Friday, January 5, 2018


[---> Elwood

10.05's allowed to  be late any time missus
if it means ma & pa kettle
can stumble up to Clifton Hill terminus
from the 'Garth
& catch it at ten past ten --
long runs of clear traffic on New Year's Day
deserted roads no one aboard the bus --
after first fusillade of midnight fireworks
hit the hay (a la Heaney "I dreamt we slept in a moss
in Donegal / On turf banks under blankets
misremembered always from P. Gebhardt's
rare edition of Glanmore Sonnet number ten
"laid down my head on a square of turf"  --Peter ay?
last post cuts through all the crap right here --as Retta
in '73 upon waking --of Buckmaster
"the dead come back to us / like clear water
in a dream
" --how to deal with this
unannounced convocation
Seamus --Peter -- Charles?)
slept like a --like the proverbial --

cop cars & ambulance pass bus unhurriedly --
dance of cirrus across pure azure --
down Punt Road's gentle hill & icons
Bill Nuttall's Niagara Gallery the cricket ground & no parking
park --the Cricketers pub & the topless barmaids other one --
thirty years since "The Last Gardens" preoccupied me --
Judith Rodriguez at Penguin Books when was that?
late '80s '90? wrote despite this or that part
it was "intractable" ( i.e. didn't give a shit
for 'readers'?) --both Nick Johnson & John Kinsella
read & liked it but it got lost
& then i lost the yen for publishing it!
mystical milieu of my poem all around the Royal Botanical --
& the river --
South Yarra's posh European tone --
like Gauloises wafting Italian equivalent --
tonal mist the gist of it --
scuffing past the fine houses --
does periphery qualify as stuff of history?
invisible at the edges Poet's remit
though Poetry itself another element
amidst the powers that be!

down down now into the hip hop of St Kilda Junction
the massive dial --
fifty years ago another configuration
pre-motorway historic shops & housing
old world's demolition --
ritzy then as now --Kings Cross's little Melbourne
cousin --same vibe now as before on
Fitzroy Street --recognize the "bums
beatniks & bastards"from pre-Oz Emigration manuscript --
anticipated in Southampton
holding out for another world --
after library & gallery the general cemetery
far preferable for mooning teenage artist
to our village bloated by housing boom
into anonymous nowhere's-ville

every summer's destination ELWOOD --hollowed from
sea's reverberation heard on late afternoon's approach
escaped from City "Gone Fishing" the notice
pinned on bookshop door --
a sense of pre-fabs among the grand olds
extending from St Kilda --the ephemeral straggle
DHL identified Sydney to Thirroul
that "next wind might blow away" --
Elwood's beach house encampment
emigres' struggles resolved within cooee
of beach & water --pre-de luxe marina
& walking paths era --
rough & ready 'off the rocks'
at year's turn 1966 --
closest ever came to Greece --Miller's Colossus 
fomented idée fixe --free at last
& subject only to sand & sea & wave-slapped rocks
beneath great southern sun --
Greek idyll dreamt of in
Southampton parks laid in
fully clothed in summer
huddled in winter
Old Dart's natural season --

ten minutes stroll from Thackeray Street
over the Beach Road & rugged landfill to the sea --
lodging with Penny Poynton in her little house
whose mercy delivered me from the calamity
across town in Ascot Vale --
how could love come undone so?
not love but its ambivalent rhetoric --
young & old tied in knots by it --
much vaunted home of free-spirits
free-love FREEDOM contorted into haunted house --
ghosts of suicide & murder spooking art-of-life's
studio --as tho (& no flippant reference
as my ideal reader could guess)
Dostoevsky's darkest direst testament
had obliterated Khalil Gibran's enlightenment --
overnight! --
curses threats desperate sex --
death's door off the latch & not the half of it!

last January fifty years ago
took new met girl there to greet
could say fellow exiles part-
Bohemian part-suburban
in the almost sweet Peace of Penny's house
by the sea ("the sea! the sea!") --
after Ascot Vale such equanimity
a kind of blasphemy they might have said --
and the Peace lasted --
for a while --
and can only smile now
by the sea
the sea

[1-5 January, 2018]

