Category Archives: Interview

Kickin’ it with Levin A. Diatschenko

Hunched over little sewing tables in a cafe a while back, a friend said to me “There’s this guy up north – you gotta read his stuff, Balius. This guy is the real deal.”
He was talking about Levin A. Diatschenko. And I read his stuff. And he is the real deal.
I imagine Levin as this mystic journeyman way up north in the Territory, conjuring up these stories out of the ancient land and heat. I imagine him orchestrating little men made out of sticks and twine, dancing and shrieking around and around him. I imagine Levin looking up at the night sky and wonder what would reflect in his eyes.
We published My Soul Cried the Spaceman as an ebook (hit the link for the stores it’s at) and it’ll be out as a physical book in the near future.
It’s space, it’s mystic, it’s magical realist, it’s cool. It’s not for the squeamish, it’s not for the faint of heart (and not for kids!) and it doesn’t pull punches.
The Black Rider caught up to get down to the heart of the matter.
This is us kickin’ it.

Levin, when we first started discussing My Soul Cried the Spaceman our conversation filled with ideas stemming from esoteric systems, political thought, primal desires of man, spiritual matters and a range of other fields. I’d like to start here by asking about the concept of space drunkenness which I remember we spent quite a bit of time debating. What does it mean to be space drunk?
In the book space drunkenness is a condition that astronauts get from being in deep space too long. They usually get temporary amnesia, forgetting their own identities. Sometimes they awake from it as from a daydream, vaguely recalling uncharacteristic escapades they’d been on while in the trance. I wanted the spaceship and its actions to be metaphorical of mental activity. We all go on daydreams (perhaps of fights, arguments, sex, and so forth), and then snap out of these imaginative adventures. In the book I’ve made it physical; imagine if your body wandered like your mind does? You might snap out of it after doing something you regret. The astronauts open fire on cities, commit piracy, or just wander the universe lost in space drunkenness. Mastering control of the spaceship is therefore an astronaut’s equivalent of concentration or yoga.
Can you tell me a little bit more about this idea of accumulative or total human knowledge? I don’t think of this as omniscience, but rather, I see the last Thirteener character representing and being the summation of all experience of his people group. What role does this character fulfill in the story?
Borges said that on an eternal timeline all people would eventually do all things. I think this idea is very useful in terms of viewing humanity as a single being (or organ of the Earth being), as well as implying non-judgment. The idea with the last Thirteener, the last child of his race retaining all his ancestor’s memories in his head, is my experimentation with that concept. He is something of the Eternal Wanderer, or Adam Kadmon in Cabalistic philosophy. His appearance was the visible evidence of an abstract quality in the Earth Chain (the aspiration to unity) just as the appearance of the UN, say, is the visible manifestation of our desire for some kind of unity and cooperation in the world. The desire is there, and the existence of the UN is proof even though the ideal has not been accomplished yet.

