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Archive for the ‘Awesome Aussie Poets’ Category

I’ve just read Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, which suggests that creativity can be stimulated, rather than handicapped, by highly structured formats.

‘ … look at poets, who often rely on literary forms with strict requirements, such as haikus and sonnets. At first glance, this writing method makes little sense, since the creative act then becomes much more difficult. Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints.

But that is precisely the point. Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line. They’ll be stuck with clichés and conventions, with predictable adjectives and boring verbs. And this is why poetic forms are so important. When a poet needs to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables or an adjective that fits an iambic scheme, he ends up uncovering all sorts of unexpected connections; the difficulty of the task accelerates the insight process. ‘

The following two posts embrace the constraints of the 5-7-5 syllable Hiaku and then 14 line, 10 syllable, iambic pentameter – Google it-  sonnet.

The following Hiakus are by Canberra poet, Ralph Sedgley.

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On Julbup water

                  Two ducks on Julbup

                           leave converging trails, sparkling

                   in the winter light.

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 The heron

Through outgoing tide

a heron stares intently;

alder leaves drift by.

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Pelican lovers

                        Two pelicans

                                      slowly spiraling upwards,

                                     soaring above the city heat.

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Here is a sonnet, Corteo D’Amore,  by award winning Canberra poet, Suzanne Edgar, that appeared in Panorama, Saturday, 10 Mar 2012, The Canberra Times.

The poem was written to accompany the picture in the National Gallery.

This sonnet is married to the picture.

It could not exist without it, yet the picture comes to life because of it.

………………………………………………..

Suzanne Edgar’s book The Painted Lady is available @
the bookshop of the National Library of Aust and the
Paperchain Bookstore 34 Franklin St Manuka ACT.

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When a poet writes an essay they cannot help themselves. Trapped within the essay are literary jewels, poems of exquisite beauty crafted and polished by the poet’s word-smithing skills. Michael Leunig is a poet so it is not surprising that his essay ‘Sleeping in on Doomsday’ from the Good Weekend, The Age (Sat 28th Nov 2009) had a poetic sensuality. This embedded poem in the essay addresses the hopes Leunig has for his children, that they will not be tethered to the family tree but rather free to fly. free as they wish. Moreover, it is within all our capabilities to escape the gravitational pull of our origins.

…no shares in any great cultural franchise

with stories of tragedy and triumph,

and don’t have much in the way of extended family.

None of this to enshrine and uphold.

They are unadorned earthlings.

Human nature is their story.

The spirit of the country runs out of the earth

And the air and into their bodies like a mystery.

This is their inheritance.

It is no virtue, no deficiency and no advantage;

This is simply their lot.

 

I see them asleep at night, these beautiful earthlings;

their faces still so glowing and  open and young.

There are many of them in this world and in this land.

When they awaken they will create their own way.

Michael Leunig  

 

 Michael Leunig is a Melbourne cartoonist, artist and poet. His short and often melancholic poems are published in a number of Australian newspapers. His  enchanting poems have been published in books available through his website.

Earthlings pic karstenkneese’s photostream

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This poem reflects the intensity and clarity poetic writing can bring to understanding our shared humanity. But context counts. This poem was added as a comment by Tim Shanasy to the Embedded Poem, Dead Love, by Will Storr posted in this blog. The poem howls with rage about the difficulty of living with tinnitus. When you know this context, you don’t just read the words, you also hear the scream of the white noise.

Like an endless steam train with horns ablaze,

about to emerge from it’s tunnel,

into a forest of crazy cicadas.


This, endlessly, a photo of noisy sounds,

steadfastly displayed in the gallery walls of my mind.

In sleep and in surf.

The only relief . .


Subconscious or immersed,

the only respite.


To awake, is to take control of the emotions.


To sink, or to swim. I swim.

The trick is to normalise.

How bad is this really?


Only to ponder truth briefly, is all it takes.


The plight of so many others, must be so much worse.

The human condition lives on, in us all.

Tim Shanasy

Tim Shanasy is a Byron Bay musician and, obviously, poet.

