates shared their photography and writings about their daily lives (private and professional), and by the end of the conference, a rich tapestry of the happiness, grief, trauma and frustration of their lives was on full display in the conference foyer. 

The interactive art display allowed delegates to explore the conference theme through an interactive art project that included photos, poems, handwritten doodles, comments, sticky notes, hospital gloves scrawled with words and images, you name it. The doctors shared snapshots of their lives mountain-climbing, playing rock music, growing their own vegetables, nurturing their families, alongside their acerbic comments expressing passionate concerns about policy issues and the constraints imposed on their profession by forces outside their hospitals' four walls. All these jostled for space on the interactive art display's surfaces.

The art project was jointly curated by Dr. Farida Khawaj, an Emergency Registrar at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and Sara Wright, Artist Consultant at Silver Lining Projects in Hobart. Farida and Sara had invited me into their artistic space to provide a quiet area for reflection for the delegates, which I peopled with poetry books on loan from poets in Hobart including some from my own collection. 

It was thrilling to see people pick up James Charlton's collection, Luminous Bodies, along with Blake and John Donne. To be asked to find particular poems like Robert Frost's "The Road less travelled". To be told how much a delegate had enjoyed discovering the poetry of Tasmanian poet Kathryn Lomer.  

I had printed out some poems by a wide variety of poets for the display but my goal was to see these overtaken by delegates' writing – eventually, this began to happen, as delegates either emailed their contributions to the art project curators, or brought along newly penned, hand-written poems to share.

Encounters with grief and loss are frequent; the pressure of expectations, time and life-and-death issues fill these professionals' lives. In one of the conference sessions, one of the art project curators Sarah Wright recounted her own story of loss, moving the audience to tears. This opened the way for  delegates to use the interactive artistic space to share their own experiences in emergency departments. As the four days progressed, delegates' submissions of poetry began to be submitted. Some were submitted anonymously, some were proudly named, and some found their way into the "wrap up" at the end of the conference given by Dr Farida Khawaj.

Some delegates had loaned their own precious hand-made poetry notebooks for the exhibition area, notebooks where their favourite poems had carefully been pasted in; a doodle book with drawings in ink and coloured pen accompanied aphorisms to make powerful statements about a life deeply lived. A life deeply lived: this is the crucible for doctors of emergency medicine. In the opening plenary session, Jane Clark,  a Curatorial Consultant from MONA, made the important point that those engaged in the arts share one crucial thing in common with those engaged in the sciences: a deep appreciation of the human condition.

(Also see http://demted.com/2012/11/art-and-science-of-em-back-to-leonardo-and-to-our-patients/
and http://goo.gl/iHcSw )

I was aware that for many delegates, attending the conference, and visiting Hobart was a respite of a kind, and was careful not to overwhelm them with my own enthusiasm for writing: often I felt it best to stand aside and allow the delegate to enter the poetry space, find a chair and relax in the quiet atmosphere surrounded by poetry books. Perhaps I was too reticent, but I felt it was important to allow the delegates to own the space. However I tried to engage as many of the delegates in conversation as I could without being a pest. Some were determinedly unwilling to make eye-contact with a poet. Others sought me out. I respected both attitudes equally.

When we talked about poetry, all too often I heard stories about negative experiences at school, where poetry is often taught ineptly, sadly leaving people with a life-long aversion for poetry, or at the very least, a notion that it is hard to understand.

I also heard of their inner doubts about their own writing's validity, or about their difficulties with switching from the rigours of academic writing to the freedom of creative writing. Others were keen to begin their journey in writing.

How such busy people as doctors of emergency medicine find any time at all time to write, let alone reflect, meditate or do any kind of writing or journalling is a mystery to me. Ira Progoff's journalling method to help people in all walks of life access creativity, and James Pennebaker's research on the health benefits of writing, were some of the resources I felt I could share with these brilliant minds.

We needed more time to deal with issues raised in these conversations and only skimmed the surface, but a start has been made for many, I hope, to explore writing as a valid process for reflection and a tool for creative expression.

