Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ron Silliman on Amnesiac recoveries by Pam Brown & Susan Schultz

“Job share archivists” Susan M. Schultz & Pam Brown have augmented the Department of Dislocated Memory with a new installment of their collaboration "Amnesiac recoveries." It’s a project that raises all kinds of interesting questions.

I have never seen a history of poetic collaboration. A search in Google for all sites that use both “poetry” & “collaboration” yields 199,000 sites. A search for the exact phrase “history of poetic collaboration” yields none – or will until the Google crawler finds today’s blog. My sense – and it may be quite incomplete – is that poetic collaboration arises truly with the surrealists.* It enters the U.S. largely through the writing of the one group most heavily influenced by surrealism: the New York School. You will not find any collaborations in the Allen anthology. Indeed, the only ones you can actually spot** even in In the American Tree are in the section of critical statements, first a collaborative manifesto for the French journal Change& later the famous list of experiments that Bernadette Mayer & several groups of students at her Poetry Project workshops created. But if you look to Tom Clark’s anthology All Stars (Grossman Publishers/ Goliard – Santa Fe, 1972), a combination of NY School & beat writers that reflected Clark’s view from the Bolinas mesa, Ron Padgett’s selection consists of 17 collaborations – with Dick Gallup, Ted Berrigan, Tessie Mitchell, Michael Brownstein, Anne Waldman, Pat Padgett, Bill Berkson, Larry Fagin, Jimmy Schuyler & of course Tom Clark.

The absence of collaboration among Beats & Projectivists***, and for the most part from the San Francisco Renaissance+, is worth noting. It suggests, I think, a stance toward the author & literal authority that is substantially different from that of other communities of writing. Allen Ginsberg may well have been the Kral Majales or King of the May in 1965 Prague, but he also appears to have been a meticulous & careful warden of his own literary production. At the same time, Ginsberg took no credit for the editing job that literally transformed the pages on William Burroughs’ floor into Naked Lunch – a stance that parallels Ezra Pound’s similar editing of The Waste Land.

But the New York School had no such hang-ups with sharing credit. As with Surrealism, boundaries existed only to be transgressed, albeit with more of a smile & wink than the Europeans generally brought to the process. Boundaries are precisely what are at stake in “Amnesiac recoveries.” Here, for example, is “Shut-Lip”:

The investment banker sewed his lips shut. He'd arrived in a leaky ship, having paid dues to the dark haired man who answered to no name he could pronounce. Pronunciation is over-rated, he muttered to himself as he eased into the hold, arms bound in fetal position. His middle passage was punctuated (never leave metaphors of language behind, he added, pensively) by hunger pangs. No-name man told him nothing of the end, though his origin had been clear (he remembered, at least, his hard-earned MBA). He wanted to escape big words, like globalization, like fraud. Crusoe's accountant had nothing on his, member of the magic club in high school, artist of the extraordinary bottomless line. In the end, it was hard to collect his story, through teeth clenched like broken-jawed Ali's. One had to assume consonants, or were they vowels, emerging as from some Afghan cave into the abortive syntax of a bombing run. What we heard had something to do with sea, and ground, and sickness. The south sea island that welcomed him (sic) has only years left before the flood (lawsuits are pending). On its coral, the banker sits, quiet as monk, though not so tranquil. He knows his days are numbered, so he counts them in his throat. If he were a poet, one might say he'd found his voice.

memoricide -
           bombing the library.
collective memory,
          the treasures of manuscript,
    the texts                 history, natural sciences,
      philosophy, poetry, mathematics
anthologies, dictionaries, treatises on everything,
            his story,
the bombing filmed
in the peace zone,
   Coca- Cola
       phones the film collector
seeking footage
                   of "real UFOs"

There is a political tone here that one hardly ever sees even with Gen XXXVII of the NY School, and it’s stronger even in several of the other pieces, which generally circle around the topics of oil, corporate corruption & U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, always impacted by questions of memory – & of why memory fails to beget a seemingly appropriate political response. Of course, neither Brown nor Schultz can by any remote stretch of the imagination be characterized as part of the old St. Marks scene – Schultz is as far removed from there as one can be physically & still reside within the United States, Hawai’i, while Brown is a well-known Australian poet.

Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of this as a collaboration is how it challenges “the political.” Typically & traditionally, one key to the political has been what might be thought of as “angle of positionality,” which usually gets reduced to an idea of stance. This is visible at the surface in identarian texts of all manner: the poet writes from his or her historical/ethnic/social/gendered position & articulation of that position is often what the resulting text is about. But Schultz & Brown come from different nations with different roles in the oil = global domination scenario. Schultz may be marginalized in her role as poet within the hegemon, but within it she most certainly & visibly is. Brown is at least doubly marginalized, living in a country that the U.S. has been known to treat as a branch office. There are of course further complications: Schultz is a haole, an Anglo outsider functioning in a role as authority by virtue of the teaching profession. The relationship of Hawai’i to the mainland is exceptionally problematic & a separatist movement continues to percolate there. Australia’s history vis-à-vis an imperial center & its aboriginal population is no less convoluted. Both of these writers are perpetually aware of these conditions.

Part of what makes “Amnesiac recoveries” so interesting is that it’s not possible to tell who in the collaboration is writing at any given moment, something that is so discernible, say, in a work like Sight that its authors, Lyn Hejinian & Leslie Scalapino, two fabulous poets who grew up in the same town in the same country within a couple of years of one another & whose fathers both taught at the same school, actually initial their individual passages.

But if we cannot tell who is speaking, or at least writing, in ”Amnesiac recoveries,” how does the reader then position these texts with regards to the issues of globalization that are raised? This is what strikes me as so remarkable: Schultz & Brown have arrived at what I can only call a transnational voice, a position that steps quite clearly outside of the role of states precisely as it address the problem of the rogue hegemon. If there is a position of world citizen from which one might be able to write, this is it.

Brown & Schultz do this with wit, sharpness & élan. The entire project – I have no idea if the two sections that are up are all of the collaboration or only just the first portion of it – is gutsy & fun while being serious in the face of some extraordinary challenges.++ In connecting the dots north-south across the equator between their two homes, these poets are erasing lines that we often forget are “always already” there. & it’s fascinating to see what now shows through.

                                            *    *    *    *

* Some writers characterize the relationship between William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge, especially during the Lyrical Ballads period, as a collaboration. An argument can certainly be made for that, even though they didn’t publish poems as composed by both.
** I believe that the phrase that is used as the epigraph to the West section of the book, “Instead of ant wort I saw brat guts,” was itself composed during a collaboration.
*** Thus when Daphne Marlatt works collaboratively, as in the book Double Negative with Betsy Warland, it’s because she’s moved away from the Projectivism of her youth toward a political feminism.
+ The notable exception was The Carola Letters co-authored by Joanne Kyger & George Stanley. See Kevin Killian’s article on the row it caused in the SF scene. Killian raises the possibility that camp, the arch subgenre of gay culture, was a major thorn in the side of Robert Duncan. Camp as a discourse erases boundaries not unlike the ones that Schultz & Brown are tackling.
++ The web site captures this beautifully with a photograph of the two poets in Hawai’i staring at the apotheosis of the problem, a stretch limo in a setting in which no limousine should ever appear.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Return to Reviews or the deletions or Pam Brown site

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Interview with Lyrikline August 8th, 2013

Pam Brown recording for Lyrikline in Redfern, Sydney

Lyrikline : Can you name one or two (non-English language) poets who have been particularly important for your work, and say something about how they’ve been important?

There are many Europeans but a few that come to mind are

Pier Paolo Pasolini. His Roman Poems - I liked these poems especially in the 1980s, when AIDS was beginning to become prevalent in Sydney and poetry was evident in gay political performance. Pasolini seemed to be someone who could write emotionally and politically at once.

Early on, I liked Europeans as various as the SerbianVasko Popa, the Czech Miroslav Holub, French Paul Valery, Russian Vladimir Mayakovski then later, the French Valery Larbaud, who wrote as A.O. Barnabooth, his travel poems but, for me, the European stayers are Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, who I still read.

Apollinaire is ironic, sometimes a little bit bitter, witty, elegant. He got rid of punctuation early on in the C20th and experimented with calligrammes and so on. Cendrars is louder, more visceral, but also funny and smart - I love his energy, there's something boldly chaotic and colourful, almost synaesthetic, about his poems. I guess I like them both also for their wry sides.

My favourite contemporary foreign poet is the Flemish postmodern poet Dirk Van Bastelaere. His book of poems translated into English, The Last To Leave, is terrific - speedy, percipient, funny, sceptical.

Lyrikline : Do you read them in the original, in translation, or both? What role do you think that plays, reading them in translation or not?

