the deletions

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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.

Thanks to Michael Tod Edgerton, alongside many others I have a few poems here in the current issue of Loose Change - the contents are here and Marthe Reed has a portfolio of montage including the cover image above - at this link. As usual, click to enlarge the images.

Test Results : Book Launch, Talk and Gallery Viewing
Saturday 21st March at 11 a.m.
Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
12 Berry St, Nowra
Street map - click here

Kurt Brereton has produced a series of paintings on the topic of virality i.e. the role of different kinds of viruses in culture and specifically art as a virus. The book, Test Results, is available now in limited edition. Preface by George Alexander. For further information contact the artist via his website - Kurt Brereton

       rhythm mustn't have meaning