Writing, and engaging with the writing process, cannot be hurried: four days is not enough to engender in a person a love of writing. However, sitting here at home tonight, staring at my screen and looking at the Twitter feed for #ACEM2012, I feel thankful that I could participate, and that for some a start in writing has been made, and that for others, an affirmation of their private writing lives has been achieved. 

Thank you #ACEM2012 for involving me in your wonderful conference.
You are all everyday heroes ...

10 May 2012

P-QUEUE: Essays and extensions from poetry to prose

About  P-QUEUE

If you are a computer nerd, you will know what PERL regular expressions are.

If you are a poet, you might have realised you are at times writing code.

In an article, "Regular expressions as a system of poetic notation" Dan Waber puts the two together. Despite not being a computer nerd I was able to read it and was intrigued to read more about the journal P-QUEUE. It's been around since 2003.

Its editorial focus is to "investigate the overlaps and departures between the prose line and that of verse."
"For the last three years, P-QUEUE has tried to prepare a place for the anxious object -- that which can’t decide if it’s poem or prose, text or image, spoken or written, found, made, or given, essay about or itself a poetics. We especially privilege work that through this anxiety asks us, shows us, or turns us to the questions of how to live in, live among, and live as human subjects. Which is to say, what we look for -- what we do -- is care. (Andrew Rippeon,  P-QUEUE editorial, 2008)

A journal for non-fiction poetry

I REALLY like the idea of non-fiction poetry and find RABBITPOETRY an interesting enterprise.

"RABBIT publishes all things poetry, including reviews, essays and interviews. The inaugural issue of RABBIT was launched in Melbourne on Saturday, 9th July 2011 at Bella Union as part of the Poetry & the Contemporary Symposium. The issue is available for purchase online through the Melbourne University Bookshop website, and will be distributed throughout all good Melbourne and Australian bookshops ..." More please.

30 March 2012

Andrew Burke: Undercover of lightness, New and Selected Poems (Walleah Press)

WA poet and academic Andrew Burke's latest collection, Undercover of lightness, New and Selected Poems, is the first cab off the rank for Ralph Wessman's new-look Walleah Press poetry series. It was launched in Tasmania last night at the Hobart Bookshop.

"Here is a poet to hail and to treasure" says Thomas Shapcott in the cover notes, which also have tributes from poets as diverse as Geoff Page, Jill Jones and Kit Kelen.

Now that Ralph Wessman is no longer going to be editing the valiant small magazine, famous reporter, he's focusing on poetry books and his list already sounds pretty full. This is an excellent start to his new endeavour. http://walleahpress.com.au/

Vale Adrienne Rich

Sadly, Adrienne Rich has died. I heard this from poet Andrew Burke last night.

One of my most favourite books on writing is her book, "What is found there: Notebooks on poetry and politics" ... of which Nadine Gordimer had said:
 

"In her vision of warning and her celebration of life, Adrienne Rich is the Blake of American letters"

 I must confess I did not like her final collection, Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 2004-2006, Norton (New York, NY 2007)  But perhaps that is just my taste. It felt unfinished, as if I were reading unedited notebooks. Maybe that was her intention. I need to find that out.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/adrienne-rich

"When I was a poet"

"When I was a poet" by David Meltzer, charmingly reviewed at:  
http://htmlgiant.com/author-spotlight/when-i-was-a-poet/#more-86317

23 March 2012

Poetry interludes on Mondays and Saturdays at The Afterword Cafe, Fullers Bookshop

On Mondays and Saturdays I am cafe poet at the Afterword Cafe (inside Fullers Bookshop) and welcome interruptions and questions: I will be sitting there writing and hoping that some poetry question(er)s come my way from 9:30 until about 12:30 (Sometimes I leave earlier if the cafe needs more table-space :)

24 February 2012

An update to my post about Vladislavic's The Loss Library

An update to my earlier post about Ivan Vladislavic's new book,
The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories

