The publisher -

Little Esther Books
(for Feral & Boffin
of Feral, Boffin + Distingué)
Box 10114, Adelaide BC, SA, 5000

The blurb -

The book -

a limited edition - six new poems - available now


I've been reading the third issue of VLAK magazine. Among the many formidable articles, poems and dynamic graphics, my attention was taken by David Vichnar on Christine Brooke-Rose (the great British experimentalist you've never heard of) who died earlier this year and whose last book Life, End of I read, and loved, a few years ago.

I also want to recommend Marjorie Perloff's Poetry on the Edge: Reconceptualizing Lyric. She begins with a pertinent question "What happens to poetry when Everybody is a Poet?", referring to the plethora of graduate degrees in poetry in the USA that Jed Rasula addressed in his 2011 lecture The Condition of Poetry When Everybody is a Poet. To reduce her cogent analysis to one of several quotable remarks - "In the current climate, with literally thousands of poets jostling for their place in the sun, a tepid tolerance rules". In Australia we can reduce 'thousands' to 'hundreds' but a similar orientation applies.

And the third essay I want to mention is about the literary interview - Interviewing - in which David Hayman, professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, affably recounts his introduction to writers like Alain Robbe-Grillet via Samuel Beckett and his experiences in visiting, interviewing and corresponding with Robbe-Grillet, Maurice Roche and Phillipe Sollers in the mid 1970s. (Interviewing is followed by one of Sollers' blocks of prose H (PART 2))

VLAK magazine raises the temperature on anything 'tepidly tolerant'. (sorry deletions visitors, I couldn't resist a bit of copy-writing).

VLAK is produced in Prague. It's edited by Litteraria Pragensia director Louis Armand with, from around the globe, Edmund Berrigan, Ali Alizadeh, Stephen Mooney, David Vichnar, Stephan Delbos, Jane Lewty and Peter Cockelbergh

You can see the complete author list and buy a copy here.


Shikibu Shuffle

I recently received a box of an array of newly published pamphlets and chapbooks from Ottawa's above/ground press. One of them is a collaboration between the two well-known poets: Perth, Australia-based Andrew Burke and Perth, Canada-based Phil Hall. It's a really nice chapbook with a glued cover image (I think each cover is different), a bright orange fly leaf and a line drawing that resembles a rubber stamp, and could be a rubber stamp, on the title and end pages. There are fifteen short, minimal poems riffing on a tenth century Japanese poet. The suite is at once kind of dainty and perky. It's called Shikibu Shuffle.

The introductory page reads:

"Happy fate brought a poet from Perth Western Australia and a poet from Perth Ontario Canada together in 2009.

Then Andrew had a heart attack and was queued up for life-saving surgery.

With nothing to do but wait, kept alive by sprays and medical potions - to distract himself - Andrew agreed to work with Phil on a collaboration.

Andrew suggested the Japanese court poet Murasaki Shikibu (973-1014); her 5-line form might be a place to start.

Phil was thinking of Ornette Coleman: two quartets facing each other and going at it (1960).

We wrote in 5s back and forth, then shuffled our silence-inducing cacophony into 10s, then improvised from there...

Andrew's operation was bumped once, and then happened. He's fine.

The shuffle served its purpose, and now surprises and delights them both."


      I watch my chest
      rise and fall in the mirror

      nature in the raw

      nothing I see or think
      means anything to me

      then I plan to tell you about it

      and into each dull thunk
      like lemon on fish

      comes flugelhorn

      a faint zing


      Talking to the air

      I break cobwebs
      on the line

      cello   kite  fishing

      making lurid
      the net result

      while hammock hook shines

      sun holds   motes float