Monday, October 23, 2017



---> going nowhere



background dream (21st October):
visiting Aunt Lydia at her bungalow
(Penselwood) main road end of Gosling's farm
from which cruelly evicted (compulsory acquisition)
another chapter of tears in her heart-aching story
reversed in dream's current-age rendezvous
bent over her walking-frame
encouraging reconnoitre garden
kitchen dining-room bedroom
where brother & i slept-over
next door to hers & Uncle Jim's --here's
what i wanted to show you she says
encyclopaedia of world poetry
where's your name my dear?
peer together --not there! --chuckle
knowingly to myself --how could & why
have been included? --only
four 'h' surnames anyway


1957 pretend today's the 60th anniversary
dream-like coincidence --meant to be! -- Kerouac
in London collecting royalties then onto boat-train
at Waterloo to same Southampton as our own
little family live & play in --despite father's simmering
opposition Aunt Lydia's become our second mother


Lonesome Traveller bought & read two weeks
before fatal voyage April '66
England to Australia
outa jail! --bewailing
misfortune waste of time! --
in ch 7 K's smitten
at St Paul's Cathedral
a "heavenly performance of the St Matthew Passion (…)
saw a vision of an angel in my mother's kitchen
and longed to get home to sweet America again" --
forgives his father --researches family name
at British Museum "'Lebris de Keroack.
Canada, originally from Brittany.
Blue on a stripe of gold with three silver nails.
Motto: Love, work and suffer.'
I could have known." --
blown down like the proverbial
each time i read the chapter's last lines
"On the train en route to Southampton, brain trees
growing out of Shakespeare's fields, and the dreaming
meadows full of lamb dots." --couldnt say better
having seen it with own eyes now for decades --
epiphanic long before'd earned the right
to know it --hah!
as tho' my poems'd coined it --
belated poet's vanity --
'belated' as in "poetry-after-death of" --


Sunday, April 9, 2017


Around & about Matt Hall's FALSE FRUITS (Cordite Books, Castlemaine, '17)
[salvaged from Facebook]

I hope this aint talking out of school, but a month ago in 'chat' with Kent MacCarter i said how i was reading Matthew Hall's book, False Fruits. "I need to get my teeth into it but at first blush the language sings, in my sense, but i dont think that's how it's supposed to rest... i need to get with the argument or dialectic..." Well, thanks to John Hawke's words at last night's launch, April 7th, '17,  we got it! Look forward to reading the speech, what amounted to a short history of the po-mo everywhichway of the lyric, the pastoral, Romanticism, etc --that is, as per Matt's project, lyric that aint lyric, pastoral that aint that kind of pastoral nor that, missus, and aint all parody since, as per Schuyler on NY poetry ca 50s (i'm throwing that in, begging yr pardon) gallons of [paint] true feeling courses it, suffuses it. And so on. Hmm. I confess the radical battle cry that poetry is violence upon language, and that all poetry shares the perspective, except of course that of the unmentionables, poetry's deplorables? --a claim i lived with myself through the 70s & 80s-- doesnt work for me in the way John announced it last night... Eeek! It's Saturday morning i think! Stuck in the middle of another dense & ingenious proposition for the Eco-poetic! Lots to think about, and the book itself to read! Congratulations everyone! It was a stimulating night!


‪Nice memory you recalled in yr remarks last night, Matt, regarding that conference you attended several years ago and the afterparty reading at Collected Works Bookshop, at wch i particularly recall your good self and David Herd's distinctive readings...

RE- violence, and of course your book, On Violence in the Work of J. H. Prynne (Cambridge Scholars, 2015) (--just reminded myself via the abstract up on the Web, and nice to see longtime-nosee ‪Michael Tencer‬'s name there), --the violence John Hawke indicated as a general condition of the practice is NOT, i think, the point of your submission on Prynne (or, indeed, the British poetry in the vicinity of that influence or out of similar Traditional & Modernist extrapolation as the man's), wch is a very particular project... or was --i'm sure by now it's widened to the air that's breathed there, almost commonplace assumptions & similar formal expressions.