Another layer to this concept is the spiritual idea about the external and internal worlds mirroring each other. Since this single being retains the memory of a whole human race, when he gives a speech in front of a huge crowd of people from another human race it seems to him that he is viewing the contents of his own head.
You’ve got themes of unity permeating through the book as you explore in multiple contexts. I’m thinking of the androids, the sect, the pilgrims seeking out the last Thirteener. Do you see your main characters in their lonely states seeking to belong to something?
Yes, the androids are seeking acceptance as sentient beings, so that it becomes a human rights issue: if they’re deemed alive, they should be entitled to rights as a new form of human (since they ‘evolved’ from humans). Professor Bleak switches the argument to say that we humans are also only artificially intelligent, reactionary, and mistaking complexity for consciousness. This puts humans on par with the AI either way.
The Hidden Moon Cult was founded by a native of Earth 13, the race which dies while passing their collected memories onto the next generation until there’s a single child left. This is a huge sacrifice of the many for the one (or whole). This woman did not want to give her own identity up and so had a struggle with that. The theme of sacrifice comes up throughout the book as linked with unity or unifying.
Which main character do you mean? The astronaut or the Child? both have their share of loneliness, since both are living lives unusual to the rest of humanity. They are therefore the closest things to peers to each other than any other characters in the book. These two are not seeking belonging in the usual sense, but more like those who aspire to greatness (the astronaut) or feel greatness has been thrust on them (The Child) and thus belong to the historically great among us.
Something I particularly like about the story is the repetition – it’s as if situations repeat themselves or become shadows of themselves with each reoccurance. What is happening to the astronaut amid this repetition?
The repetition has a few ideas behind it. One is that hypnotism and trance occur with repetition, and so these repeated scenarios add to the Space Drunk feel of the book. Another is the idea of writing prose like music, with repeated motifs. Motifs in symphonies or free jazz often repeat motifs with variations or in different keys and so forth. Russian fairy tales are actually written with this rhythm. There are lots of repeated phrases, endings, and occurrences. The result feels very poetic and rhythmic.
I also like the idea that repetition is a way of thinking non-linear. With each repetition something is different, as if these are the same moment revisited, spiting into two potential choices or realities. Imagine an editor’s view of reality: If someone keeps doing the exact same thing each day then all the days in between the first and last day would be deemed redundant. So the editor-god takes them out. Time becomes transcended like a wormhole from the first day to the last. We experience such a (subjective) loss of time when we do repetitive activities. We also lose our cars when we park in the same parking lot at the same supermarket year after year. This is because the incidents of parking there have become redundant or melded into each other.
What role does the Hidden Moon Cult play in the story. Does it exist?
The last Thirteener says that everyone has a Hidden Moon inside them. This place was his subconscious, with its extreme sexual traits and its reluctance to give up its last desires. The woman who founded it, Hegemony, is a Thirteener herself and the last to give herself up to the process which ended in unity. So, it was like the Child’s last temptation or Dweller of the Threshold (as some traditions put it).
It does exist but the question is whether it is an actual physical place or an astral or ghostly illusion. I think it had aspects of both since some people, such as Miss Glare, return in the flesh.
How does a Gleamer challenge humanity?
Gleamers challenge humanity firstly by their mere existence: it forces a clear definition of sentience, and there isn’t one. Professor Bleak  claims that they are merely very complex programs with a huge number of potential programed responses, and this tricks us into thinking them sentient. The problem is that this may well describe us humans. We live by programmed or learned responses to similar situations. So, if we deem them machines, we could deem ourselves that too, and if we deem them sentient then they have grounds for human rights. The humans do not want to grant this in the book.
The Gleamers themselves consider themselves the next evolutionary step from humans, and therefore our superiors.
Tell me about The Veil – what is it and how do people get their hands on it?
The Veil is a magazine (or zine, I’m not sure on the difference) that I produce and edit. It’s devoted to occultism, mysticism, obscure science, philosophy, Freemasony, comparative religion, and things like that. It’s designed by Nico Liengme and is about to release its fifth issue. We do small print runs of about 150 copies, and distribute it online too.
For a hard copy email aybrus@hotmail.com or go to Polyester books in Melbourne, and various cafes around Darwin.
What are you working on these days?
Right now I’m working more in theatre. We’re trying to tour my first play Darwin Vs. Matilda to venues around the country, and my second play Jehovah’s One Table Restaurant is going into production. As I said, issue 5 of The Veil is coming soon as well, and so is a book of Swagman’s fables.
Thanks Levin!!!
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Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Fiction, Interview, Kickin' it with

Kickin’ it with Jill Jones

Photo: Annette Willis 2007

A while ago I was at this li’l festival where I met Jill Jones when we were on this panel about something. There weren’t really any readings going down that weekend, so we threw a guerilla poetry event with some like-minded sweethearts, including Michael Farrel, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Thuy Linh Nguyen, Kirk AC Marshall et al. All of whom are subversive and rebellious in their own way/right.

I remember it being cold that weekend in Melbourne.

At the guerilla gig Jill read from her collection Dark Bright Doors, which had just come out. In the meantime it’s been shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. She’s won that before…

Bleary-eyed at the airport, homeward bound, I ran into Jill in the ticketing queue. Then my flight to Perth was delayed. Then her flight to Adelaide was delayed. And for the record, getting stuck in a departure lounge for hours with Jill Jones is an awesome experience. We discussed Ron Silliman, we debated the motivation behind or the inability of some to be poetically risk-taking, we talked about Dark Bright Doors, we Talked.

Wanna know why Jill rules so much? ‘Cause she says things like “The I is in the flow. The river always shifts. I, too, I am, and am wherever.” And her wisdom flows deep.

This is us kickin’ it:

What are the most beautiful sounding words?

The words that sound are all beautiful, but that sonic is surrounded by all that depends. Context, how said, who said, why said, and the rest. So it may be ugly or terrible sounding words that are also beautiful.

