reading revival: a poetry book blog

reading revival is devoted to promoting australian poetry books and related discussion through reading one book - firstly, duty by geraldine mckenzie. i will choose a new book roughly every 3 months

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

another thing this blog is leading people to is a practice of ordering books in shops or online .. because if you rely on shelves for poetry you wont see a lot of great stuff


At 2:58 PM, Blogger derek said...

yes - you're screwed if you think you can browse bookshops for poetry, especially if you live in somewhat regional centres...
i like booktopia, it caters for my lack of visa...

when i was younger i used to get this kind of sickness, it seemed caused by thought, like i couldn't touch anything without feeling how nothing tangibly fit. Duty reminded me of this for some reason - lines like "I placed that slice of melon on the wet sand."

poems i most like at the moment i know are probably the most surface level 'accessible' pieces ("It could be a forest..."; Scenes from an imaginary romance; & this doesn't have a name).

i had never read mckenzie before, & she does challenge the way i read. but that can never be a waste of time. there are some intriguing arrangements in this book that really justified the act of diving in.

- derek

At 7:43 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

hi derek - if u like tell us how many days it took for book to arrive. interesting u dubbed scenes from a forest as 'more accessible'- perhaps thats because poem talks of dreams - offering a surreal reading of poem? or because of its form in sentences? 'scenes' is i agree more straightforward - even in its allusiveness - & is quite speedy compared to other poems - the disjunction of 'this doesnt have a name' somehow adds to the pace, the relentless of the poem, as if the lines are competing. ive always been struck by the line: 'these figures have been racially adjusted'. i think - that despite 'experimental' (allow me this tag for the moment) poetry's perceived apolitical nature & its often unperceived political commitment, race is something that isnt part of the critique - often - in white writers - & its tricky - especially when dealing with procedural work - u never know how people might read u if yr presenting disparate textual fragments for example & one has an explicit racial reference - there can be a bit of paranoia here of course - will people (critics) think im racist because i said something about a black person doing something - is this appropriation of a black amns life - & what if the line is - black man on a pogo stick/ melon on the sand - is this 1) ridiculing the black man by having him do something silly (unreligiously determined god forbid) or 2) trivialising him by making him equal with the melon, objectifying etc making him food - & then - i realise that tho i was quoting the line from mckenzie as quoted by derek - that (water)melon is a cliched image with regard to (american) black people - the thing about say collage based work is that it presents the culture - especially if source texts are from newspapers say - & if we repress those offensive things that come up we are making the culture look nicer than it is - on the other hand - who wants to give a reader a bad day - ive stopped reading books before because of the homophobia represented - whilever there is racism in our culture - as manifest in acute racist behaviour - therell be racism in all of us - & it comes out - i know it comes out of me - if we think of ourselves as channeling language, discourse etc rather than originating it then nasty things will pop up in the channel - but racism cant be left to black/indigenous/vietnamese/muslim writers to deal with - & its not just about addressing whites as a white person if u are one - how do we know who our readers are - these figures have been racially adjusted - i read that as figures as in stats, numbers- for the benefit of the ruling race - but now im thinking of the figure as image, as rhetoric - for the same benefit - a poetry like mckenzies may present a figure but may then change tack - certainly from poem to poem - a politicised reader is required - but that says nothing - we are all politicised - i guess what im coming to - finally -is an active reading is required, that its not the job of the reader to sit / stand / lie in judgment on a text but to participate in readings of it - ie not conservative or progressive or radical texts, but conservative, progressive and radical readings. this interests me.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

but do some texts encourage us to read in this way - as derek suggested: 'she does challenge the way i read'.


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