Tag Archives: Australian Poetry

Outcrop Readings at University of Kent

Outcrop front cover for FB

Black Rider Presents a reading of Outcrop at the University of Kent tomorrow night. Come for the innovative and significant poetical approaches to land at the crossroads of ecologies and language – featuring readings by Australian poets Laurie Duggan, Michael Farrell and Claire Potter.

Where: Eliot Senior Common Room, University of Kent

When: 6pm – 7pm UTC, Wednesday 22 January 2014

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Hyaline pre-sale now available

Matthew Hall’s debut poetry collection Hyaline is now available. Save $5 when you order the book before 1 March 2013.

For A$30 you you will also be able to bundle ‘Hyaline’ at its pre-sale price with a limited print edition of Matthew Hall’s chapbook ‘Royal Jelly’, previously only available as ebook.

For A$40 you will be able to bundle ‘Hyaline’ at its pre-sale price with a limited print edition of ‘Royal Jelly’ and a copy of ‘forward slash’, a Black Rider collage of Australian and Canadian innovation featuring poetry by Duncan Hose, Michael Farrell, a.rawlings, Louis Armand, Kemeny Babineau, Astrid Lorange and Jay MillAr.

You can pre-order Hyaline or bundle it at this pre-sale page.

“These are investigative poems that speak in a language of affection and pain, of beauty and trauma. Matthew Hall offers us a manifesto that declares its ecological and ontological concerns, and offers poetry as a possible healing. With great lyrical strength and deep but subtle knowledge, Hall’s poems act as tools for the reader to see and hear further through layer after layer of living tissue. Hall isn’t arriving as a poet, he has arrived. This is a work that offers a bridge between different cultures, geographies, and societies of poetry.”

– John Kinsella, Poet

For more information, see previous post.

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Black Rider Lines: Matthew Hall on ‘enjambment sisters present’ by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell - enjambment sisters present coverWhen reading Michael Farrell’s new collection enjambment sisters present, I find myself casting my mind to the work of Pierre Macherey, whose theory of literary production stressed the inherent incompleteness of the text. That, “the book [or the poem] is not self-sufficient, it is necessarily accompanied by a certain absence, without which it would not exist.”

The collection is, itself, a structure of complexity, demonstrative of both growth and decay; it is at once about the acquisition of words, assembling into the joy of the literary, and at the same time about control, contortion, the finite articulation of syllables, its careful dissection. In Farrell’s collection, then, we find a disarticulation, a pensive joy which attends the simplest utterance.

The challenge of the work is to ascertain the disarticulations of meaning, of a language which is heading in two directions at once, trading the polyvocal utterance, which stresses and strains against the limits of language, for a syntax of response, which dynamically gathers in and infolds relations with other elements.

Farrell’s poems are as set on the acquisition of language as on the construct of the domestic.

Oedipus the King, Hoicking (excerpt)

(Oedipus the King, Hoicking)

Which, playing with the notions of containment, punishment and the territorial, of the notion of home for one who argues, in ‘Schopenhauer , Ford’:

Schopenhauer Ford (excerpt)

makes the compossible claim that the lyrical ‘I’, the eyes of the poet, are tied both to the “mouth” as well as to “youth”. That the claims of articulation are tied to the past, to that which might only exist in fragmented utterances, in glimpses, in an uncertain, testing, and experiential wholeness, that allows an apprehension and renewal in retrospect.

The necessary incompleteness of the text means that the reader is a constant in the flux of the collection, a constant brace to its stutter and pulsing language. The forms and patterns break with an unceasing, teasing velocity, to which Farrell’s voice adds a sense of calm lucidity.

The repetitive patterns of ‘Some Enchanted Odding’ and ‘Schopenhauer , Ford’ are reminiscent of Marinetti or Hugo Ball, but the real treasure of Farrell’s work is in casting the world through the eyes of a child. In that, I am reminded of Hejinian’s line: “ I cannot separate lucidity from undressing” which makes a riddle out of a grammatical proposition, characteristic of her work in ‘The Composition of the Cell’.

Farrell’s fantasmic and creative imagining have the whimsy of childhood, “try this donut made out of doll rubber, tarpaper , and seaweed”; “I want to climb ha / lf an a / lpa / ca”; “If I could r / each the star / s”, which strikes me particularly as playing Wittgensteinian language games, to which children render a language malleable, mold it, create with it, stretch it over the world, and hand it back to you. As Gertrude Stein asked in ‘Arthur a Grammar’: “What is the difference between resemblance and grammar. There is none. Grammar is at best an oval ostrich egg and grammar is far better.”