Where do Dark Bright Doors open and close to? Where do they take us to? What are they made of? Who is wise/foolish enough to grasp their handles and pull?

The dark bright doors of that book open on through. As there’s more than one door, it’s not all opening only or closing solely. These dark bright doors are made of language, words, phrases, lines, sentences, letters, punctuation marks, spaces on a page. Not all doors have handles. If I was the fool as writer (fool in sense of motley or the vagabondage or precipitousness of the Tarot fool), then a reader is wise to fool around in the words, to ask more than the normal questions, to take the risk of the doors, to try things on. The fool’s journey is the journey.

When “I” shifts from the centre, whereto does the river flow?

When was I the centre? The I is in the flow. The river always shifts. I, too, I am, and am wherever.

Spelunking into the sensual, in what ways are written words viscerally experiential?

You see them, in dark, through tears, in brightness. You sound them in your mouth or head and that is part of breathing. You could even trace them with your finger. On some pages the type is raised ever so slightly. You could tear them from the page, and that makes sound as well as movement; then you could put them around you to make other words.

Have you ever accidentally quoted yourself or a line from one of your poems in conversation with someone?

I may have. If they are words that I like, undoubtedly. It would be the sound of them, individual syllables and the words formed into phrases, syntaxes, and to have them happen as part of a conversation not about poetry would be welcome. I should make sure I do it. No-one need know, or would know.

Oh, how to breathe fresh life into a sonnet form?

Be in love with the old ideas and break their heart. Breathe. Collaborate with the canon then turn it around. Be promiscuous. Keep talking line by line. Steal. Love your patterns and blow them off. Sing – sonet is a little song. Repetitions and echoes. Permutations. Obssess. Detach self from making, sing outside yourself.

What kind of poetry excites you that may get dismissed by conservative editors?

To move through some negatives first: I prefer poetry that is not in love with the need for metaphors or big booming symbols, poetry that is not over-willed (this includes a lot of so-called avant-garde works as well), poetry that is not self-expression. I’m excited by poetry that is imperfect and undetermined, poetry that plays in the world, ie. is porous, poetry that loves language enough to muck it around.

High-brow, low-brow or mono-brow?

Plucked. You get different sounds in mono, hi-fi and low-fi.

What are you trying to get better at or improve?

Brevity.

And also to sprawl more on the wide space of the page in open and fresh-made ways.

How to steal from myself, brazenly.

Whereto from here? What are you working on?

Always working, even if in the head or my dreams. I have a series of poems without titles, this is new for me. I am retrieving, re-forming and re-purposing my own work, and any other words I like the look and feel of – breaching, colliding, dissassembling. I’m not a project person so the above is as close as I come. I have several small and large collections (literally) on the go and am doing the constant jigsaw game of arrangements.

Thanks Jill, for your kindness, and for this poem:

yes,no, yes

While it seems crazy in the spider season
not possessed not forsaken
perhaps it starts with the ravens

To a dream of your old clothes
these afternoons that do not, that bring you pain
perhaps the boxes will fall only for you

Knots in night, trinkets leaning
get along, little dreams, get along
if it wasn’t for the rumours

You could be anywhere pushing or lugging
and leave, I can’t show you exactly
into the rain, I haven’t had that dream

Again, bodies
the least of my preparations
I ate the song positions
as I go a slow coast doesn’t differentiate

With a stolen leather jacket
the air is noisy on the stones
light is not always its light

The forecast has showered me
and will be thankful to walk is to
remain confused but now is enough

The factories of the road continue
feeling foolish to be free
left out in the rain and no longer white

The house is full of waterfalls
falling like this forever
back east they’ve got thunder

Is living days a pale back
not dreamed

you should never talk about
the lightness of the light

(from Jill’s Ruby Street)

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Kickin’ it with JJ Deceglie

It took me about a year to track down JJ Deceglie.

I’d originally found him through following (and later publishing) Nathan Hobby’s work. For ages I’d been wanting JJ to climb up onto Cottonmouth’s stage. I couldn’t get a hold of him. I couldn’t  find him – too elusive, too non-descript.

See, JJ is exactly the kind of hepcat I dig. This cat’s work is so heavy – forget whatever you’re told anything is supposed to be. This cat is so heavy.

He’s concocted the novella the sea is not yet full, the short story collection In the Same Streets You’ll Wander Endlessly, Australia’s first novel about poker Damned Good, and his most recent novella Ennui and Despair. Plus lots of stories published all over the place.

