The Beach Report : 11/1/14, from the Elwood Beach kiosk
We're done, mid-morning, as the colour of the day (cloud-grey & white) begins to change. There's the feel of blue sky & sun --skin registers warmth, obviously, but i'm tempted to invoke the 'intelligence of the day' as though environment actually is innate. And even an hour after the dip there arent any other swimmers, only a temporarily capsized sailboard in the water.
Thank Heavens for Betty Ryan & the bottle of white wine she shared for our Henry's getting to Greece --her evocations, notwithstanding Henry's saying she wasnt a storyteller, in addition to the correspondence from "my friend Lawrence Durrell, who had practically made Corfu his home." I thank Henry for the Greek experience too, never having gone though many I've known did & do. But reading The Colossus of Maroussi (the 1950 white blocked purple covered--'Travel', 'Complete Unabridged'-- paperback issue) in Australia, winter through to summer '66/'67, performed the transmogrification whereby my Elwood exile (--oh yes, there's an awful & heavy tale attached but not for telling here), living in Thackaray Street, one of the poets' roads (exact mirror of Thornhill/Southampton's topography, Down Under's not so secret meaning), became my Greece, -- swimming off the rocks (industrial detritus), recovering breath spent battling the riffs & unexpected depths, propped between stone & concrete in a nest of sand, driftwood, dried seaweed, with best friend satchel containing biro & notebook, novel, poetry, tobacco/papers/matches, supporting me forever...
You see, it happens every time I'm here, between Elwood & Point Ormond --every summer as first the elements & then the literary & cultural memories work me over. Remembering as I re-live it, the Beat life of sun, sand & sea...
[via David Caddy / Tears in the Fence]
Posted on January 10, 2014 by tearsinthefence
Amiri Baraka (Le Roi Jones) 1934-2014
When Le Roi Jones’s volume of poems, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, appeared from Totem / Corinth in 1961 it had a Basil King drawing on the cover and it had a poem titled ‘Way Out West’ half way through it.
As simple an act
as opening the eyes. Merely
coming into things by degrees.
Basil King was over here in England at the end of last year and he talked and read, along with his wife Martha, at Kent University amongst many other places. Basil had also worked alongside Le Roi Jones in the late 1950s when he provided the covers for the magazine which Le Roi edited along with Hettie Cohen, Yugen. Yugen closed down in 1962 after number 8 but not before the starting up of The Floating Bear, a newsletter, edited by Jones and Diane di Prima. The Addenda to that issue number 8 of Yugen gives its readers the following information:
The newsletter, The Floating Bear, and its editors, Le Roi Jones and Diane di Prima, were cleared in April of obscenity charges stemming from their publication of a section of Jones’ System of Dante’s Hell and William Burroughs’ satire, The Routine.
That little note at the end also gives an update on what Le Roi Jones was upto, including editing Corinth’s fiction anthology, Avant Garde American Fiction, ‘which will include such prose writers as Fielding Dawson, Burroughs, Kerouac, Rumaker, Selby, Creeley, Douglas Woolf, Irving Rosenthal, Herbert Huncke, Paul Metcalfe, Diane Di Prima, and others’.
Had he had lived Amiri Baraka was due to come over to London this year to attend the University of Canterbury’s one-day conference, Baraka at 80, to be held at the ICA on 12th April.
The very last sentence in that last Yugen issue is:
‘At all other places they cremate them; Here we bury them alive’.
Farewell to a most important poet, dramatist, short-story writer, editor and major figure throughout the past fifty years.