I read them in translation but I have written a poem - My father the pope, Mon père le pape - in English & French that emulates Apollinaire. I have also emulated Blaise Cendrars, in English. I can read French reasonably well, although I'm out of practise at the moment, and rust can form.

I trust Ron Padgett's translations of Blaise Cendrars because Ron Padgett is a clever, minimal humorous poet himself and he 'gets' Cendrars. With Apollinaire, I read various versions - Donald Revell, Pepe Karmel and so on but I like the old Oliver Bernard translations from the1960s most. And then I often ask my partner, Jane Zemiro, about the poems - she is a French language expert. She has translated a collection of my poems into French. It's a bilingual edition called Alibis coming out with Société Jamais-Jamais early in 2014.

Lyrikline : You’ve been active in a lot of influential poetry/art scenes, self-publishing and printing, the Coalcliff group, Jacket. Was there always a lot of exchange between those groups and writers and artists from overseas? Has the situation changed with things like internet communication/communities, etc.?

No, although we were reading widely from foreign material, there wasn't much exchange with overseas poets in the early days. I began corresponding in the 1980s - meaning sending postcards, exchanging books and writing short letters - with US poet Eileen Myles before the advent of email. We didn't meet in person until 2003. Ken Bolton published some North Americans in 'Magic Sam' magazine in the late 70s, early 80s. Kris Hemensley and Robert Kenny were publishing European and UK poetry in their magazines in Melbourne in the 70s and, in the early 80s, Melbourne University's 'Scripsi' magazine had a European focus - so I read those.

I worked at the 'experimental art foundation' in Adelaide in the early 80s and there was much more exchange with overseas practitioners in the conceptual (post-object) experimental art realm than there was in my particular scene of literati.

In 2002, when I was 'Overland' magazine poetry editor, I edited a small feature of overseas poets as a co-production between 'Overland' and 'Jacket'- obviously it appeared online in 'Jacket' and in print in 'Overland' - at the time 'Overland's motto was 'Temper democratic, bias Australian' - I thought my feature opened the magazine up to international poetry a bit.

The internet changed everything. I have become friends with overseas poets whom I met initially on the web - people like Susan Schultz, Maged Zaher, Rachel Loden, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Jane Joritz-Nakagawa and others.

I worked for six or seven years as an online editor for 'Jacket' magazine and have guest-edited an issue of sound poetry for 'Ekleksographia' online magazine. Jesse Glass from 'Ekleksographia' and Aha Dada Books published an e-book of my poetry called the meh of z z z z - it's free and always available. Like everyone else, I am online talking, publishing, commenting, joking, getting annoyed, being swamped by poetry information etc etc. I have a blog called 'the deletions'. Collections of my poems are also still made as hard copies.

Listen to Pam Brown reading poems on Lyrikline here.

Return to Interviews or the deletions or Pam Brown site

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Interviews & foreign languages

Selected interviews with Pam Brown:

  • foam:e - interviewer Angela Gardner - March 2015

  • The Conversant - interviewer Jane Joritz-Nakagawa - February 2014

  • Australian Poetry Library - interviewer Claire Nashar - March 2014

  • Lyrikline - August 2013

  • Cordite Poetry Review - interviewer Corey Wakeling - May 2012

  • 12 or 20 Questions - interviewer Rob McLennan - February 2011

  • Poetry International Web - interviewer Michael Brennan - July 2011

  • Jacket - interviewer John Kinsella - July 2003

  • Australian Book Review - interviewer Rosemary Sorensen - April 1994

  • Honi Soit - interviewer Anne Talve - April 1977 (Pam Brown & Joanne Burns)

  • Pam Brown - selected works & interviews in other languages :

  • Alibis - selected poems in French & English, translated by Jane Zemiro, Sociéte Jamais Jamais, 2014

  • Poem in Spanish translated by Luis Alberto Arellano - Santa Remedio, May 2014

  • Authentic Local: A global referential, Aryanil Mukherjee, Kabisammelan : Poetry Conference
    Bengali Language Monthly, November 2014

  • Six poems in Chinese, translated by Iris Fan Xing - Wombats of Bundanoon - Twenty Australian Poets,Association of Stories Macau, 2011

  • Poem in Chinese, translated by Ouyang Yu - Contemporary Australian Poetry, Australia - China Council 2007

  • Berlin 2001 : Prague 2009 : Hanoi 1992

  • Here in Berlin - Overland #165, Summer 2001

  • 'City' translated into German by Jurgen Brocan - Die Welt uber dem Wasserspiegel - Berliner Anthologie, Berlin, 2001

