Thursday, December 31, 2020
Monday, November 30, 2020
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Thursday, September 24, 2020
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate
If vital Light
Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
“The Poets light but Lamps” is one of Dickinson’s shorter poems - with just two quatrains of no more than 5 words per line with a very regular syllabic structure of 6/4/6/4 for each of the quatrains. There is no punctuation other than the em(ily) dash which adds space without slowing the reading down, thereby energising the piece, as it draws the eye forward. The poem ends with the dash, which, except in the work of Dickinson, is rarely used for the ending of something, and hints at the ongoing nature of the work - visually indicating that this is not an ending as such, but something that will continue - poetry being immortal.
The dash also provides a visual representation of a wick, thereby picking up the “Wick” in the third line, stimulated by the Poet’s light - or the light of poetry. Unusually for Dickinson, the first word of each line is capitalised. Assuming this was Dickinson's intention rather than the work of an overzealous editor, this creates a regularity that is also strengthened by capitalisation's emphasis as it creates a mirroring of "The Poets" with "The Wicks". There is also an alliteration between "If" and "Inhere", thereby linking lamplight with sunlight. The poem utilises an extended metaphor conflating the work of the poet (a lamplighter stimulating a wick - perhaps the impetus for the poem) with the Sun itself - or Suns (?) - some broader category of star shine than simply our own Sol.
Three words stand out for the number of syllables they contain and seem to connect to one another: stimulate, Disseminating, and Circumference. Though there are all quite different words, without too much in common other than the scientific quality and the multisyllabic sound, but they also provide a sense of sonic expensiveness, as if the very nature of these longer words were able to extend the reach of the poet - moving outwards from the point of stimulation in an expansionary way, spreading outside of the circle of life. You could almost visualise the light (of poetry) spreading in that way through through the work and outwards from it.
“Inhere” is an unusual word which means “to exist essentially or permanently in”, as in inherent. It’s possible to read the first line of the second stanza as relating to the vital light of poetry as being part and parcel of what we need to survive - as life-giving and in need of dissemination by each age. The one word which doesn’t quite fit semantically is “If” which is a point of uncertainty in the overall piece adding in a condition that could undermine the work’s thesis. If the light is not vital then perhaps there is no immortality - perhaps only some poetry is vital and work that is not vital can be forgotten. Or, it may be that the condition is one that sits with the reader. ‘If’ the reader judges the work as vital, then there is a mandate to disseminate the poetry for the sake of humanity, vital poetry being as necessary to life as sunlight, against the ephemeral darkness of each age’s fashion.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
The September Compulsive Reader Newsletter has now gone out. This month's issue features three great giveaways including Anthropica by David Hollander, The Holy Conspiracy by Kristi Saare Duarte, and The Rehabilitation of Thomas Mark by Tom Crites. We also have ten terrific new reviews/interviews, and a full literary news roundup from around the world. If your copy hasn't arrived or you want a preview, you can click here to view it online. To sign up, visit: http://www.compulsivereader.com.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Sunday, May 31, 2020
|"Books" by Jules Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0|
Friday, May 1, 2020
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The sessions will all be free (including those that previously had a cost to attend), but tax-deductible donations to the festival can be made at https://www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au/donate/.
Monday, March 2, 2020
Saturday, February 29, 2020
|Photo by Renato Abati from Pexels|
Thursday, February 13, 2020
The kick off is the inaugural Indie Festival (IF) in Maitland: https://ifmaitland.org All of the panels are completely free! There are also a range of excellent workshops (not free but very inexpensive), and keynotes (also free). My sessions are on Saturday the 29th of February.
I’m starting the day with the aptly titled The Importance of Regional Writers Festivals, moderated by David Graham. Joining me on the panel will be Creative Kids Tales’ Georgie Donaghey, UQld’s Dr Kim Wilkins and UMelbourne’s Dr Beth Driscoll, both highly respected, multi-published academics who are working together on the project Genre Worlds: Australian Popular Fiction in the Twenty-First Century. This session is going to be a cracker opening to the day. The session is followed by a series of Flying Island pocket book launches led by Flying Island’s very erudite Editor-in-Chief (who is launching his own new book on the day) including Michael Crane, Susan Fealy, Clark Gormley, Geoff Page, Kerri Shying, Melinda Smith, Gillian Swain, and George Watt. What a line-up! I’ll be personally launching both Melinda and Gillian’s new books and what an honour that is. My next session is called Just Walking the Dog, which I’ll be moderating, featuring poets Gillian Swain and Brian Purcell. We’ll be exploring the development of poems from initial idea through to release into the world and judging from our initial interactions, this is going to be an incredible conversation, full of fun and insights. Finally, phew, I’ll be moderating a panel on Independent and Community Publishing with Kit Kelen, Georgie Donaghey, and Jennifer Sharpe from Daisy Lane Studios about the different pathways to getting published independently. Come and learn from the best! Once again, all of these sessions are absolutely free of charge (but first in best dressed, so get in early), and there will always be time at the end for questions and audience interaction - you are the most essential part of this! So if you’re able, please come join me on the day - that’s Saturday February 29th around 230 High Street (there are a few venues), Maitland NSW.