Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Untimely Meditations

I've been reading Untimely Meditations & Other Poems by Ken Bolton (1997, Wakefield Press). It is great to find something enterprising and fresh so close to home. One of my goals this year is to try and get away from reading so many American writers, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I'd like to find really exciting stuff going on in other places that are similar to NZ (culturally I'm thinking of): South Africa, Australia, Canada, England - colonies I guess. It must be out there I just have to find it.

So anyway, his writing is incredibly distinctive, playful and surprising. It has a level of unpredictability that is hard to find in Australasian writing (in my limited experience). I particularly loved the title poem 'Untimely Meditations' which was deliverd like an errant lecture on Australian poetry complete with self-deprecating discussion on the likes of Les Murray and the Australian 'Outback' school of poetry:

Les told us,
the beef?'

as if poems were a sandwich

and his
had dinkum verities

and content, while ours were that relativistic nonsense
you learn at unis,

So pretty happy that I have found this guy (in the IIML library) and intend to read some more. Things I don't like are: 
  • poems can be very long (why can't I handle that?)
  • he is quite conversational using 'no, yet', 'let me see', 'when I think about it' that kind of stuff, which is both endearing and at the same time wasteful - I think something to be employed not too much
Also had a poem published in issue 3 of Swamp journal which is a Newcastle University (Australia) thing for postgrad writing students.

I've struggled to write anything that isn't related to our exercises so far. I think from next week I am going to have to start my one poem a day routine to try and get some miles under the belt.

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