(At the beginning of your V., am reminded of Olson, ye olde Projective Verse (how sprightly they read, all these assayes of the Big O even now) --our poet, "How he conceives his relation to nature, that force to which he owes his somewhat small existence. (.....) For a man's problem (...) to give his work his seriousness, a seriousness sufficient to cause the thing he makes to try to take its place alongside the things of nature..." --reminded by your quotation from JHP that, like O, his poetry is another kind of human manifestation, and an imp is tickling me to suggest meta-literary, metaphysical, even of Platonism! --like for ex., Korean poet Ko Un adamant that his poetry's not to do with literature but "the universe!" --away with thee, imp!) --

I wish right here i could jump into statement of what i'm feeling (and to include something on feeling, on wch last night i thought John Hawke very good)... something about the relation to this being here, this relation to nature (and the nature of things), which is rather more interesting than literary cleaving (i mean grading) right & left & all about one! (--that vivacious intellectuality, --importunate mind, promiscuously vital --and dont i recognize that myself)...

My sentence runs away! I shall return after another helping of Fresh Fruits...!

[April 8/9, 17]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

THE BEACH REPORT, February 4th, '17

High temperature returns and the little beach becomes the most popular strip on the Bay --well, not the most, that being St Kilda & all along the watch-tower, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Middle Park & further, oh yes, further --Brighton, Sandringham, Black Rock --one end's big by dint of punter volume, the other by head of wealth, --but Elwood resembles these bigger brothers on such a day as this. Find a space to drop sandals, bag, towel, then straight into the clear sea, shallow for yards tho' discover raised shelf suddenly runs out & midriff's depth leaps to armpits. Hot sun, cool water & clearest sea yet yours truly's blind to a submerged slab of rock, --like the ditched trunk of one fallen on the proverbial hard times, everything he could hock done so including --if this were my story, say Melbourne in Winter,'66 --the wristwatch given me by my Aunt, the charcoal-grey John Collier suit, souvenir of my work voyage on the Fairstar, good now I thought for white-collar job-interviews in Oz, & the best black shoes to match --inevitably tripped & stumbled in avoidance of the barnacled rock and concerned not to fall, trying to maintain balance, smashed my heels into the end of it --heftier bash to left heel than right. Hauled grazes & bruises up the sand --hardly an accident compared to the cut feet & knees swimming "off the rocks" years ago, the beginning times, remembered but borne by hardly changing shoreline --is that true?-- the land-fill further submerged below the hardly new Marina, through which one'd walk, --strange landscape, spongy, compost-warm, broken down waste, broken up building materials. If nothing else the walking-path & the Marina have reconfigured the landscape, but the context, the sight & sound of it, the feel of it, is eternal --each intersection, each trajectory, eternal too. 

I sound like Kerouac or how Kerouac might sound to the uninitiated, as tho' Little Golden Book religiosity or --only talking about it on the bus this day, Loretta's Aunty Laurie, on our wedding day for Heaven's sake, April '68, describing new book she'd been reading, The Dharma Bums! --much she could endorse, she said, funny word? reveals quite another attitude, but said she was disappointed by the characters' apoliticism --well of course, Loretta says (--is Laurie short for Loretta? & Loretta named after her aunt? --hasnt this come up before? --growing up within the figure of the aunt & not the mother? --not on account of the name but the apparent personality or character, --as i wondered then although a stranger to the family, but encouraged too by the girlfriend's declarations about her relatives --phew!) --politics, the correct politics, the Party's line, "politics" was everything! --in the understanding of which, i interpolate, everything else is missed! Whatever K said later or in contradistinction to Gary Snyder/Japhy Ryder's "ruck-sack revolution", the prophecy of thousands, millions, of said 'revolutionaries', the young --young men in Kerouac's mind --but of course young women, understood though not yet written (--Of the Beautiful Young, poem i'm writing in 1971, "neither Men nor Women", "who cannot tell yachts from tears", "my beautiful young cannot sail or cry / they are magnificent in their captivity / they drown tearlessly almost i think fearlessly / whilst we walk dry bottom / full of the knowing / of yachts & tears / the years of the beautiful young") --within the enormous suggestivity of the conflation, and i guess ambiguity could retrospectively be claimed, that is author distinguishing between self & character even though the genre being conjured overrides the conventional literary theorem, -- Kerouac's being acclaimed by my time's envoy, Ed Sanders, on telly, on Mr Buckley's show, on behalf of our Hippy generation, "we come to praise you Mr K…", which Jack brushes off peremptorily, no time for hippies since even the shine of his beats had long dissolved, --but hey! the damage was done! --i mean, the history a done deal, all around & everywhere to be seen, --but fancy Aunty Laurie reading The Dharma Bums, evidently containing sufficient pieces of her own life's jig-saw, not least the encounter with nature, ancient Taoist/Buddhist accented appreciation of trails & peaks, eternal corollary ancient or modern, --Laurie at the helm, as she believed, of the modern, Communism's fail-safe schema, to which every particle of existing & potential being was subservient… I wrote about this in 1968, still going on about it! --but the times repeat, similar dynamic excite similar psychologies, and who remembers anything anyway (Santayana)?