  • Two poems translated into German by Jurgen Brocan - Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin Katalog, Alexander Verlag, Berlin 2001

  • return to the deletions

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    Launch talk for Louis Armand : 'Indirect Objects' (Vagabond Press 2014)
    (Saturday May 24th, 2014 at Sydney Dance Lounge, Sydney Writer's Festival)

    Louis Armand is one of the most productive writers I know. He's seemingly irrepressible. He has so far, published eleven collections of poetry, sixteen critical books and four novels. He is also the publisher of Litteraria Pragensia and founding editor of the extraordinary VLAK magazine, which is a big fat international omnibus of incisive articles on happening culture, wonderful post-punk graphics and terrific poetry. Louis has lived in Prague in the Czech Republic for twenty years. He works there at Charles University. He has also been a James Joyce scholar. Louis is also a visual artist, and this is reflected in many of the poems in Indirect Objects.

    Louis' ekphrasis is not made from any critical distance - it's an immersion - he gets in to a painting like an all-night drug tripper gets in to the dawn. For instance, the bluesy punk impressionism of the opening poem 'Acid Comedown & John Olsen's Five Bells'

         Call it topographic, eyeball to eyeball with invisible fidget wheels, the whole
         blueprint in acid-dissolve.

         Intelligence reports arrive from remote space colonies dot-dash-dot
         on tree-branch telegraph wires,

         meteorites and pool hall metaphysics.

    This is John Olsen's painting 'Five Bells' - a tribute to Sydney Harbour and the famous Kenneth Slessor poem. The poem's associated with venues just around the bay from here - the Opera House and the NSW Art Gallery make their appearance. Jorn Utzon's Opera House is seen as 'cranes/stooping/over the quays' - where, for me anyway, the cranes can be both the birds as the so-called 'Opera House sails' and literal construction cranes about to alter another tiny bit of Harbour. And the party's over, coming down in the tickertape detritus, like a starry New Years Eve under the fig trees, Louis offers a televisual, possibly-empathetic, political gesture to what's happened to cities in this country -

                  Slow-motion videos of a city
         in mid-construct - Wandjina Man drunk under a wall

         dreaming of blonde missionary ancestor spirits
         turned to coruscated glass and steel

    then everything goes grey and rainy and a little grim as dawn arrives.

    So from the start, this is an atmospheric, moody set of poems. And that's just the beginning.

    This book is loaded with attempts to build something different out of a kind of destruction or destroyed world (this one) and it shares with the reader the proposition that some new thing can be made. But not without regard for the past.

    Snake Bay is a bay in the Tiwi Islands, up north, past Darwin. Fifty-five years ago Russell Drysdale painted indigenous figures in his 'Snake Bay at Night.' In Louis' poem about this painting

                 ..occasionally memory creeps in,
         like an irrational return to a point we started from.

    and the 'great montage' in the painting might have been made by
              ...some demon of history like a mind gone astray
         in the night, mad with visions of sexual punishment.

    There's a fabulous aggregate of extraordinary, iconic Australianisms in this book : - a northern river meeting a night sea in a kind of dreamy humid methadone metaphor, the tropical erotic-exotica of Donald Friend's Balinese pen drawings, Richard Lowenstein's classic-80s rock film Dogs in Space alongside a junkie Darlinghurst Gauguin selling his drawings to get money to score in a poem for John Kinsella that proceeds by a seedy Sydney-urban philosophising and aspires to a better life, 'Patrick White as a Headland', Charles Blackman, Francis Webb, and in Melbourne - a monologue from an Aboriginal boxer in Fitzroy, freeze frames at St Kilda Beach, Swanston Street, Brunswick Street and so on.

    A critic * speaking about Louis' novel 'Canicule' recently, said "Armand uses language to paint a picture just as vividly as if we were watching this unfold on screen...." which is a good way of putting it. Some of these paintings-in-poems are in the first section of the book called 'Realism', which, in my view, is an odd heading for a collection of poems definitely located in Australia. 'Realism' in some ways seems a sombre tag to the book's title 'Indirect Objects'. Indirect objects can be rare. You can sometimes read for pages before you encounter one. Everyone can recognize a direct object when they see one, but an 'indirect object' is an odd grammatical concept. I'm not an expert but the term seems stretched enough here to mingle with the melange of allusions, similes, descriptions and metaphors that contribute to these vivid, image-rich, hyper-real poems.