Also see his "Labour of Moles" http://bit.ly/AkVPSW

Ron Slate's written a good article on The Loss Library, at:
http://www.ronslate.com/loss_library_and_other_unfinished_stories_ivan_vladislavi_seagull_books_university_chicago_press

"The Loss Library is a beautifully made book. Illustrations by Sunandini Bannerjee are tipped into the opening pages of chapters – their distortions, suggestions and incompletions complement the author’s intent and style. There is a sly slightness to the book, an airiness that inspires wonder about the elusive narratives all around us."
The Loss Library is published by the University of Chicago Press and by Umuzi, Randomstruik in South Africa

23 February 2012

A lesson in line breaks

The written poem: Semiotic Conventions from Old to Modern English by Rosemary Huisman uses a poem of mine, "For Z, under house arrest in Johannesburg 1988" to exemplify "graphic iconicity" and now I think I know what that might mean through an error I made when including the poem a decade later in a collection of mine.

The poem deals with the personal horror that I imagined someone might go through in political detention through house-arrest in the apartheid years. "Banning orders" were imposed on people to silence them and were one of the ways the then nationalist government sought to suppress the anti-apartheid movement within South Africa.

Here's how the poem appears in both Huisman's book, and how it had originally appeared in Island (n.40, 1989, under Andrew Sant's editorship).


Z, under house arrest in Johannesburg, 1988.

I take
my prison with me
any
four walls


any old town will do.


You
may come to me
one at a time.
That's
the game.


I don't do crowd scenes.

No words
I write
may reach you.
And these
are banning orders


stripes of shadow across your path.

For reasons known only to an earlier version of myself, I changed the poem ten years later when I put it into my second book. I realise now that those changes I made undid the very thing that Rosemary Huisman had praised the poem for.  


Here's the later Isolated States version (as published in Isolated States in 2001)


Poem for Z, under house arrest
Johannesburg, 1988.



I take my prison with me.
Any four walls,


any old town
will do.


You may come to me
one at a time.


That's the game.
I don't do crowd scenes.


I define myself
endlessly.


I put my prison down and rest.
No words I write may reach you.


And these are what banning orders look like:
stripes of shadow across your path.


Looking at the two versions today, I believe the first version is right, and not only because an academic judged it to be so. I feel that the weariness of someone in detention and something of the haphazard chaos that has befallen them are better captured in the original version, with its broken lines and odd "shape".

This really makes me wonder at the difference between the "poet's mind" and the "editor's mind" and at the blindness that can come when one has worked at a poem for too long: how to keep to the original vision and not flinch from the logical corrections that spring to mind ...?

The Sun Fish

The Sun Fish by Irish poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin has a special place in my study.

A gift from my Queensland poet friend Pam Schindler, it's a book I return to again and again. In reading her work, I feel as if I have held in my hands some rare and marvellous thing. I don't get that feeling very often. It's perfect poem-stuff.

Matthew Sweeney's right when he says in his review of The Sun Fish, that there is no one else in Irish poetry or poetry elsewhere, writing like this. She is unique.

What I treasure in her is her integrity in sticking to her own vision, in trusting her reader to come to her poems in their own space and to understand the symbols of her world without the poet having to step in with words of explanation, context, and all the gravitas of "situation".

"In order for the poem to get written, something has to happen."
(Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin paraphrased by Matthew Sweeney in his review of The Sun Fish)
We can feel that something has happened and that this is deeply felt experience, but transmuted.

Her poems are alive with a strange light from another world, and yet they are also pegged down to a reality that one can feel and experience like a taste on the roof of one's mouth.

Her work epitomises for me the dictum that poetry has to change something.
Otherwise, why write it at all?

22 February 2012

Congratulations to Karen Knight for her entry in Villanelles ( Everyman Library Pocket Poets series)

Hearty congratulations to Karen Knight: a villanelle from her collection, Postcards from the Asylum, has been included in a collection of villanelles edited by Annie Finch and Marie-Elizabeth Mali, due to be  published by Random House in the prestigious Everyman Library Pocket Poets series in March 2012.