Back on the sand, towel around shoulders looking like a Bedouin, surveying the beach & the tribe thereon, sunbathers & tanners of the cliche one thought surpassed, --casually return to the water's edge, the shells there glinting like coins, ingots, treasures from the deep, & the seaweed, the green & brown, the stars & urchins, -- not a prospector now but Doc Ricketts found to have migrated from Canary Row & Sweet Thursday to his own book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, --brother Bernard's book, recall his Steinbeck collection of paperbacks, read or not i don't know --I'd handled & sampled & taken away with me in my imagination to Australia in '66 --recognised on every beach in every rock-pool thereafter…



It begins with Ed Ricketts' death --Steinbeck's straightforward prose protects the event from sentimentality; it owns no greater tragedy than its matter-of-course, its dailiness. The writer celebrates his friend, brings him back to the world, --the world in memorium for every lived, loved & gone day; each lived, loved & gone person & place. For sure, the Doc doesn't die every day, but every day any one of us might. And not going out into the world is the kind of death one's loathe to contemplate. Such is the adventure of  each day set against the everyday's incremental dulling. The Doc's surely not a dull man but a daily one, given over to the day's exigencies, as defined by these as by his eccentricities & prejudices which his friend details without the judgements informing them. Steinbeck's Doc is an unruffled man about a small town, except when he isn't. And he & his is the form i now adopt looking into a rock pool, hat on pate, looking & seeing despite, whatismore, his own understanding of the world, especially in its immediacy, as much further & deeper than the 'particular segment' in view --thus ecology, myth, genetics, poetry & philosophy, Ancient & Modern of East & West. Now he is bending to his work, poking through the water, lifting shell or seaweed. He is poking & peering as in the painting of him on the cover of the Corgi paperback, collecting bucket in hand, backpack of implements over his shoulder. First sun or last, sun up or sun down, unambiguously there, as we are here, eternal antidote to the drear & the fear. Clear.


Thursday, January 26, 2017


from Journal,

At the Shop talking to a man looking for a couple of volumes of the Complete Shelley. He's been a celebrant for 22 years. I referred to Jurate's mother's funeral & their celebrant from Alison Monkhouse, a friend of Jurate's. He said you stand up there & face the family & friends of, let's say, an 85 or 90 year-old, but what on earth do you know? what do you say? Described himself as a bookaholic. (Hah! You're in the right place then, my man!) I mentioned Des Cowley's reading of Little Gidding in the service. Obviously he knew it personally, big fan of Eliot, perhaps the later Eliot more so he said. But many of my 'customers' are from the Western Suburbs, he explained: "T.S. Eliot? wasnt he a cricketer?" But poetry of all kinds, he said, the words & music, touches & informs where the facts of a life might not…

Having utilised what could be called experimental writing's template when I began teaching at the Council of Adult Education in the 1970s --believing that contemporary poetry's adventures were far more efficacious for my liberation seeking, mind expanding classes than an historical examination of form --I  was redirected by later & perhaps somewhat older students into the classics. I dont mean Greek & Latin or Shakespeare, the Romantics, but the tradition as it ran through the late 19th & 20th Centuries. I had derived exercises from Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Fielding Dawson, Joe Brainard, Dadaists & Surrealists --the tradition of the New but nothing of the Tradition per se. For example, a particular gentleman tested me with his enthusiasm for G M Hopkins. For modern classics I had Robert Browning, Pound, DH Lawrence & a small amount of Eliot but now took on the Hopkins, which had probably defeated me at Tech College in the early '60s, if only to keep the discussion going at the next session! So my reeducation commenced. Similarly, I was asked for both Virginia Woolf & Sylvia Plath, for gender reasons, and investigating them anew realized their abiding value. (All true but this broad brush omits such correctives as, via a lesson Eric Rolls gave to a workshop class we shared in Bathurst,NSW in 1974, De Quincey's marvelous word music in a looping passage of The English Mailcoach --19th century? My hitherto indubitable historical aesthetics could now only unravel! Perhaps on a par with my Cambridge pal John Hall's 1969 lesson --no university in me you see-- making a relation for Robert Herrick, say, & our new British & Americans, Williams to Creeley & Oppen, including Crozier & Prynne...) When I think of it, despite one's wide-ranging reading in the new poetries, mutual exclusivity was rampant & profound. An abiding avant garde bridge should have been Zukofsky's A Test of Poetry --his blind selection (that is, unattributed selection of authors) which could often find one preferring the classic to the contemporary! Now I understood Zukofsky's test of ear, by ear, begging questions of sound & sense…

