Monday, October 13, 2008


I assume that people will go on composing single lyric poems until the sun goes nova. But whether the collection of single lyrics has much of a future is a different matter. I don’t mean I won’t wait for my favourite poets to produce their next collection which I will buy and enjoy, I’m just wondering about all the other collections, staggering under the weight of their overwritten blurbs, endorsed by this or that famous name no one out side the small precious circle has heard of, which I read once and never reread.

As a reader, my test of a poem is whether or not I’m willing to write it out, in long hand, into the book in which I keep poems I like or which interest me. And this twelve months there have been few new entries by living poets.

Especially in Australian journals, I’ve started noticing the little tricks everyone (inc me) is using that makes their piece of writing “poetry”. And it's starting to make writing a single poem almost impossible. Which isn't a bad thing as that's not what this project is about.

In terms of money spent and value gained (for a reader), the narrative seem the way to go. And since that’s what I’m working on, it seems that right about now I should be thinking about how a narrative, told in “poetry” would differ from a narrative told as prose.

So map the territory. (And don’t forget Lawman and the 'roman a tiroirs' or however you spell it.


Liam Guilar said...

Not that you've been very visible in any Australian Journals this last couple of years, he reminded himself.

And it doesn't seem an applicable comment to the Irish ones that not only publsih what I write, but provide me with much enjoyable reading.

Jane Holland said...

It's truly hellish, isn't it, to be suddenly aware of your own tricks when writing a poem? It's like being a magician in the middle of a trick when some eagle-eyed brat in the audience shouts out 'Oi! I saw you put that in your pocket!' or words to that effect.

All hope of pretence goes out the window at that moment. The curtain tumbles, the short balding 'wizard' is revealed, etc.

Where ignorance is bliss, etc.

Jane Holland said...

And using etc. at the ends of my sentences is another of my tricks.

As is the dreaded, ubiquitous elipsis ...