This edition of the ‘Kickin’ it with…’ series is different.
Instead of a dialogue, we’re presenting a pattern poem called ‘nightcap’ by Toby Fitch. Toby kicks it with us by sharing some thoughts about the poem and the long road to everywhere.
(click the image below to enlarge)
My pattern poem ‘nightcap’ is the last poem in my book Rawshock (Puncher & Wattmann 2012) and is a kind of ars poetica, and a tongue-in-cheek one. Icarus makes an appearance as the “I” in the first half of the poem, though this “I” could also be the speaker, the subject being spoken to, or the poet. In the first half, I paraphrase Baudelaire’s ‘Get Drunk’. I was reading poems with Icarus in them by William Carlos Williams and W H Auden. In earlier drafts, I had allusions to these poems, but they didn’t work so I stripped them out. I was also reading ‘Drunken Boat’ and ‘Genie’ by Arthur Rimbaud, and I think the allusions are pretty obvious but necessary in the second half of the poem. Besides the sentiment that the poem teases out — the desire to let go of control in order to create — the dualities in the poem are probably the most important bits: the conflation of “I” and “you”, and then of “you and I” to “we/our”; the road of the conscious world doubling as the black river of the subconscious (think Ashbery, think also of the Underworld); the surface of the water with a child’s boat on it, as in the end of ‘Drunken Boat’, that in my poem transforms into a porthole and then doubles as the sky; and, of course, the two wings mirroring each other. I also like to think that ‘nightcap’ mirrors the first poem in Rawshock, ‘On the Slink’, which can also be read as an ars poetica, but with less intoxication.
About Toby Fitch
Toby Fitch was born in London and raised in Sydney. His first full-length collection of poems Rawshock was published with Puncher & Wattmann, 2012, while a chapbook Everyday Static came out with Vagabond Press, 2010. He was shortlisted for the Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2012 and has published poems in anthologies, newspapers and major journals, nationally and internationally, including Best Australian Poems 2011 and 2012, Meanjin, The Australian, Cordite, and Drunken Boat. He is poetry reviews editor for Southerly journal, and is a doctoral candidate at Sydney University. http://tobyfitch.blogspot.com