Fanny Howe selected poems

It is an intriguing position to be in when you return to a book you have read a few times before and find that when you read if for the third time or fifth time you are reading a book you don’t remember reading before. Language has acted beyond memory or reveals a new layer of recollection.

Sometimes it feels like intimate life can split the fundamentals of recollection and redistributed it in a new way – the old bridge is now a runway; the fountain by the park bench is now a column holding up a parking building; the house with fresh blue paint on the sills rests as a toy in the stream. I’m probably being overly surreal. But, sometimes not only the function of words seems to have changed but the very actions of words; there is a sense of things reorientated to be recognized; a sort of vigilant near-sighting. The actions that prepare other actions have redeployed the chemistry of assumption, prejudice, the exit squeaks – I write for the second time, the personal craving of silence is dust, and find it slicks the foot of a dancer in a community hall, not as I thought some final falling into the self.

I really felt like I was reading Fanny Howe’s selected poems. I really felt a series of cross sections were working for me, beyond the stark beauty and rigor of the language I sensed tangled moments of emotion, of which the action in the world was hinged on consciousness of action bisecting the realms of politics, poetics, aesthetics in ethics, the realm of domestic humour, the giant clobbery feet of memory against the woven strands of landscape, birds.

I think there is something to be said when a writer takes the things which most conflict and converse within them, and reactivate the intersection of these experiences; sensing always an action that is yet to be layered in time.

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Kindness and exuberance

It was a while back that I saw Josie Long perform at BATS Theatre in the NZ comedy festival – a friend of mine had recommended I see her show after meeting her in Auckland. Comedians always fill my imagination in a special way – for me comedians are often great chameleons, constantly poised at the edge of transformation, hovering just long enough for perception of one form to materialize then bury itself in the lungs of the audience again, kicking up swirls of muddy laughter or painful crystals of hilarity that keep the jaw primed – Josie’s set had some great narrative elements to it, I recall a parable-like quality to the show that seemed to build on certain narrative splinters that veered off into wonderful groves lit by a misguided group of animals caught between leisure poses and attempts at pictorial correctness. Her website is a great place to start if you feel like more info or catching one of her gigs: Josie Long


Short short fiction

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Tom Cho’s collection of short short fiction – Look Who’s Morphing. I had a read of the first story in the collection ‘Dirty Dancing’ which was like eating a really really good piece of fruit, and you just can’t get over how good it is for ages. Here’s a link to the book on the Giramondo site – or you can check out his blog: Tom Cho. Like the pink pop blood of the cover too.


New bit Like bit

A bit of something or somethings that have excited me recently:

1) Finding out about artist Jill Magid who aims to bring things that are far away closer to her body, and who says, ‘when in love I separate a someone from the everyone.’

2) Checking out the website blog Book By Its Cover which has loads of great book-art and book-design stuff.

3) This image by Jamie Lumley:

The Tooting Bec Lido in south London, which ‘is the largest pool in the UK at 91.44 metres long and 30.18 wide. Dating back to 1906, it was a built by unemployed people living in the area. The pool is open to the public from May to September; the rest of the year you can only swim if you are a member of the South London Swimming Club, which has managed the lido during the winter months since the 1990s.’

All Well Afloat back online

Today is as good a day as any to launch some fresh posts. It is late 2009 but not too late.

New writing

If you would like to read the short prose story ‘A living spring’ it is here on the Blackmail Press site in their shiny new online Rebel Issue. I have a poem called ‘Embarking on her other names’ coming out in the Brief 38 journal so keep your eyes peeled if this appeals. In old news, head to the Turbine 08 page for a story called ‘Evolving’.

Also if you’re interested in art writing you can find my brand new prose review for the current exhibition Role dot Play featuring Vivian Lynn, Erica Sklenars, and Justine Walker, at Enjoy Public Art Gallery. Search the Enjoy archives for more writing, including the exhibition T & G Building and an interview with Eve Armstrong.

Newer writing

I’m finishing up a collection of writing I began in 2008. Whether the writing is prose or poetry is not so important right now – I’m focused on creating sharply focused dramatic situations through character, narrative, and tight-rope adventures in language (that is, I am exploring territory that someone described to me as ‘language as texture and language as meaning’).

I hope to post some observations and some writing as I go.

Thanks for joining this All Well Afloat caravan, pausing at watering holes, and wearing sunscreen.