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

Sunday, May 28, 2006

yesterday we held the book group. 6 attended + me. i thought duty might prove hard to get into but i was wrong. st kilda library - thanks nick- provided technical support & provisions. id envisioned a 'bad class' where id have to extract comments from people & lead all the way .. the opposite happened - everyone had things to say - they started before i sat down - & i learnt from everyone. there was a depth of reading that i dont possess - i cant recognise allusions to yeats or hopkins - ive read them but im not familiar enough - i didnt get the king lear reference either - we were fortunate in having a native french speaker who could both read & interpret the 'adenfrorde fragments' epigraph from pierre martory. some of the group were familiar with french & irish history which also supplemented the readings of some references. mckenzies use of open field composition (in "snare the heart-footed man" & its facing poem "no.8"p50-51) & olson were mentioned. the acknowledgment of war culture - its permutations, pervasion. tho the blog was available to look at on a big screen (id thought of using it as support, or even writing live comments - but there was too much, conversationally going on) we didnt use it further. theres a possibility of writeups from one or two people. if anyone from the group wants to add anything please do so at the space for comments below.

following the meeting we went to chronicles/cafe 97 for a reading by geraldine & justin clemens (who read the opening to his book the mundiad & a couple of other poems). geraldine (i realise ive slipped into calling her by her first name) read from duty, including '5 simplicities'& 'this doesnt have a name' - & also a long & interesting new poem called 'folksinging(?)'. it was a small audience - about 12 - i think 3 copies were sold - not bad considering most of us already had copies - at least i did - i dont seem to have come home with it -

listening to geraldine & justin i thought what a difference it is hearing a rhythmic poetry - its a pleasure & the time goes quickly - not like readings where the reader has a prosaic style, & however interesting they may be yr relieved when theyve finished.


At 7:37 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

from lorin:

Good stuff, Michael... thanks for getting me to read the whole book. I'd liked what I heard at the CW launch, but had only visited a few of the poems, a few years back. (My habit of procrastination...) Loved hearing the newer poems too...interesting progressions. Great to read and hear a truly intelligent writer! Geraldine brings her whole experience, the finely tuned rhythms of her mind in its interaction with the world (and the world of literature) to the page. What are words, to readers? All the contexts in which we have known them, and the contexts in which those we've read have known them, as well as the new context in this poem we're reading now. Randomly choosing... "to the real", (for me, Olsen, via Buckmaster) "never, never, never etc.", (King Lear) "... if you could just/ in this place/ set down..." (Eliot) and, from "No. 8..." (the title/ 1st line, in my reading, no more accidental and no more ...or less... occult, to anyone who knows the astrological houses, than Olsen's 'The Moon is the Number 18" is to those who've seen a Tarot pack:

"...your famous blueness
your famous darkness/ kill it with a joke/ juggle balls with catastrophes/ of impending histories (that shrinkage..."

Indeed, "the eyes no camera" and in an old quarry, the ear hears echoes of many distant sounds. (I wish my hearing was better, in regard to the group discussions...


At 5:44 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

thanks lorin. for some reason what u say about words & contexts puts me in mind of a chess game (with many pieces) - what the writer brings to the table/ what the reader many pieces can u bring to bear, or how strong are your few?

At 3:27 AM, Blogger liam79 said...

michael the reading group sounded amazing. do you have partners to start them up in other cities/locations?

i'm obviously not in Australia at the moment and wont be anytime soon but would eventually love to participate on my return

At 3:27 AM, Blogger liam79 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger michaelf said...

liam - thatd be great if u cd get involved! - id love people to lead groups outside melbourne - obviously this wd be a big benefit to the book in terms of profile & sales .. i have lined up book group gigs in perth when im there for the spring poetry festival & am investigating doing something for the newcastle young writers fest. but its tricky to set up if yr not on site.. with perth it was easier because i was there in feb & able to readily rely on/communicate with my contacts. anyone is welcome to take 'duty' or any of the later books on - & with the blog material, theres plenty of resources for a group / its leader. &, as i said, it was very easy: the group led itself.


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