    I'm aware that I won't have time this afternoon to talk about everything in this fantastic book but I want to mention one poem that had an especially powerful effect for me.

    It is 'Realism' - the extraordinary title poem that ends the first section - a poem comprising four preludes three in couplets, and one in quintets (or five line stanzas). It begins with a quote from William Carlos Williams that says in part - 'The only realism in art is of the imagination'. I'd say, in Louis' case that it's also art's relationship to emancipation that registers strongly. This remarkable poem moves in its preludes through an initial anxious energy as an exhausted persona/the poet travels through harsh sheep country where alcohol and over the-counter-drugs smother the numbness and anomie a young jackeroo or farmhand, say, might feel in the face of slaughter yards and endless plains' horizons broken by occasional silos and surreal sunsets that eventually seem conventional, leading to a sense of desperation -

         A hundred pages on
         through plotless outcountry

    There's a turn in this road trip in arriving at the east coast's 'flat edge of pacific breakers'. Then the collision of the ocean and urbanity reminds the jetlagged-yet still-thinking prodigal of lost political causes

         We could've been the children
         of Whitlam and Coca-Cola.
    which is an Aussie remark on Jean Luc Godard's intertitle between chapters in his 1960s film 'Masculin-Féminin' - "The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola".

    One of the challenges of minimalism is finding a way to gouge relatable connotation from simplicity and Louis is really good at doing that. The poem traverses grinding hard yakka and the tedium of distance - hauling along through the dead of night between outback mining towns and salt flats pushing past 'a punchline without a joke' until daybreak reveals 'barbiturate cloud patterns' and 'unfamiliar / regions of cross-sectional debris'. Attempting to get a grip on this place, he asks the question - is 'the scene ironic or insincere?' The reply -

         An ambiguous terrain, its objectivity
         is a thing of the mind, una cosa mentale.

    In the second prelude the prodigal poet returns to, in a way, the foci of his journey. In a kind of monumental segment of five stanzas of five lines each, he is in Sydney, addressing the Road Builders’ Obelisk and colonial history, or mis-history. It's the oldest true obelisk in Sydney, built in 1818. It's located in tiny Macquarie Place on Bridge Street and was designed by Francis Greenaway. This elongated sandstone pyramid's purpose was as the geographical milestone for the measurement of road lengths in New South Wales. Especially apposite to this circuitous road poem.

    As you might expect, soon enough, yet cautiously, the poem heads out again and the third prelude recounts 'The Effect of Travelling in Distant Places' where some experiential resolution or 'answer' is sought and

         the sick man groans,
         dragging his sack of instruments

         on into the immeasurable -
         beckoned by its fool's glimmer

    the problems of religion, greed, capital, false gods are all encountered in eight couplets then 'the eye too, is a product/of history'. Or you could say 'seeing isn't believing' as the poems' slightly abstracted ecological predicaments, like brackish bore water contaminated by alkaline salinity, are reduced - 'Being/ so much dreck and signage'. The body suffers in parallel with the land and, finally, there's a 'Reprise' -

         we reached the next turning point
         and came to a standstill:

         from centre dead up against periphery
          (no things but in relations).

    The reprise is of the times - briefly. It's a sleaze reprise, back in Sydney, a place once nicknamed 'Tinsel Town', - at the harbour -

                   A bridge to the
         promised land in perpetual
         strip-tease slung above the 100,000

         expiring light bulbs of LUNA P RK.
         undressing the blacked out scar of

         decommissioned navy yards, dry
         docks ... Our hungers for elsewhere

         were free to enlarge, conscripted
         to the Big Idea - not by ballot but by
         lottery -

    In the final twenty-or-so couplets the poem briefly laments American influence in Australia, revisits the outback journey, remembers earlier times - 'the halo formed/around the analogue dial/ wandjina like, and electric as/spirit medium shot at high speed.' There is no actual conclusion to 'Realism' but 'Escape was a sad parody of a film/ that's been running for a century' and the prodigal, back on the western highway, checks out the rearview mirror - 'testing the stringency/of what it means to be invisible - /though drawing no conclusion from it.'

    There's a big complicated mind driving the imaginary in these poems. Louis' analytical and motile thinking upsets conventional expectations. He arranges a kind of sur-or hyper-reality and fashions something new as images and metaphors tumble over each other and extensive transcultural classical and popular cultures combine to make poems that are often reminiscent of large colourful, layered, goopy oil paintings or stacked banks of video screens simultaneously playing different images.