Farrell’s enjambment sisters present is a brilliant plaything, it is lithe and agile, it turns and twists and jumps across the room, finally falling in a writhing heap on the rug. It contains all the joys and “sounds [of] the nest”. Reading it will put the melody in you.

– Matthew Hall


enajambment sisters present by Michael Farrell will publish as a free download on Monday 31 December 2012. It is the fourth instalment of the Black Rider presents Lyrics series.

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Free chapbook: ‘the halation assembly kit’ by jeremy balius

the halation assembly kit is an English-language/German bilingual poetry chapbook.

I’ve published it here so you can download it for free.

The chapbook is after the light-sculptures of German artist Mischa Kuball and focuses on identity of the individual amid the fluidity of value and wealth, post-Global Financial Crisis and ongoing Eurozone Crisis.

It was Kuball who said “Every gesture in the city is political.” (“Jede Geste in der Stadt ist politisch.”)

My gratitude goes to Marcus Roloff whose light shines bright within the German translation in this chapbook.

Download the halation assembly kit 

If you want a printed copy of the chapbook, PM me on Facebook in the next couple of weeks.


Filed under Poetry, Published

Black Rider presents forward slash – coming soon

forward slash is a Black Rider collage of Australian and Canadian innovation.

Edited by Matthew Hall and Jeremy Balius, the first edition features:

Duncan Hose
Michael Farrell
Louis Armand
Kemeny Babineau
Astrid Lorange
Jay MillAr

What people are saying

Balius and Hall have not so much edited as curated a powerfully critical, vital, and ranging assemblage of poetries as environmental archeologies, retracing colonial violences and suppressions’ “chiasma?/
e/merging in the present…” – Trisha Salah, author of Waiting in Arabic, Contributing Editor EOAGH

This is an uncommon collection of writing. Jarring yet hypnotic, raucous yet intimate, staccato yet sustained — forward slash prods the conventions, premises and assumptions of ‘mainstream’ poetry. Set in a transhemispherical and postcolonial context, this anthology of experimental Canadian and Australian poetries should be of interest to anyone intrigued by language — its possible trajectories, its pliant spatiality, its capacity for expression beyond steady imagery and common narratives. – John Ryan, editor, Landscape, from International Centre for Landscape and Language Research Group

forward slash is a wonderful poetic antidote to much of the polite verse presented today in traditional journals. It is like being in a strange calligraphic city where around every corner there is a surprise. And fortunately not all of them are happy ones. – Glen Phillips, retiring poet.

forward/slash invites your eyes and ears – music is diction here. Score on the page, thought on the tongue. if there is a single / direction / the reader will discover that it is plural (LA) To make new language, tune it differently and play it taut :: it will create new thought. Am I behind these lines? (ajr) Tradition? There is no going back in the way / You fancy (DH) Get off the pedestrian walk: [these poems] are boneless and make good eating. (MF)

‘The best way to find out about poems is to read the poems.’ Louis Zukofsky, ‘A statement for poetry’ in Prepositions, 1950 (Uni of Cal Press). Of course he’s right. – Andrew Burke


Filed under Black Rider Press, Poetry

Pulsatin’ to the back beat… It’s page seventeen!

hey ho, let’s go!
hey ho, let’s go!

They’re formin’ in a straight line
It’s page seventeen!

Melbourne’s annual literary mag covered in leaves features my poem ‘tempest, steal me away’.

& who else is pilin’ in the backseat? Oh, only AS Patric, Graham Nunn, Matthew Hall, Allison Browning, Matt Hetherington & a revival of all kinds of other hepcats!

It can be bought.

Hi-fives to Tiggy Johnson & Ashley Capes.

This issue whooshes as much as the ipad Eric Yoshiaki Dando made out of leaves!

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Filed under Journal, Melbourne, Poetry, Published

5 reasons why we need PiO in our lives

I’ve had a couple opportunities to tagteam guest lecture on contemporary poetry at an Introduction to Literature course at Murdoch University because of the kindness and sweetheartedness of Amber Fresh asking me along.

I’d already had concrete poetry on my mind and heart, going so far as writing some, and wish I had the wherewithal to publish a blank-paged book titled You write it, but that’s been done before (but I can’t remember who by or when.  I think it was 1960s Czech concrete…).