A resume might run like this : In lieu of traditional form one has a syntax informed by conversation & 'utterance' (from natural strong expression to cultivated Expressionism). Conversation (good hearing / scoring by ear) might have become decoration --the decoration of the ghost of form such that it is seen or hinted at, but without the erstwhile style or gravitas. I mean, of course, the sonority --but without one, none of the other? What is said --what & how --is the priority which required poesy's junking, 19th into 20th Century… the force of saying, of telling --testimony as the new eloquence. And maximum attention to what was previously marginal --poetics of  interpolation & interjection on the rebound from the excess of the literary. And so it is --1970s "literature after…", "poetry after death of…", the "belated", the "posthumous"… But, swings & roundabouts --& the gift of a slightly longer life than youth's Lyricism predicted --here one is again in & with 21st Century's "whole house of poetry" (my proposition in the mid 90s, argued in Ivor Indyk's Heat magazine)... For years now literary & anti-literary/post-literary on the same or at least facing pages... the same & not the same... Tis all good my friends... [Available for painting & renovation, local tradesman, CV on request…]

Monday, January 16, 2017




Dec 14, '16

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Fellow Travelers:

Here's a link to the latest entry on my website, which features videos of me performing a new piece based on Chris Mann's voice, which was performed for the launch of his new book "Whistlin is Did," on Dec 13, 2016 at Collected Works Bookshop in Melbourne.  Also is a video of the complete 7 minutes of the work done the next day in Daylesford.  I hope you enjoy this piece, which was a lot of fun to compose and perform.





Dec 17, '16

Dear Warren, Good to see and hear you the other day at the Shop...! A great event!
THANK YOU sending your text, photos, & video...
Ive taken the liberty of further sharing it to my F/book page, and have kind of juxtaposed it with thoughts stemming from McKenzie Wark's post abt new course proposal re- Walter Benjamin & E A Poe, which i add to my refutation of derogatory "so 70s" remark made at the Shop about the Burt/Mann sound/moozik performance! That is, "70s" was a wonderfully innovative time, why
considered passe by now? Not at all! (Mine is gentle refutation, and maybe even the comment overheard & reported to me was less hard than appears BUT, opportunity to make a point! As i say in mine, tho W Benjamin agin "continuum" ['break the continuum'], there IS continuum!
All best wishes,
Kris H

[PS:(from F/book comment)
 Found on the home feed early this morning a notice from McKenzie Wark regarding a course he's proposing on Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project, and relation with E A Poe... Wow! In part, " Even less well known are the affinities that Benjamin's theory and work shares with Edgar Allan Poe, who he widely respected, having learned of him through Baudelaire's high opinion of the American author. Aside from producing a text not dissimilar to The Arcades Project, Poe also insisted on the power of revelation in countless of his texts. Further, he shared both tropes (e.g., the Maezel's Chess Machine) as well as fascinations (graphology, cryptography, fashion)."
I made this comment, "Love this, MW, and back to the future with bells on --comment (sort of derogatory as it was reported to me, tho many a slip between cup and lip, --made the other night at event at Collected Works Bookshop, that Warren Burt's interpretation/realization of & for Chris Mann material --Warren's composition with lap-top & amps) --"so 70s" : and this most suggestive juxtaposition (--in my own stuff late 70s, '1980, called it transposition), Benjamin & Poe --renders me incoherent in ebullience! What a buzz! Well done!
My point abt "so 70s" is that it is & was a great time of cross- fertilization & innovative thinking, and why should any of that be passe in 2016? And tho Benjamin all for 'breaking the continuum', there is a continuum!