    I've only talked about a small part of this book and although it might seem a bit exiguous after the time I spent on the great poem 'Realism' - but because you'll be wanting to hear from Louis Armand himself - I'll end by offering you a couple of sets of lists to give clues to what extraordinary congeries of ideas and things you will find here: - the poems embrace innumerable literary, philosophical, mythological and artistic figures like Arcimboldo, Rachmaninov, Aristotle, De Kooning, Blaise Cendrars, Charles Mingus and many others and they roam through many places, considering them as both actual and imagined - a sample includes Las Vegas, Cittavecchia, Manhattan, Paris, Bolzano, Rapallo, Ravenna and, of course, Prague.

    The dedicatees in this collection are as various as the poems' influences, themes and associations comprising a transnational ars poeisis - some of them are Gwendolyn Albert, Anselm Berrigan, Ali Alizadeh, the late Amiri Baraka, John Tranter, Karen Mac Cormack, David Vichnar, Kenneth Koch, Howard Barker, the late Mahmoud Darwish, David Malouf, John Kinsella, Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, the late Cy Twombly and many others. This book pays its dues to a veritable pantheon of cultural figures - poetically, it's totally in the black.

    It's with tremendous pleasure that I'd like to welcome these amazing poems and Louis Armand back to Australia, and declare the collection, Indirect Objects, open for reading ...

    *Kristen Valentine

    Return to Extras or the deletions or Pam Brown site


    Dark Horsey Bookshop
    Australian Experimental Art Foundation
    Lion Arts Centre, North Tce [West End]
    South Australia

    This coming Tuesday
    JUNE 10th
    at 7:30pm for an 8pm start
    $5 entry

    Cath Kenneally
    Ken Bolton
    Pam Brown

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Pam Brown Authentic Local (SOI3 Modern Poets, 2010)

    very slightly edited extract from a club sandwich review
    by Les Wicks in Famous Reporter #42 , February, 2011

    Late last year Pam Brown started a bushfire with her blog the deletions. She questioned the uncritical acclamation of what some claim is a "new Australian lyricism". Over the course of the weeks that followed we were treated to a rich discourse of wildly differing views often focusing on lazy reviewing, inherent conflicts of interest (particularly amongst academics and those who study with them), gender in the 21st century, the effect of campus based writing courses and where writers stand within the spectrum of the various camps. Many raised the point that most of us have a voice that has elements of the Lyric, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E etc. Ours is a "mongrel" inheritance, we are free to pick whatever rags and ribbons that we like. Other disciplines are beginning to formally study intuition and I think this is the rudder to so much good poetry coming out now irrespective of the poet’s chosen platform. That combined with veracity; maybe even ferocity sees a vital, engaged and engaging book.

    Reading Pam Brown's latest book Authentic Local is a kind of market experience; we're almost guided to that analogy with several references to shopping within the book. The reader wanders the aisles/laneways of the poems, picks treasures that personally resonate whilst wandering past other explorations with barely a nod. However, I'm almost sure the next along at that stall will pick up something quite different. This is a catalogue of concepts and experience.

    The poet's voice, for so many decades so masterful, continues to enrich and astonish the reader through its deft use of deceptively simple language successively put up then burnt away by the incandescent.

    in a gadda da vida
    and other stormy music
    a million droplets,
                                                                      Dry Tropics
    a semi-droop enfolds
    	the golden lens
    of the globe
    	in a halogen headlight
    	caressing a shining
    		chromium bullbar

    Authentic Localhas much commentary on the quotidian, but is full of marvellous surprises. In 'Polka Squares' a film on climate change is described as "a snuff doco". Brown asserts
         I want to come back as
          a false witness
                                             Self-Denial Never Lasts Long

    At her mention of having had 36 addresses, I found myself counting my own (24), this is a classic example of Brown’s deft explorations across language, enticing us into reflection and recollection.

    	randomised,	double blinded
    	dose and duration,
    			pin drip red
    	it worked
                                for the rat
                                                                         Pin Drip Red
    Age, health and loss are all explored with a mix of white-light objectivity and vulnerability. She has a remarkable sense of play on various poetic styles.

    A personal favourite is the final poem in the book: elegant, privately public, universal. She offers:
         knowing nothing,
         the true thoughts
         of an amateur thinker

         with identity
         this is all
         I have to work with

    Return to Reviews or the deletions or Pam Brown site