Out of the blue a year later I heard from him, had crept out of the depths of Freo, and over jars in the Sail & Anchor then the flurry of maddening schemes, plots, codifications, defiant contrivances, irreverent. And mad for the High Ones in the Berryman sense.

So with JJ soon taking over the oncoming edition of The Diamond & the Thief, here then some of our conversation while kickin’ it.

Last time we spoke, we talked about how it was your love for poker that led to your novel Damned Good. The high stakes poker storyline goes that deep into the character’s psyche, how much of it is researched and how much of it did you live?

I think of it sometimes as a completely psychological novel; one that uses poker as a metaphor to detail a method of living one’s existence in a particularly intense way, and the agony that can come with that.
In another way it is a completely philosophical novel; guidelines to attempting life as an existential superman, and again the intensity required for that. Then again it’s also just a book about poker; also a veiled personal mythology of myself and my life and things I’ve felt and known. It’s about  failure mostly. Gambling and failing and having nothing left, but gambling yet again to get something back. There is no other way for the character, none that he can see anyway.

There’s an answer in there somewhere.

Damned Good’s ascendant and subsequent descendent arc is split by a guide to authentic poker, my fave sub-chapter being ‘In the End as in the Beginning’. How did this li’l guide come about both in content and where it sits in the story?

The actual poker guide was the publisher’s idea. I wasn’t particularly keen at first (and told them so) but went out one day and wrote some stuff down and it just flowed and I liked how it sounded. I thought I can do this and it can add rather than take away.

The way I see it is that it is something ‘The Rookie’ wrote during that period in which we aren’t with him. I had to pare down the story and took some of those parts out (sections that ‘The Rookie’ had written, along with a more surreal ending).

We know he burns a manuscript of sorts and this is what would have come outta him. In terms of content it’s a hybrid of mostly individual mysticism, throw in arcs along similar lines to that of Heidegger, Gurdjieff and Camus and you could maybe leave it about there. Perhaps a mention to old Nietzsche too.

I’ve become convinced you’re spelunking into the inner caves of what it means to be or become man while thrashing through life. (“A man is, or he isn’t.”) Do you find these protagonists are done and/or undone at their own hand?

There are, and are not. As is anyone really. For men such as these there may be no other method. Not to their eyes or hearts, not in their sphere of existence. They have to know, and will push until the bloom or wreck shows itself as the result. It is about living, how best to do it, how to actually know it and feel it and yeah to be a man, but to become a man as a result of prolonged authentic experience, not one by what you have stored up or borrowed or read about. It must be lived. I think I use the writing as a method of figuring these things out for myself; and I can tell you wholeheartedly that I have no definitive answers.

Ennui and despair, is this our inheritance?

Both are by-products of intensity and misplaced authenticity. Both are the run-off of failure and collapse. Both are the end result of abject misunderstanding and a vein of hopelessness that can be felt so strongly at times wandering about on this earth. Though both are battled with hope and beauty, and both are rendered next to dead by courage and individual responsibility acknowledged in one’s existence. If you are really trying, you have to feel them both at some stage, don’t you – I can’t see any other way.

Wherein do we find answers?

Find what you wanna do, do it with everything damn thing you got; but expect nothing without work. So work and work and work. You’ll probably still lose, and you will definitely die, but it’s better than dying while you live.

What’s next for you?

I got a novel called ‘Princes Without a Kingdom’ coming out with Disruptive Press real soon. It’s a 400 plus page work, and I spent 18 months on it over 2009/10. It’s my Dostoyevskian effort, hopefully the first of many. Big characters colliding like planets, different attempts at existence personified, talking it out, living it out, fighting life in drastic efforts to see what works best and most.

I got some poetry I’m working at too.

Also a hardboiled noir novel. 

Why press on? Why continue? What is it with obsession? I’m thinking about this: “All you have, the lot, before, now and after, the real gambler, the real artist, it is risked every time, and it is accurate living; the will to live burns most intense only in the moments of unchecked creation, or in the winning at the highest possible stake.”

I think you either understand it the way it is written above, or you don’t.

Confusion or bewilderment?

Bewilderment. Complete and absolute. You can clear up confusion, you can elucidate it. Bewilderment is akin to disorientation, to perplexity, and I know and feel it like one would a sibling. It cannot be altered, it can only be lived, accustomed and adapted to. We habituate it.

What’s coming around the bend? And how fast are we running toward it?