(c) Ian Brinton ;
Mourn both Le Roi Jones & Amiri Baraka. Complex within itself/himself, impossible for one such as I, to neatly unravel after 50 years of development. Poetry, politics... May as well throw this in even if a poignant contemplation more appropriate than a thesis at this sad time. So : The change of his name from Le Roi Jones to Amiri Baraka emblematic (paradigmatic?) of this time of changes (1960s to date). Well recall seeing the shocking pic in Village Voice in '68 of Jones/Baraka : bloodied head coshed in middle of Newark riot. Remember thinking this is the beginning of something else, --a something else agglomeration of all the radical ideologies any one of which one might have sat & mulled or stood toe to toe & argued, but tossed up now with race relations, black revolution, --and where was poet in that calamity out of which insurrection was suddenly spun? --reversal of the judgement of skin colour in the urgency of solidarity --educational indeed for white boy to experience the boot on the other foot even if thousands of miles away in Melbourne/Oz from Newark --psychically & imaginatively empathizing, responding --the Vietnam War already the actual ground of could-be would-be refuse-to-be conscripted the daily '60s life --suddenly absent when landing back in England, late '69 --a whole other &, notwithstanding the Irish troubles, relaxed English vibe. It's been my American friends, Duncan McNaughton particularly in my head now, who've articulated the necessary hybridization/cosmopolitanism in name of the Real, --American as African & Spanish. Poetry, politics... And you know what Ive said about the warts & all as the truth of my situation, that is against perfection (as if politics could ever be pure)... And how revolted ive been by ahistorical that is hysterical conspiratorial leftist politics, in wch this or that erstwhile minority is no more than ideological canon fodder... in this minute i'm putting it back together, the Humpty Dumpty of me, of poet amongst poets, --hailing here Leroi/Baraka, the poet, the playwright, the editor publisher anthologist, Hettie's other half --and RIP...
[January 7, 2014]
[via Monique Chester, Weymouth/UK]
SIRENS HAVE SOUNDED
The following SEVERE Flood Warnings will remain in force from 19:00 on 06.01.2014 until 02:00 on 07/01/2014 including the times of high tide. Peak water levels and waves are expected between 21:00 and midnight. Flooding may already be affecting properties, low lying areas and roads. The Causeway between Portland and Wyke Regis may be impassable and may be closed as a precaution. Dangerous wave overtopping including shingle is possible. The time and date of the forecast high waters for which this Flood Warning is in force are 21:45 (Local time) on 06/01/2014 (21:45 GMT) Please listen for the sound of the Flood Warning sirens which will be sounded IF wave overtopping occurs at Chiswell. The forecast wind direction is South West The forecast wind strengths is Force 7
B H : A river passed by my door during the night...
K H : how dyou mean B? A river on Goldcroft Road? But youre on a rise or coming off a rise? Used to be rivers down Flinders Street and when I was a sailor on shore leave in Singapore once upon a time the monsoon broke around me as I sheltered and the road became a river. Only thing was, before the inundation occurred it was an ordinary road with open sewers/gutters but after the rain there was only water to be waded through to the slightly higher part in the middle of the road. With my whites rolled up, my shoes in my hands above my head, I stepped into the torrent (had to get back to the boat y'see) and down I went, into the sewer!!! The locals laughed at me then helped me up. But I'd gashed my toe on the way down. Back at the Fairstar I stuck a plaster on the wound. A day & night of increasing throbbing pain later the ship doctor operated on my toe. Local anaesthetic. Cut off half the nail then scooped out the flesh. You could have lost the toe he said, another day the leg!!!! Did this flood come out of the blue for you or has it been developing last day or so? And watch out for your toes old boy!
Jo Harris : didn't know you were a sailor...did you run away to sea?
K H : regarding sailor boy --yes, I guess I did run away to sea Jo! Went down to the Labour exchange with brother B, asked for unusual job, and hey presto! 1965...
J H : those sailors pants...bell bottoms with a flap...sooo sexy..maybe that helped you decide
K H : Blue uniform for the northern part of the voyage, whites for the tropics... I just had to get-a get-a get-a get away! I couldnt wait another day ay ay!!! And yes, Jo, always liked the look, the whites not the blues... With my post-op foot I could wear a sandal instead of white shoe, but the good foot had the shoe still! I worked in the Ship Shop with the photographers (German)
and the hairdressers (English, Scottish, Italian). I also had hold
duties. I cannot tie knots so my tying & hauling of packages was
a nightly ordeal for me and a huge laugh for the others. Shared cabin
at first with the photographers but they complained that I snored --I
think they said I snorkled. They were believed. I was moved to an
Italian purser's cabin. He slept during the day when I was at work,
& v-versa. One or two funny if not scandalous incidents. In
retrospect of course e/thing is hilarious, vast comedy of life. Even at
the time I was watching over my own shoulder so to speak --being a
writer you see and my Nobel prize not too far away...