Pic from Travis Hornung’s Photostream

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This poem by Zoe Deleuil captures a rare moment of intimacy in a relationship made distant by the generations and then made intense again by a simple act. The power of the poem also lies in its simplicity. 

Sometimes, not enough,

I’d really look at you

and say: Let me clean your glasses.

You’d take them off.

Blink. Hand them over.

Pull out a folded handkerchief

from your trouser pocketglasses

and give that up, too.

 

It’s always the edges that get blurry.

I’d work on those the longest, teasing out

flecks of leaf and breakfast smudges and wattle pollen

until the glass was clear. Like making them new

again. You’d put them on – just as slowly

as you took them off – look around

at your familiar world and say:

There’s no doubt about you.

by Zoe Deleuil

zoe-deleuil-2 Zoe Deleuil grew up in Perth, Australia, studied Communications at Murdoch University, and now works in London as a sub editor and features writer. #mce_temp_url#

Her first novel is, She Left, You Came, a teenage love story set in Western Australia. This poem first appeared on the Cordite Website: #mce_temp_url#

B & W pic: Accent on Eclectic’s Photostream: #mce_temp_url#

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This poem of Melinda Smith’s sets the two-faced coin of motherhood spinning. How it lands today or any day you do not know. Will you see the face of love or the flip-side, loss?  To give birth is to experience a joyous connection with the miracle of life. Yet to give birth is also to face an ocean of uncertainty. While motherhood is often presented as a flowery, sickly sweet confection the images and rhythm of this poem pounds home the uncertainty.

 

Wave after wave, the ocean counts the cost
by piling sheets of water on the sand.
I dreamt before your birth that you were lost.
I think I have begun to understand.

By piling sheets of water on the sand
the sea offers its body, slice by slice.
I think I have begun to understand.
I love you knowing sorrow is the price.

The sea offers its body, slice by slice,
heaving itself onto an empty beach.
I love you knowing sorrow is the price.
beach
I start a task whose end I’ll never reach.

Heaving itself onto an empty beach,
the sea still finds the energy to give.
I start a task whose end I’ll never reach.
I give you life, not knowing how you’ll live.

The sea still finds the energy to give.
I dreamt before your birth that you were lost.
I give you life, not knowing how you’ll live.
Wave after wave, the ocean counts the cost.

 

Melinda Smith

Photo of Melinda SmithPrize winning poet Melinda Smith is a widely published ACT poet. Her poems have appeared in Quadrant and The Canberra Times. This poem comes from her book Mapless in Underland , Ginninderra Press #mce_temp_url#

You can read more of Melinda’s poems on her  mull and fiddle blog#mce_temp_url#

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motherload

 

Motherlode: Australian Women’s Poetry, 1986 – 2008 edited by Jennifer Harrison & Kate Waterhouse will be launched @ Daltons Books 54 Marcus Clarke St Canberra City on Saturday 12th September, 2.30pm.

 

Motherlode can also be ordered from publisher Puncher & Wattmann   #mce_temp_url#

Anthologies by nature must have a great many voices trying at times to out shout one another or combine in a mesmerizing chorus. I haven’t managed to get my hands on Motherlode yet… but here is a poem from Motherlode by Jane Gibian. This poem could be loaded, ambiguous. Is this domestic bliss or captivity, love or resentment? Writers will, of course, read their own lives into the poem. Writing steals time. Writing steals you away from your lover. The writing (not the writer) can be resented and this resentment appears in the writing.

 

 

As I write
 
My mother told me always
keep your own bank account —
I called it my running away
account — I can’t standaussie bush
his footsteps in the house
as I work; I have to walk
out into the fields where
ghosts from the goldmine shafts
hover amongst the weeds —
back then I was stronger;
with my first I went into labour
on the mountain slope,
and finished rounding up
the cattle — but he’s very good,
gets his own breakfast
and all — yet sometimes
I can’t breathe when his
thoughts drift through me
as I write —

 

 

Jane_Gibian 

Sydney poet Jane Gibian’s work offers emotional depth free of pretension or affectation, dry humour, a quick and sharp wit, and an equally sharp and poised eye for detail. You can find more of her poems #mce_temp_url#

PIc Matildashiela Photostream: #mce_temp_url#

 

 

 

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