Hi Kris:

Yes, a delight all around.  Lovely to be part of, and then, the next
morning, discovering the Cordite website, which I hadn't known of
previously (nose to the grindstone at Box Hill, etc), a delightful
expansion of the horizons!

Yes "so 70's" indeed.  I had a text in the 90s, which was aimed in the
friendliest possible way at Messrs Randall and Bendinelli , which
denounced the "cliched decadization of knowledge," and thinking
about it, the technology I was using was current, the software
was developed in the late 90s, the central Chris text was from the
80s, and the stuff on the iPad was all texts from the past decade,
but I guess what WAS "70's" about it was the sight of a single
person with small devices doing a performance with tiny
loudspeakers.  Which WAS something that not only we (Chris,
me, Ernie Althoff, Ron Nagorcka, Ros Bandt, etc) had developed
in the 70s, but more specifically in Melbourne, (and which is now
the subject of a couple of 20-somethings writing PhDs about --
eek academic immortality!), so yes, THAT bit was 70s, and more
specifically Melbourne 70s, so doing it in a Melbourne bookshop
for a crowd, many of whom were around in the Melbourne 70s,
is extremely apt.  So I hope Mr or Ms "so 70s" actually
enjoyed it!

And now, I have the pleasant task ahead, in the next week, of reading your "Your Scratch Entourage" - which to me also suggests a "Scratch Orchestra" as in Cardew, also 70s!

Speaking of continua, I was just reading a MA from another University and the student is trying to link indeterminate, automated processes with queer theory (a not unfriendly matchup), and I find myself having to write a note to remind the student about the unbroken line of queer composers in
the 20th century who were all associated both with queer thinking and with the "current avant-garde thinking" of their eras - Charles T Griffes, A.Copland, Virgil Thompson, Lou Harrison, Francis Poulenc, Cage/Cunningham,Sylvano Bussotti, Julius Eastman, Pauline Oliveros (RIP two weeks ago), and Claude Vivier, among others.  (Almost typed "otters" - that would be nice!)  So there's a continuum for someone!






The words ‘so seventies…” (or something like that), floated up at a recent event at Collected Works – so Kris Hemensley tells me. Was it a put-down? A witticism? A critical judgment? A moment of self exposure? a statement of solidarity? All of these, I think. All of these labels dance about as contradictory but co-existent job descriptions for living, practicing, creative workers.

1970s, at its dumbest, means the decade numbered thus, plus or minus a few years into the decades at both ends. But it’s not just a calendar. It’s an appeal to a style, a zeitgeist, a codified recognizable way of doing things, an aesthetic. Codified is the key word here. Whatever the 1970s were has been settled through a power struggle and there are winners who are remembered and losers who are invisible because they have been written out, ignored or repressed.

Before the 1970s, there were the 1960s and the 1950s. Does human behavior, and the context for it, really roll along in ten-year cycles? Of course not: the decades are labels, and generalizations of the loosest sort. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the drive to shape our complicated, perhaps chaotic outputs and creative works, and the decade is probably as good as any other, and certainly the easiest to remember. The danger comes when its winning formula’s are held up as a standard or goal. That is, when in the 1970s, artists must behave and work according to the codified zeitgeist. Even worse, once the decade has passed, artists must move on to the next formula or code. Hunting the zeitgeist is the game.

For provincial artists like us here in OZ, the traditional way of doing this has been to sail and/fly to the central kitchen, steal some of the new magic pudding and bring it back to use at home. The terrible thing that can happen is that the creative life becomes a chain of fashionable actions none of which arise from the artists themselves or their eco-niche. It could be worse. Hilda Rix Nicholas, for example, was a Queensland painter who went to France at the fin-de-siecle and discovered how to paint in high key pointillist post-impressionist style.  She did some beautiful paintings which show how well she learnt to do it. When she returned to OZ, she continued to paint the same style for the rest of her life, ignoring her locality and the changing world around her – at least as far as her paintings were concerned. She is not, and sad to say, will not be, the only antipodean artist who finds the latest style when young and continues with it for the rest of their life.