Amber introduced me to PiO’s work and I got hooked.  Then I found out PiO had launched Eric Dando’s Oink Oink Oink and it was all over.

'work' by PiO

PiO does much more than concrete. His birth certificate says he’s called Pangiotis Oustabasides and over time he’s also been called Peter Oustabasidis, P.O., Pi-O, π-O and PiO.  He was three years old when his family migrated to Melbourne Australia from Greece in 1954.  Read an extended biography, including notes about his sister and fellow poet Thalia (T.O.), at Komninos Zervos.

PiO is.

5 reasons why we need PiO in our lives

1. Writing with quasi-phonetic spelling of language-as-spoken, PiO drops us into migrant culture by ensuring our hearing the voice of the dialect and thereby feeling the displacement, the streets, the restaurants, the heat, the disaffected and the sensual.

him punch him
him punch him too
him hit him
him hit him 2, 3, 4,…

“Yoo no hit him!”
him hit

“Liv him alon wil-yum!”
him hit him more

“Eye punch yoo on noz!”
him punch him in stomaak
him kik him in lek
him skrech him in face

“Gon to Hospitaal!”
“Gon to Hospitaal!”

him en him
gon to Hospitaal.

2. PiO edited 925 – poetry magazine about work from 1978 to 1983, an anarchist experiment produced and distributed entirely by the poets appearing within the magazine.

925 Issue 10 (1981)

3. PiO is on a whole ‘nother level with numerical language and symbology.

In his essay ‘Terribleness‘ (published by Paradoxism – anti-literary journal, 2000), before using number poems to grapple PiO kicks off with:

The mad rush to move information from the margins (of society) to the centers (of power) are predominantly done through numbers now. Once, we knew how to manipulate most if not all the numbers we needed, cos they were relatively small. We use functions like x, ÷, +, -, etc, then more complex functions such as integration, logs, slide-rules, hand-calculators, and finally computers. The end result seems to be that we have became increasingly disenfranchised from the seats of power and influence. To navigate our way through the complex labyrinth of numbers we mortals need sign-posts and monuments to help us recognize our location. Examples of such numbers are, “e”, “i”, and “pi”. These “symbols” short-cut the writing-out of all the digits in their proper order and allowed us to move and manipulate them as units or aggregates of quanta. So what do we call a number that is so large and complex it is impossible to find a formula for its sequence of digits? Writing out all the digits each time you want to refer to it seems inadequate and inefficient to us (if not to a computer (or another storage) technology). So do we let the number-crunching power of the computer do all the work, or do we invent our own strategies that can help us “own” those large numbers? If computers are good at holding-numbers, and we are good at being emotional then perhaps an ability to hold the digits of an array in an emotional complex that we (if not the computer) can read, will hold us in good stead. Perhaps the rise of numerology in ancient Greece was directly related to a complex society that was an emotional turmoil; paralleling our own culture directly.

4. PiO can write an everything poem and we can’t.

Everything Poem

(an excerpt, ’cause it’s really, really long)

                        - For Karen

       go to
            that part
                     of the
                           (discovered in 1852)

  David Brewster did
                    (in 1816)
          he invented

                     down that glass!
                                hold that snitzel!
      drop that jug!
                     unhand that woman!
                                       freeze that punch!
                        just take a moment

                       in the ol' anglo-saxon
        unit of time
               f*ckin' minute


                        ... so
                               stick aroun'

5. For PiO, speaking and listening are to be at the same time.

Poetic experience, like all experience, is double-barrelled. It is an appreciation as well as an expression. One speaks and one listens; one hears and one speaks. To experience ΠO’s poetry is to understand that the speaking and the listening are one. It is ourselves invading ourselves, with images, with sounds. The sounds themselves have magnitude. Are of the body, the breath, the life-force. “Say it out loud,” ΠO exclaims to his detractors when they confess they can see no meaning in what he writes. “Read it aloud!” – Billy Marshall-Stoneking, PiO – An Appreciation (Thylazine, 2002)

More PiO tidbits

Visual poems from 1998 (click ‘First poem’ at the bottom to see more)

The rime of the anarchist wog (Good Weekend, 1996)

Download an audio interview on Poetica

A sharp ear and eye for human life (Sydney Morning Herald, 2008)

Cordite interview (2006)

Rap poets’ society (Sydney Morning Herald, 2004)

A poet who draws on the ocker and migrant dialect (UoW Artists in Residence)

PiO writes introduction to Dada kampfen um Leben und Tod by Jas H. Duke

Big Numbers (for sale at Readings)


Filed under 5 reasons why, Australia, Poetry, Spoken Word

When A.S. Patric’s Music for Broken Instruments became our architectural maxim

Once A.S. Patric’s debut poetry collection Music for Broken Instruments gets tossed, and tumbles into your bloodstream, don’t fret that the pin’s been pulled on this grenade. The anticipation of the explosion is a sublime act of destruction.

