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Exhibition in the Shoalhaven

The artist tangled up in blue and other colours in the photo, Kurt Brereton, will be having an exhibition of recent work at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in Nowra from June 6th until July 4th. Click on the invitation for the opening and gallery location.

For more information about Kurt Brereton's work visit his website here.
And for his recent series of paintings and accompanying monograph click here.

Toward. Some. Air.
If you're in need of a remedy for any kinds of disaffection or disappointments relating to paranoid and probably true perceptions of a stealthy anomie that could be creeping up on the Australian poetry 'scene' then Toward. Some. Air. could be for you. The title of the book is taken from US poet Carla Harryman's 2005 prose text Baby - connoting heading towards a breath of fresh air. Even though concerned with Anglo-American-Canadian poetries (including indigenalities) I think this collection of writings has parallels that are useful to contemporary Australian poetry in general. Rather than promoting solutions the book offers serious consideration of contemporary poetry as a relevant force in the world-at-large.

The publisher's website describes the contents:
Remarks on Poetics of Mad Affect, Militancy, Feminism, De/motic Rhythms, Emptying, Intervention, Reluctance, Indigeneity, Immediacy, Lyric Conceptualism, Commons, Pastoral Margins, Desire, Ambivalence, Disability, The Digital, and Other Practices

Edited by Amy De’Ath and Fred Wah

Toward. Some. Air. is a landmark collection of profiles of contemporary poets, statements, essays, conversations about contemporary poetry and poetic practice, and a few exemplary poems selected by up-and-coming poet and scholar Amy De’Ath and Governor General’s Award-winning, former Parliamentary Poet Laureate Fred Wah. The over 40 contributors to this anthology are renowned poets and academics from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Toward. Some. Air. is an open invitation to consider the various contours and meanings of Anglophone poetic practice, as a way of interpreting the world around us. An invaluable critical resource with unprecedented scope, this is a book that speaks to the future of contemporary poetics and writing poetry.

Contributors: Caroline Bergvall, Anne Boyer, Sean Bonney & Steve Collis, Andrea Brady, Dionne Brand, Nicole Brossard, Louis Cabri, JR Carpenter, cris cheek, CA Conrad, Maria Damon, Amy De'Ath, Jeff Derksen, Liz Howard, Peter Jaeger, Reg Johanson, Justin Katko & Jow Lindsay, Larissa Lai, Peter Manson, Roy Miki, Nicole Markotic & Michael Davidson, Daphne Marlatt, Fred Moten, Eileen Myles, Hoa Nguyen, Sina Queyras, Lisa Robertson, Steven Ross Smith, Kaia Sand, Dale Smith, Christine Stewart, Keston Sutherland, Keith Tuma, Catherine Wagner, Fred Wah, Darren Wershler, Rita Wong & Kateri Akiwenxie-Damm, Rachel Zolf, David Jhave Johnston, Rita Wong.

About the editors:
Amy De’Ath, born in Suffolk, UK, is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University, where she researches Marxist Feminist poetics. She was previously based in London, UK and in 2011 was Poet in Residence at the University of Surrey. Her poetry books include Erec & Enide, Caribou, and Lower Parallel. She now lives in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

Fred Wah is from the Kootenay region of southeast British Columbia. He is best known for his biofiction, Diamond Grill (1966). Recent collections of poetry are Sentenced to Light, is a door, and The False Laws of Narrative. He was Canada’s fifth Parliamentary Poet Laureate and lives in Vancouver.

Published by Banff Centre Press - information here

thanks Eva-Lynn Jagoe for the book cover photo

        I Love the Whole World  Agnes Martin   1999

bookshelf ornaments
click on images to enlarge

Michael Farrell is an agile performer.
You feel there's a language being created here
and yet it's your own language.

