26 July 2009

Sport 2009

(That’s the magazine rather than the activity.)

A very exiting thing that happened this week is I got the latest issue of Sport magazine in the mail, with three of my poems in it! This is the first time I’ve had work published in Sport before, and I’m pretty excited about it. The poems are some of my movie poems: ‘When the lights go down’, ‘Chris’s life, a directed by Ken Russell’ (I must confess I stole some of this from things Chris said – including the best line: ‘That’s the anteater of self-doubt’), and ‘Helen’s life, as directed by Christine Jeffs’. The last two are part of a series I started in which various people I know have their lives directed by various film directors.

I haven’t had a chance to sit down with this issue and have a good read yet, but there’s lots to enjoy, including stories by Vivienne Plumb, Ingrid Horrocks and Johanna Aitchison, and poetry by Ian Wedde, Andrew Johnstone, Bill Manhire, Lynn Davidson and more.

The cover is very cool. It features a pair of giant rabbits among the tussock, wearing suits, reading a large book. Very Lynchian.

Bukowksi's Birthday Bash

This invitation from Miriam of Side Stream will be of most interest to Auckland folks:

!!!Bukowski's Birthday Bash!!!

Poets from the fringe mash it up with live, improvised jazz by the Dirty Words Live Sessions Band.

8 pm Friday August 14th 2009 @ Thirsty Dog (Corner of K' Rd & Howe St)

$10 on the door to fund the next issues of Side Stream, our free, bi-monthly poetry zine.

Let's keep our only independent and free underground poetry zine happening for another year. We've just released issue 20 this month. We've published about 90 poets (mainly from New Zealand) and a dozen artists across two and a half years, printing and hand-binding over 3,700 copies of the zine in that time, all of which have been given away for free to people from such places as Berlin and Portland to Melbourne and Kaitaia. All of this made possible by volunteers from all around the nation and the world. We want this truly community project to continue.

And our second fundraiser is going to be killer!

Bukowski would have dug Side Stream, seeing as he lived and breathed the underbelly, and what he spat out made it beautiful. The Dirty Words Live Sessions rocked my socks off in a very major way at the beginning of the year and then went into hibernation. But I tracked them down. I wouldn't let it go.

So for one night the Dirty Words Live Sessions are brought back to life with performances-with-a-twist from poets connected to Side Stream, including myself. The twist being that the three-piece band are improvising and have no idea what will be performed. The poet has to listen and go where the musicians lead, there is to be no direct communication between poet and band. It's totally spontaneous and totally exhilarating. There may be a chance for the audience to have a go, Mr Hollands will be there, so anything could happen. Whatever this is, this is not going to be a poetry reading.

So spread the word, tell everyone it's happening, Bukowski's Birthday Bash is coming, and it is going to be fantastic, let's make it go viral, and I'll see you there - August 15th, Thirsty Dog.

25 July 2009

Poetry day/#exquisitecorpsepoem

Yesterday was Montana Poetry Day in NZ. Most of my participation was online - writing a poetry-related blog post for my day-job blog and twittering about poetry. Actually - there was a lot of poetry, or linking to poems, going on on Twitter. All the best cultural institutions were doing it, ie Te Papa, NZ on Screen, NZ Live, NZHistory.net, Te Ara.

I also had a bit of a bash at my own promotion of poetry last week. Inspired by @senjmito saying that Twitter was the new poetry, and a bunch of my friends having recently completed an exquisite corpse blog story (each person wrote 150 words, on their own blog, and weren't supposed to have read all the previous parts - there were 10 parts in all), I thought I'd have a go at starting an #exquistecorpsepoem on Twitter. It started nicely over night, but hasn't really chugged along since. If you wanted to join in, have a look at it here: #exquistecorpsepoem the actual lines lines are marked #L and then a number. I thought this was shaping up nicely. Am a bit sorry it didn't take off, but it was a fun experiment.

19 July 2009

Anaïs Nin on writing

"Why one writes is a question I can never answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me – the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.
"We also write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely … When I don’t write, feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing."
('The New Woman', 1974)

17 July 2009

Sneak peek at JAAM 27 cover

If you want to have a sneak preview of the gorgeous cover of JAAM 27, head on over to my latest post on the JAAM blog.

Anna Brown's design, featuring an artwork by Rachel Walker, has really raised the bar. It makes JAAM look like a totally professional publication (which I suppose we kind of are, but JAAM is also a publication put together with much love by a bunch of keen people who are still learning as we go along).

This is an exciting challenge. Clare (my co-managing editor) and I are keen to keep JAAM on the up and up. We're going to edit the next issue (JAAM 28, 2010), and will be putting out our call for submissions in August. It's going to be a themed issue, so look out for it. And we already have an enthusiastic designer lined up!