Ripping the fogged sunglasses from our faces with “drop a brick / into your soul” … “as God bawls down / from his brawling bar”, Patric slaps us across the mouth.

Wake up! This is the real stuff, friends!

So much so that if Patric’s ever backed into a corner, you know damn well the Black Rider’s got his back. ‘Cause when Patric says something like “then you can look at the whales and smile knowingly / be an expert on why they insist on beaching / themselves / just when you were about to relax / and have a daydream / about daydreaming”, there’s nothing left to do but live wide-eyed and brazen and to raise our glasses and pledge love and loyalty to each other.

You can download a free promo excerpt , but let’s stop kidding ourselves, this is a poetry collection you need to own in full.

So one day when you find A.S. Patric and the Black Rider encircled by droogs, you’ll stand tall alongside us with fists raised, eyes gleaming and honour glowing.

Music for Broken Instruments is available from the Black Rider Shop.

What they’re saying

Music For Broken Instruments is A. S. Patric’s first book of poems, following a number of short fiction publications in the last couple of years. While this was not my first introduction to A.S. Patric’s poetry (I have followed his blog for a reasonable while now), this is the first time I have read them in a collected volume.

A. S. Patric writes emotional, unapologetic poems that, at their best, fracture realities, grasp at moments, and drown in the aftermath. Further into the volume, the mood shifts and more global topics surface amidst the interpersonal miasma that has come before.

While I enjoyed the early introspective pieces dealing with loss and exclusion, I was particularly drawn to those poems that took risks: Paper targetsand In defence of blind ignorance play with form and structure, with the latter’s call-and-response rhythm breaking the mold before rebuilding it, piece by piece. A lover in fortuna is the funniest of all the pieces, perhaps hinting at a comedic streak not otherwise explored, while But Mostly Air is conveniently, pure poetry from beginning to end.

Music for Broken Instruments showcases an intensity, an emotional honesty that resonates well after the final poem. As a reader, you cannot help but be moved by the journey. While at times I felt uncomfortable with such raw emotion, I also recognised the courage and conviction of A.S. Patric’s words…and that, to my mind, says more about his talent than any superlatives I might otherwise choose to define or categorise his work. – Laurie Steed

Music for Broken Instruments is absorbing with its filaments of churning lullabies all prime and lucid amongst the many poetic harmonics. Byron wrote, ‘Music arose with its voluptuous swell’, an apt description of the poems within. – Alicia Sometimes

“Alec Patric’s book of poetry, Music for Broken Instruments, reminded me that poetry is fun. It’s been a long time since I felt that about a bit of present-day poetry. We’re all so bloody serious, striving to be smart and innovative. Alec reminded me that that this is perhaps best achieved without trying; or, better still, whilst giving the impression of not trying. And this is not a small thing: you could almost say that, as far as the history of poetry goes, he achieves the ultimate aim. ‘The art is to hide the art’.” – Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers

There is music here for those of us yawning at life, at the monotonous construction and collapse of each day. For those of us uncertain, feeling ‘a little Spiderman lost in Gotham’. This is A.S. Patric hitting notes and chords a broken instrument might believe, offering poems rich in image, sound and rhythm, even distortion. He admits to the days that are only for bearing and reminds us to keep a window open just enough for a paper plane to sneak through or for a small bang theory, though ‘Truth rides a horse with one blind eye’. – Nathan Curnow (The Ghost Poetry Project)

Music for Broken Instruments is a welcome shock. Determined and inventive, Patric’s poetry demands that the reader think about and question their world, all the while catching us up in language that is like the sea, dark and wild one moment, measured and beautiful the next. – Ashley Capes
A.S. Patric strikes a chord in this brave and powerful first collection. Music for Broken Instruments is a sequence of poems that creates a fabulous narrative, or journey perhaps, offering people we know, people we don’t want to admit we know, people we don’t want to talk about, and people we don’t want to admit we might be. –  Tiggy Johnson


Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Poetry, Published