                             LAURIE DUGGAN

   Michael Farrell looking for his pocket notebook at the launch of 'Cocky's Joy'
   with Astrid Lorange, Aden Rolfe, Sam Moginie at First Draft, Wooloomooloo, Sydney
   photo by Melissa Hardie 15.4.15

Michael Farrell has so much to say about Australian history, popular culture and the field of poetics in this often hilarious yet totally indubitable collection that you'll need to take a few days off work to read and ingest what's going on. It's a kinetic tour de force. US poet Forrest Gander says that Michael is "A pentathlete of innovative form" and that's spot on.

In her launch talk, amongst many other astute comments, Astrid Lorange said "I joke with Michael about the fact that he’s often described as the ‘premier’ experimental poet in Australia. We joke about the word premier, its bucreaucratised whiff of the avant-garde. We joke about the word experimental, here imagined as an aesthetics of ratbaggery or tomfoolery. We joke about the insistence of dominant modes of literary criticism to read contemporary innovations in poetry as difficult, obtuse, wilfully obscure, inaccessible, ‘academic’, or coded. We joke about this stuff because it is almost entirely irrelevant to the actuality of Michael’s work. As anyone who reads Michael will know, his poetry is – far from an attempt to lead as though into battle or office a pack of specialist-poets – an enormously generous contribution to the diverse and intersecting communities of practice that coalesce around questions, propositions, readerships, textualities, affections, socialities, and so on. Michael’s work, which in its spirit and discipline is a constant and intense gift, is ever-labouring towards a poetry that might continue, despite it all, as a liveable form of loving."

Published by Giramondo.

Looking west

Writer, poet & curator, John Mateer will be visiting Canberra and Sydney in April with a new book, The Quiet Slave. The book is the outcome of a two year long research project conducted as part of future recall at spaced2.

The Quiet Slave is an historical fiction set in the early 19th Century that describes the first years of settlement on the Cocos-Keeling Islands, an atoll – now an Australian Indian Ocean Territory – midway between Perth and Sri Lanka. The events are seen through the eyes of Rosie, a female Malay slave belonging to the controversial English colonial Alexander Hare. Hare employed John Clunies-Ross until conflict between them ultimately led to the abandonment of the Malays on the island for the next 140 years, during which period the islands belonged to the Clunies-Ross dynasty. Beyond simply describing the process of settlement of the uninhabited atoll, Rosie's story is an insight into the origin and lives of the slaves who, like her, were brought from various parts of the 'Malay Archipelago' and into the complex circumstances of the last days of Western slavery.

Conceived over a two-year period in the rural Western Australian town of Katanning and on the Cocos-Keeling Islands, the book is published in John Mateer's original English and the Malay translation of the Singaporean Nur-El-Hudda Jaffar. It is illustrated with a selection of photographs taken during one of the United Nations' decolonization mission to the islands in the 1980s.

A brief interview with John Mateer about the project -

For details of the book launch in Canberra
on Monday 13th April click here

For a seminar on the project at the Centre for Writing and Society
at University of Western Sydney
on Friday morning, April 17th click here

John Mateer has published several books of poetry & prose. He convened the 2013 symposium The Ambiguity of our Geography at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, as part In Confidence: Reorientations in Recent Art, the Indian Ocean-focused exhibition he curated for that institution. Currently he is an honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia, researching traces of the explorer William Dampier's voyages in Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels.

From the "condensery":

Lorine Niedecker's xmas gift to a friend, Maude Hartel, in 1964, A Cooking Book is a warmhearted humorous book of short (and typically 'whittled down') poems about the uses and preparation of certain foods, especially rutabaga (known in Australia as 'swedes') and sauerkraut. With plenty of advice and anecdotes from 'Al' and various asides from the poet this is a booklet to cherish.

       But Al seems to know
     about cooking - he grew up in
     the north woods near Paul
     Bunyan and ate close to
     the soil. He reads while he eats.

       Away from the table: I eat

It's published by Bob and Susan Arnold's Longhouse in Vermont.
Visit the site here

       Liquor in food - sure,
     pour wine over cabbage and
     over almost anything.