12 July 2009

Anaïs Nin on good relationships

I've been reading some non-fiction writing by Anaïs Nin of late. She's someone I have a lot of admiration for, but take with a grain of salt. But I'm finding a lot of gems in her work. A lot to think about, a lot to hope for, a lot to be grateful for.

This is her in the year of my birth on relationships between the 'new women' and the 'new men':
...they prized their relationship, they gave care to it, time attention ... Both wanted to work at something they loved ... Neither one dominated. Each one worked at what they did best, shared labors, unobtrusively, without need to establish roles or boundaries. The characteristic trait was gentleness. There was no head of the house. There was no need to assert which one was the supplier of income. They had learned the subtle art of oscillation, which is human. Neither strength or weakness is a fixed quality. We all have our days of strength and our days of weakness. They had learned rhythm, suppleness, relativity. Each had knowledge and special intuitions to contribute. There is no war of the sexes between these couples. There is no need to draw up contracts on the rules of marriage ... They are both aware of the function of dreams–not as symptoms of neurosis, but as guidance to our secret nature. They know that each is endowed with both masculine and feminine qualities.
('In Favour of the Sensitive Man', 1974)

09 July 2009

Montana Poetry Day 2009

This year Montana Poetry Day* is coming up in a few weeks on the 24th of July. Lots of poetry events will be occurring around NZ, books will be launched and the winners of the poetry sections of the books awards will be announced.

As I mentioned in a previous post, as part of a new initiative, my Seraph Press website and the JAAM website are both featuring Poetry Day poems from recent publications on their front pages. Seraph Press features 'Biograph' by Scott Kendrick, from Cold Comfort, Cold Concrete: Poems & Satires – the last book I published. JAAM features 'come here at once' by Emma Barnes, which was published in JAAM 26. Check them out - they're both great, and quite different from each other.

If you're looking for other ways to celebrate Montana Poetry Day, visit the official site or NZLive.com.

*(For overseas readers, Montana is the name of a wine brand, which sponsors the day, and has nothing to do with Montana the state.)

04 July 2009

Website busyness

Today I've finally updated my Seraph Press website. The last time I'd updated it was January 08 - partly this was because I haven't published anything for a couple of years, but also because the last time I'd tried to update it I'd kind of broken it. I'd installed a new version of Dreamweaver (on which the site is built with very minimal knowledge of how one ought to built websites, and entirely by hand - one day I'll learn how to use a template and css, but today is not that day) and it screwed everything up. But today I figured out what I needed to do to fix it, and I also made it fixed-width and centred, so I think it looks a bit less ugly than it did.

Today I also wrote a new blog post for the JAAM site, about how JAAM 26 didn't win the Best Collected Work category that it was listed for in the 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. (I expect Tim Jones and Mark Pirie's science fiction poetry anthology Voyagers to take it next year.)

The motivation behind such busyness is that I had agreed, as part of Montana Poetry Day (which is 24 July this year) to include a poem on the front page of both Seraph Press and JAAM's sites, with the Montana Poetry Day logo linking back to their site.

I haven't quite got that far yet, but thought that if I was going to be adding things to the sites, I might as well fix and update them first.

02 July 2009

Places to submit stuff: Brief 38

Brief is one of those literary mags I look at in the library and always think I should subscribe to. I think the time has come for me to do so, and also time, perhaps, to submit.

This call for submissions was in the Society of Authors newsletter:

You are invited to submit poetry, fiction, critical and creative non-fiction, reviews, art and/or less classifiable work for the pages of the next issue of Brief. Brief is a New Zealand print-based journal, and is newly under the general editorship of Michael Arnold. Brief 38 will be guest edited by Jen Crawford.

A Brief Description of the Whole World was founded in the mid-90s by Alan Loney, who aimed to make a space in New Zealand for writing informed in one way or another by post-structuralism & L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E innovations. Over the years, though, the magazine's been through a few editors (John Geraets, Jack Ross, Scott Hamilton, Brett Cross) and that purpose has diversified.

The magazine remains a home for work that takes aesthetic and conceptual risks. We are particularly interested in writing that is linguistically and visually curious, that inhabits international and multimedia forms and identities, and that is emotionally and philosophically inventive. We aim to open up the contributor list and the readership, and to welcome in new people and thoughts.

Subscriptions can be ordered from the Titus Books website: http://titus.books.online.fr/html/OrderForm.htm

Please send anything you'd like considered for the forthcoming issue to jencrawfordATgmail.com. Submissions will close on 15 July, 2009.

Speaking of the Society of Authors - I finally got around to updating my wee page on it. It includes a pic in which I appear to have no neck, but which I like otherwise. Note the corner of Sean's fab Plan 9 from Outer Space poster.