Postcards from the Asylum's publisher Lyn Reeves of Pardalote Press writes:
Karen’s poem appears in the lofty company of poets such as Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Rita Dove and Paul Muldoon.

Source: Lyn Reeves's Pardalote Press blog, Fortyspot 

Conversations in the mountains

I really thought I had posted a piece about Paul Celan here, but apparently not. In attempting to rewrite what I thought I had written I have come across far better appraisals of his work than I could ever hope to write: so here they are:

Translating Paul Celan from Poetry International
How can one translate something that is untranslatable?  Paul Celan has often been accused of being hermetic in his poetry.  He himself said that was not the case.  His writing is pregnant with incomprehensible grief and longing.  One who reads Celan is left feeling the pain of Celan’s experience living through the Holocaust, his survivor’s guilt, and his anger toward Germany for her silence over the atrocities that occurred during the war.

Someone commenting on the above writes: "great poets deserve many translators" and so for me the best collection is this:

Paul Celan: Selections, edited by Pierre Joris

This is one of the most compelling books of poetry I have read for a long long time and thank you Hobart poet Benny Walter for pointing this edition out to me. I have long been a fan of Celan and for those not familiar with his work, this small collection is described as the "best introduction to the work of Paul Celan". It "offers a broad collection of his writing in unsurpassed English translations along with a wealth of commentaries by major writers and philosophers.

"(Selections is based on Celan's own 1968 selected poems, though enlarged to include both earlier and later poems, as well as two prose works, The Meridian, Celan's core statement on poetics, and the narrative Conversation in the Mountains. This volume also includes letters to Celan's wife, the artist Gisèle Celan-Lestrange; to his friend Erich Einhorn; and to René Char and Jean-Paul Sartre—all appearing here for the first time in English." (University of California Press website).

This collection is also included in an elite listing of "Books for the Millennium" on the University of California press website


JM Coetzee's review of a biography of Celan (from the NY review of books)
Review of Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew  by John Felstiner.

(I'll be adding to this post in a short while)

Ads

I have decided to add a Google adsense feature to this blog. However it seems I have attracted the strangest of adverts. I hope this won't put readers off.

Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther

Last night I finished reading Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther. It had been on my bedside reading table for ages. Well, it was just as heavy as I had anticipated it would be.

It's interesting that, as his literary career progressed, Goethe had distanced himself from the Sorrows of Young Werther, and that towards the end of his life,  he was saddened to find that the many of those who  came to visit him as an old man had only ever read his Werther.

Werthe had catapulted Goethe to fame at the age of 24 and had made him one of the world's first international literary celebrities. As a literary work, it heralded the "Sturm und Drang" movement, and influenced the later Romantic literary movement.

It was also responsible for a lot of young people going about with an air of romantic yearning and sporting blue jackets like the novel's hero, and, alas, tragically copying his suicide. On that score, I was alarmed at the young Goethe's approach to this subject matter and his apparently cavalier attitude to his hero, and at how graphically he describes Werther's end. It's an utterly ruthless portrayal of youth suicide, but one has to remember, it's also a portrayal of his own very emotional torment as a young man in love with someone who would never be his.

The novel includes a long passage where Goethe translates a portion of James Macpherson's Ossian cycle of poems (which were originally presented as translations of ancient works, but were later found to have been written by Macpherson himself, according to Wikipedia).

21 February 2012

Next cafe poet day: Saturday at 11

I won't be at the cafe on Wednesday 22nd February after all ....

It is quite amazing how much work I am getting done being a cafe poet. It just shows how putting in some dedicated time yields good fruit.

I am also enjoying the poetry conversations that the program enables, and hope there will be more of them.

From my conversations with people, it seems time is the biggest enemy of reading. Sadly.

