The book of my soul

Image source: Gitksan woman Shaman and Chief, Kispiox, British Columbia, 1909, by George Thornton Emmons Collection no. 131 (University of Washington Libraries) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Why do we write poetry? In a world of inexhaustible archives, where we are overwhelmed with voices, why would we ply our own into the unending and infinite conversation?... Continue Reading →


Wasting time on conceptual poetry

I borrowed from my local public library Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton anthology (2nd edition), edited by Paul Hoover. I am not quite sure what was the impulse that led me to this step, perhaps it was a feeling that I had little real sense of what was up in the current poetry scene, and... Continue Reading →

The Great Confinement

Image Source: photograph, Sarah Lee, Bethlem Museum of the Mind exhibition, The Guardian From Keats, Hyperion: Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings Hyperion slid into the rustled air, And Saturn gain'd with Thea that sad place Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd. It was a den where no insulting light Could glimmer... Continue Reading →

Dr Cogito’s Rebellion

The following poem I composed in the last year, and takes up in an over-educated time the persona or character of Zbigniew Herbert, Mr Cogito. I have a printed page of Herbert's "Envoy of Mr Cogito" on the pinboard beside my desk, and it is one of the poems I have committed to memory, and... Continue Reading →

Poem: one thousand steps

Here is a poem I wrote over the last year, prompted by a walk along one of the most popular walks in Melbourne, the thousand steps walk in Ferntree Gully National park. This national park was one of the first in Australia and dates from the nineteenth century. The thousand steps walk is popular as... Continue Reading →

Thomas Bernhard’s soliloquies

Looking around my study this morning for a prompt for a post, still with the idea in the back of my head of doing versions of list posts on a Tuesday, I pulled out Thomas Bernhard's The Loser from the shelves. Selecting a page at random, I came upon this passage: "Our starting point is... Continue Reading →

The nobility of poetry and a normal life

Yesterday I visited the State Library of Victoria and there I read from the Collected Poetry and Prose of Wallace Stevens. Wallace Stevens is perhaps my most loved American poet, and certainly an influence on me - his diction, his mix of abstraction with the most remarkable particulars of the beautiful world, his romance of... Continue Reading →

Myths of power: merchant, soldier, sage…?

David Priestland has written a provocative book, Merchant, soldier, sage: a new history of power. His main idea is that power is controlled by "castes" or social orders defined by occupation, a prevailing social ethos and characteristic ways of wielding power. These castes or elite groups cycle through positions of dominance or alliance with each... Continue Reading →

Echoes of Emily

This morning I was dipping into Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems, and I found by chance the following poem, which she composed, it is speculated by scholars, in 1874. It is poem 1293 in the Complete Poems. The things we thought that we should do We other things have done But those peculiar industries Have never... Continue Reading →

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