January 7, '14
The more I think about KILL YOUR DARLINGS the more I like it... truth is you have to check things out yrself however persuasive friends & critics!
I've been thinking about the historical settings & references : The World at WAR, so the film is its gigantic footnote? thus 'existentialism'... The War crucial threshold of change... not necessarily refusing the call to arms but simultaneously accepting the call to LIFE, and of one's own order... the wackier the better! that is, backing yr own call...
January 6, '14
Well, whaddayaknow! Saw Kill Your Darlings at the Nova in Carlton this afternoon and was captivated. Intriguing story. Contrary to what Ive heard around the traps, mostly re- the inadequacy of Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, found the film psychologically coherent, soundly based in the literature. For my money, Kerouac's The Sea Is My Brother corroborates the merchant marine signing-up scene, tho Lucian [Carr] is the extra dimension contributed by the film. Still thinking it through. Yep, excellent.
I accepted the characterizations, the actors melded with originals... Dane DeHaan's Lucian Carr as beautiful memerising boy, pent with desire & imagining, recalls for me people I met along our young way (let's say younger way since it's not done with yet --and not just the tearing, waring manuscripts of up to fifty years ago but the impulses, the heart & soul within) --which is the mark of --what? --the memorable --the mythic --template or archetype of life/of lives understood that way...
I saw Charles Buckmaster in Radcliffe's Ginsberg --imagine 17 years old --up to the big city --nervous, expectant, sensitive to all & everything --dear Charles in good suit, jacket, partly for employment, partly because he was poet embarking at last on adult career... Et cetera... A heartbreaking film from several vantages : Ginsberg & mother, Jennifer Jason Leigh's pathetically superb Naomi, "don't ever leave me"; even Michael Hall's David Kammerer, not at all one dimensional villain, but knew him in my own once-upon-a-time, the contradictory authoritarian & libertarian behaviour (to be the author, the director of the freedom : recipe for disaster if not to oneself then to others)... Much much more!
Ralph Hadden's 2013 Bests prompts me again towards my own. Flicking through my journals for books, music, films, events. Just as it comes then, not distinguishing between first & re- reads.
Melvin Bragg's Francis Bacon interview/doco.
Diane Burrell & Chris Dench discs.
Incredible String Band movie (c/o Dave Ellison)
On the Road movie.
Ben Sidran discs.
Ian Hamilton Finlay selections (U of California press) introd Alec Finlay.
Lisa Gorton's Hotel Hyperion.
Sun Ra & His Arkestra.
The Rodriguez movie (c/o Cathy O').
David Caddy's Cycling after [Edward] Thomas and England.
Paul Blackburn's Pierre Vidal translations (c/o B H's library).
Ted And I : A Brother's Memoir by Gerald Hughes.
Ernest Hemingway By-Line : selected articles & dispatches.
Fiona Hile's Novelties.
Claire Potter's Swallow.
Shirley Clarke's Robert Frost documentary.
The African Queen.
Marion Taylor's Colmer's Hill [Dorset] : One Artist's Obsession (c/o B H gift).
Simon Warner's Text, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll (Bloomsbury).
Pete Spence's Kynetonbury Tales.
Valli Poole's A Box of Humming Birds.
Glenn Cooper's The Proportions of a Man.
Robert Kenny's Gardens of Fire (UWA press).
Simon Armitage's Walking Home : Travels with a Troubadoor On the Pennine Way.
John Kinsella's The Vision of Error (FIP).
Paul Summers' Primitive Cartography (Walleah Press).
Pine Torch by Ainslee Meredith.
Claire Gaskin's Paperweight.
David Morley's The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet).
Ken Trimble's Barking Mad Poems.
John Ashbery's Quick Sentences.
Jordie Albiston's Book of Ethel.
Christopher Heathcote's splendid articles on art & artists in Quadrant magazine.
I Thank You : Celebrating Tim Hemensley & the Powder Monkeys, at the Tote, Yarra Music Festival (21/7/13), cast of thousands including the Spazzies, Joel Silbersher, TJ, John Nolan, Adalita, Power Line Sneakers, Roman Tucker...
The Cherry Fest in AC/DC Lane (24/11/14) Powder Monkeys & guests, Hoss, The BellRays, Chris Wilson et al
and that's [not] all folks.....!