16 February 2012

Saturday poems at Fullers Bookshop's Afterword cafe

On Saturday I'll be at Fullers Bookshop's Afterword cafe from 11 until 2 p.m.  I'd be happy to share a poem in progress (yours or mine) over a cup of coffee, or to help you find a good poetry book to buy from the very tempting poetry shelves in the bookshop.  http://www.fullersbookshop.com.au/events

John Kinsella: 'What I do and don't look for in a poem when selecting for a literary journal'

The latest edition of Island contains an interesting “Manifesto” from the Australian poet John Kinsella, who now lives abroad.

In his short essay, Kinsella outlines what he believes about poetry, what he thinks about poetry competitions, and what he believes it is that makes a poem worthy of consideration by a journal editor.

As John Kinsella is now Island's poetry editor, his article will be of great interest to those poets intending to submit poems to that magazine – but to say as much is to go against the main point of Kinsella's manifesto: he argues for a more rigorous approach by poets as to how they decide on what to journal editors. He urges poets simply to send the poems they have faith in, not the poems they think will suit a particular editor. But he has a lot more to say than that. You can read Kinsella's manifesto online on the Island website.
 [PDF]
 John Kinsella - 'What I do and don't look for in a poem when selecting for a literary journal' (Manifesto)

A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology

As I sit in Fullers Bookshop writing as Cafe Poet, there are many temptations around me.

Here is one very special book: A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry

This collection of 300 poems from writers around the world is selected and edited by the poet and Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz. He brings together poets from poets all over the world and places poets who are very different from each other in terms of their geography, culture, and time period alongside each other. The 11th Century Chinese poet Su Tung P'o sits alongsids 20th Century American poet Robert Morgan for instance. Milosz uses broad themes as an organisation structure for the anthology: I don't especially like this "organising" but educators might find it useful: the broad categories representing the themes he finds in the poems are, for example, “Nature,” “People among People,” “The Secret of a Thing”, “Travel”, “History” ...

Milosz’s introduction, and his notes that head each section of the anthology, make the anthology very informative. He also explains how he arrived at the poets he selected for the anthology:

“My proposition consists in presenting poems, whether contemporary or a thousand years old, that are, with few exceptions, short, clear, readable, and, to use a compromised term, realist, that is, loyal toward reality and attempting to describe it as concisely as possible. This they undermine the widely held opinion that poetry is a misty domain eluding understanding. I act like an art collector who, to spite the devotees of abstract art, arranges an exhibition of figurative painting, putting together canvases from various epochs to prove, since those from the past and from the present meet in an unexpected way, that certain lines of development, different from those now universally accepted, can be traced.”

Some of the poets included are: Philip Levine (currently US poet laureate), Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Denise Levertov, Wang Wei, Tu Fu, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Seamus Heaney, Antonio Machado, Franz Wright, Linda Gregg, Constantine Cavafy, May Swenson, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson – and many many more.

(Review adapted by Anne Kellas from the Poet.org webpage about this anthology.)


A Labour of Moles, by Ivan Vladislavic

A Labour of Moles
by Ivan Vladislavic

A Labour of Moles takes the reader into a realm utterly alien and at the same time as familiar as the letters forming the words on the page and the very building-blocks of fiction."
To say more is to spoil a very very special reading experience.
I read this today in one sitting
I showed it to my son as I sat writing in the cafe today and he instantly wanted to borrow it .. Now I can't wait to get it back and read it again.
More please, Ivan, more ...

More about this publisher and the Cahiers series:

Sylph editions, based in London, are publishers of
"fiction, monographs, theoretical essays, limited-edition art and photo-graphy books, and different forms of experimental writing. The publications are presented either as individual books or as an ongoing series. The emphasis is on works in which image and text coexist, conceived as one. Every work is meticulously produced, care given equally to content and to form."

The Cahiers series is published jointly by Sylph Editions and The Center for Writers &  Translators at the American University of Paris.

The goal of this series is to make available new explorations in writing, in translating, and in the areas linking these two activities.

Cahiers can be bought individually or in a boxed set of six at a reduced price.