Many creative careers last a number of decades and persist through changed social conditions, new technologies and materials and social behaviors. These decades extend over an individual’s lifetime, and one might expect that an individual’s creative works will change as well.  There is also a kind of biological/biographic image of work: a lyric poet as a youth becomes a mature observer and researcher into the discipline of poetry, moves to writing something like an epic, or epics, and finally emerges, butterfly-like as a succinct lyric poet again, but with depth and maybe darkness in the singing. The ‘late ‘ works of artists have attracted much attention because of their summary, terse and concentrated qualities, and sometimes are truly experimental. Of course, what is there in the young lyric poet can also be found in the subsequent epic and elder lyric poet. To recognize this, one might say ‘so seventies’. But here, the interest is what has been done since then to the ‘70s’ style, to the manner of working the subject matter. It’s possible that very little can change and very much at the same time, like Francis Ponge’s observation that a shrub or tree does not shift position, but engages in a lifetime of elaboration.

And then there are, to my mind, the most interesting of creative workers who are immersed in their eco-niches (local, national, international) but work through a specific vision or program of research. To some degree, creatives are pressured to invent a personal style, a brand, a unique touch which can then be marketed through objects or media. This can be easily subsumed in the borrowed fashionable-decade-style strategy of work. But the commercial pressures can also easily be ignored and a convincing body of work accumulated, extending over decades and with no reference to conventional zeitgeist formulations. This kind of work is often later folded back into revisions of the zietgeist, which can then make the contemporary zeitgeist scouts look empty and lost. This folding-in of idiosyncratic work is also ‘so seventies’. It also ‘so eighties’. And ‘so 90s’. And so on.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

THE BEACH REPORT, 12/14-1-17

At this level of reality (or do i mean perception?) --Malcolm Lowry's, mine, even Dad's (his rhetorical question regarding the overwhelmingly attractive thought that a journey might continue infinitely, --to keep walking to wherever & as long as the path or landscape, the amplified energies, led one on), & if Dad's then, with all due respect, anyone's, everyone's --the journey isn't particular though abounding in particularities. No, it's the ultimate generality whose idea suffuses one from even before the outset, aggregating every step, minute, mile, --filling, fulfilling, fuelling expectation --the promise inherent in Journey…


Freighters in the Bay, near horizon. The first one with green flanks carrying red containers; the second, smaller, rust-brown painted. Clear blue sky. White-caps on the shoreline, & gulls sitting in the sand, nestled, nesting. Even from a distance see a large man in long grey shirt, brown trousers, sock & shoeless, curled beside the gulls, his head supported with right hand, left hand on upjutting left hip. Canary Row i'm thinking : fellow stumbles out of alley, first light of day, shuffles to the beach, follows gulls' example, snuggles into nest of sand. Falls into sudden deep sleep, Rock Candy Mountain sheer relief. Awoken by sea's soughing & feels the spears of sun warming one or other side of face. On the street dosser can be moved-on but not i suspect on the beach. Darkness benevolent in that respect, daylight a dobber. In 2016 this is how it is in a novel because, apparently, city by-laws no longer apply to pavement sitting or sleeping --corollary of which, no contemporary bum distinguished by epithets of nobility including freedom, or rather, no erstwhile bum today would associate with the misfits on the city's streets since, motivated by self-respect (unless also banned by Health & Safety cum Human Rights regimen?), sufficient to cobble together minimum dollars for a room or accept the Salvo's dormitory rather than lay-about in sorry stupor or sometimes belligerent bravado beneath the necessarily purposeful feet of the citizenry.

Now, where's his shoes? But rolls over, then's sitting facing the sea and i realise she's no more derelict than i am, has a mobile-phone as well in which she's more interested than the tidal oscillation a hop & a jump ahead of her. It's a gardener's hat pulled down her face, the beach must be bottom of the old suburban block, this her daily constitutional. Stands up, collects sandals & is on her way. Trudge.


Couple of years ago wholesale change of staff at the kiosque. --the mix of English & Spanish replaced next season by the current local boy & girl. Even so recognition's still champion. Third season's hello ("How's the family?" "All well, the kids are at home driving tier mother mad!") bestows consummate belongingness. Come to think of it, never see the old parents now. Passed on? But old cant be older than me!


Seagull gives me the stare. Surely toasted sandwich crumbs not as good for you as plankton? Go on! Get out of here…