More of the same, unless you change it, so buckle up, or expire now.

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Time Off Magazine and Scene Magazine get to know the Black Rider

Hey, I got a mention in the 59th verse of Emily XYZ’s one-verse-per-day twitter poem.

59: who’s best / andy angela jeremy tiggy ross? graham pam johnpaul angel darkwing ken? ghostboy who reads bowie upstairs as baby sleeps?

Brisbane’s Scene Magazine did a lil article on the Queensland Poetry Festival and briefly chatted with me in their Festival in Preview article (scroll down).

Time Off Magazine did a longer feature, but they’ve taken it down already, so here it is:

A MAN OF HIS WORDS

By Helen Stringer

The Queensland Poetry Festival takes over the Judith Wright Centre next week; HERE HELEN STRINGER talks to one of its performers, Perth poet Jeremy Balius.

The mention of spoken word poetry might conjure images of a smoky basement room filled with black-cloaked figures gently clicking their fingers in approval as a pale, malnourished, art school dropout woefully laments the demise of intellectualism in rhyming couplets and a dry monotone, but it’s a misconception that Perth-based poet and performer Jeremy Balius – soon to be in town for the Queensland Poetry Festival – is quick to dispel.
The reality, he explains, is a lot more engaging and evocative than the traditional “Beatnik berets and black turtlenecks” perception would suggest.
“Spoken word as a scene or an experience is a lot closer to what you would experience in theatre,” he says. “So the reasons for going to the theatre would outweigh the reasons for going to the cinema because the actual human emotion element is happening in front of you. That’s what’s going on with spoken word poetry. You’re experiencing it in real time; it’s happening in front of you. It’s a whole lot more engaging than the cliché back-room hokey perception.”

Originally from Los Angeles, Balius – who describes his own work as “more vehement and excitable than the usual” – came across spoken word through music: “the writing of it came from being heavily involved in music and being lyrically bent. The more and more you head down that path you end up coming to the end result which is poetry.”

His immersion in the world of poetry – aside from writing and performing he’s also ventured into indie publishing with Black Rider Press – has lead to his appearance at the Queensland Poetry Festival, an honour, he jokes that must be a “clerical error”. As he says, “it’s completely amazing that of the people coming from WA I’m coming up with Andrew Taylor and Andrew Burke, two stalwarts in WA. These guys are pinnacles in the poetry scene and that alone is a huge honour for me.”

While performance is obviously inherent to all spoken word, Balius is particularly diligent in delineating between printed and spoken poetry.
“I’m probably more militant on this issue than most people… It’s hard to separate myself from the performance aspect. When I read work that I’m going to perform bound within it is the delivery and the movement and the drama of it all and the personal engagement with the audience… It’s about being able to step up on stage and deliver and people just being so blown away that they’re actively responding; they’re so in the moment and not containing themselves.”

Indeed, he’s probably one of the few poets who can claim the dubious honour of having evoked a response so uncontained they’re forced off stage for fear of provoking a riot. Admittedly, the event in question occurred after a band Balius was performing spoken word with was mistakenly booked to play a Bhangra – a very specific type of Indian dance music – festival.

“It went sour so fast and people responded with such vehemence and youthful jubilee that quickly the pandemonium rose to where there’re guys starting to fight and there’s just complete chaos. We got cut after the second song.”  Thankfully, audience responses are usually more positive and rarely involve violent retaliation.

“My favourite response is not even a favourable one but I use it as my mantra. Someone came up to me and he said, ‘You should probably know that we don’t get people like you around here that often…I think I liked it but I don’t know if I should.’” It’s an apt mantra for a spoken word poet: I liked it, but I don’t know if I should.

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Verity La gets to know the Black Rider

Literary recreants - by Danny Khoo

Brazenly seductive, new online journal Verity La has been wooing us all with forward-thinking stories and poems by many of my favourite contemporary poets and authors here in Australia.  Taking the time to get to know these literary cats is where Verity La really puts its ear to the virtual soil.

Co-editor Alec Patric is so punk rock he contumeliously published my dusty hinterland villanelle narrative Gather Darkness! and play your songs of heartache.

In Associations, Patric gets to the bottom of translating, filtering and decoding communication, so he only lets me answer his questions with quotes from others.