December 23, 2013
Watched concluding episode of Scorsese's Living In The Material World doco on George Harrison this evening. Quite a journey and reflective of many of our own generation's I suspect. Spiritual/metaphysical teasers like GH's concern as to how one "left this body". His (double?) sadness therefore at John Lennon's murder. Very interesting to me was the commentary from racing driver Jackie Stewart. Ditto, Eric Idle. The epitome of the "material world" --racing cars, films, music industry --intersecting with otherness --that old conceit of materiality exceeding itself, not that spiritual life doesnt have its own forms... GH on the mantra effect of My Sweet Lord, as though hypnotic repetitions... Great to see Shankar & the other Indian musicians... GH's commitment to almost everything, whatever the ostensible contradictions. I think we must all have drunk the same water!!! We'll play some Harrison & Shankar et al tomorrow... Anyone else catch this?
December 9, 2013
Great dream the other night : Sitting in train carriage with Tom Clark, couple of his friends, & Robert Kenny. He still looks very young ("still looks"? how would I know! --we ALL look very young whilst being who we are as of now!)-- I'm telling him how wonderful AND maddening it was to see his pic in Paris Review, his & Tom Pickard's, when we were teenagers, 20, inspiring for a 20 year old in gob-smacking way! We're having marvellous rave together when Robert says that he's aware the two people at other end of shared carriage-table arent saying anything, are excluded from the conversation. Theyre ok, man, says Tom, and I tend to agree-- Robert asks if anyone has a copy of Kant (any Kant? the Complete? Pure Reason?) --wants to open up the conversation so that others can join in! Tom says, this is getting heavy man --I say, putting a hand on Robert's arm & on Tom Clark's, look, we're serious people, Robert's the Australian PM's History prize winner & poet, and Tom as we know is past poetry editor of Paris Review and poet & biographer of Charles Olson etc, --of course we can be serious, but let's not get heavy, and Tom's right, I say to Robert, let's not get uptight --Which seems to help! That's right Tom says, let's loosen up! And we do!
December 5, 2013
A great pleasure to host Venie Holmgren this afternoon at the Collected Works Bookshop. The early (5pm) start, the unsettled weather, clash with other events (eg, Jenny Harrison at the Dax Centre), & the old out-of-towner hoodoo combined to restrict attendance. But bless Ricky Tanaka for transporting Venie down from Hepburn Springs & chaperoning her across town, and Ken Smeaton for enthusiastically introducing the poet & launching her book, The Tea House Poems. Ken recalled 1970s street poetry in Melbourne with Poor Thom & Venie, the living & literary importance of both of these to him. Venie corrected the SMH's attribution of 93 years to herself --she's only 91! I remember F T Prince telling me in the early '90s that he was probably England's oldest publishing poet --he was around 80 something at the time. He also said it got physically harder to write a poem let alone a book. Venie suggested this was her last book & last launching. One never knows though... She would have been welcome to read her entire little book; she probably did half. Lovely things, Japanese (haiku / tanka) style. We have a few copies now in stock. THANK YOU everyone who came for supporting a unique event.
November 5, 2013
Beautiful day for the Melbourne Cup. Yday Collected Works Bookshop & Mary's Maria's Beads and Trims (Formerly Maria George Pty Ltd) set up a table at top end of the hallway, overlooking Swanston Street. Champagne, cheese + biscuits, tzatziki dip, cup cakes. Watched the Cup Eve parade of champions (& their connections as they're fond of saying) in between popping back into respective shops for phone calls, customers. Today I think I'm heading down Abbotsford way, to the Yarra Hotel to imbibe the excitement amongst the rock'n'rollers. Place a bet en route. Nice chat with Ali Alizadeh , during y'day's toing & froing, in wch my champagne lubricated tongue wound its way around the tale of young Kris H's migrant's 1966 dinkum aussie Melbourne, via all the non-Anglo exiles of Europe needless to say, introduced to Moonee Valley & Olympic Park (dogs) in that Bohemian open house I'd landed up in, that surreal fearful amazing first season Down Under! Ali doesnt share my horse racing or indeed any other sporting delight but we did agree abt the magnificence of the horses! Hurrah & huzzah to all!
[typed up & published, 11th January, 2014]