For example:

Using a quote from your favourite poet, tell me the secret to your soul.

iii

the dew
goes
leaf
to
leaf
whole
the boy’s soul
is luminous

the wisdom
rolls
from finger
through finger

the plant
makes its own little sun
for us
a big drop in the ocean

hope is a transparent mirror
— Amber Fresh, excerpted from It’s the same thing again

Strange enough without shadows.
— Amanda Joy, Vasilissa’s Doll

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Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Interview, Melbourne, Perth, Poetry, Published

Queensland Poetry Festival gets to know the Black Rider

Photo by Ryan Michael Swearingen, http://www.myeyemachine.com

I’m about a month and a half away from traipsing over to Brisbane for my song and dance at the Queensland Poetry Festival (QPF).

The good folk at QPF dropped in for a conversation recently and published an interview with me on their website.  You’ll see chit-chat similar to:

QPF: To borrow a recent question posed by Emily XYZ – What is the purpose of your writing?

Me: On some days I want my writing to be for the last of the red hot lovers – as maps or walking sticks or a drink of water for them road-weary gypsies. These are songs to sing along to as however small a help to be unyielding to despair.

On other days my writing’s the broken music creeping out of the grinderman’s decrepit organ and I’m the little monkey in a tiny, filthy suit, chained to the organ, dancing and begging.

Read my interview at Queensland Poetry Festival > select 2010 Festival > Artist Interviews > Jeremy Balius.

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Kickin’ it with Nathan Curnow

Nathan Curnow is a cat cooler than the other side of your pillow.

This guy goes out to all kinds of haunted sites across Australia, including the Old Adelaide Gaol and the Fremantle Arts Centre (which was once an asylum and is coincidentally – tho’ in my opinion serendipitously – down the street from me), stays the night locked in a cell or in a decrepit hearse or something equally grisly, writes The Ghost Poetry Project about the terrifying journey, has it published by Puncher & Wattman and picks up the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize for his poem ‘endtime’ along the way.

See, this is about exhuming terrors from in-between the lines, both your own and your country’s.

This is experiental poetry and language to discover the intricacies between words that mortify and words that embolden.  This is about embarking on a journey, documenting it with a confessional and personal clarity, coping with loneliness while separated from wife and children, and conceptually enriching the Australian experience by bringing forward primal themes and historical situation into contemporary context.

Is Nathan Curnow one of the last of the red hot lovers?  Yes.

Here’s me kickin’ it with him:

In what ways is the The Ghost Poetry Project about the writing experience?
It started out as an exploration of fear, courage and the power of mystery and myth.  What use are words or poetry in the face of terror?  But the project also came to symbolise for me what it is writers do and how we live.  We open ourselves up alone to imagination.  We go to spaces, to rooms of potential which are sometimes darker than we ever expected.  Yet this is how we live, at the risk of what we might dredge up.  We choose to cloister ourselves, though at times we feel all too overwhelmed and trapped.

But not only did entering haunted sites symbolise something of the writing life.  Every time I shut that door behind me I was going to meet death, whatever form it might take.  But more specifically I was meeting mine.  It quickly became about the courage I would need to one day give in to the unknown, to accept that final breath as my last and die.

What thoughts contort a man’s mind when he spends the night in the Old Adelaide Gaol?
Ghosts and execution—the weight of story and suggestion.  The mystery of how space, time and the self connect, overlap and collapse.  How fear works.  How thinking about the contortion of the mind inevitably leads to the contortion of the mind.  Madness.  Escape.  How the hell to survive the night, and then the remaining eight haunted sites that were still to come.

In what ways has The Ghost Poetry Project changed you?
It’s made me a better writer.  I learnt so much in such a short space of time— about poetry, research and how I work as an artist.  The project was an intense, exhausting and high-pressure adventure, so it has forced me to think about how I look after myself long-term, for all concerned.  It’s woken me up to all sorts of limits.  Woken me up in a kick-to-the-groin-good-morning kind of way.

Can a writer be consumed by what he writes?
Yes, I think a writer can go too deep and lose their balance both personally and creatively.  But the act of writing is also how one keeps from being consumed.  By bashing at the keys of the keyboard a writer is putting the word-jigsaw together, trying to understand life through the strength and frailty of language.

I think the most common trap, perhaps the scariest and easiest thing for a writer to be consumed by, is the self—issues of ego, expectation, ambition, image, identity, recognition and exposure.

Is it better to haunt or be haunted?
Neither.  I think if you’re haunted for too long you probably do your own fair share of haunting sooner or later.

Photo by Allison Browning

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