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Poetry

Poetry – Part 2

By | News, Poetry

a cheerio call from inside of the poem in its making

 

here I am back again

 

happening to be in a Norway summer

high above the Arctic Circle

no chance of sunset at all

(see pictures, stay tuned for midnight sun)

 

…. and right now I am

making an example out of a poem

 

here I am

writing a poem in the form of a poem

about the poem I’m shaping

(you could get a reputation for this kind of thing

… writing about the writing of it

being in the process…

telling the ways and means)

 

anyway, I do hope can you see me in here

some sign of life?

requires imagination…

and if I fall into prose, then I’m gone

(a million, dad would say)

but

you don’t get to make the poem

without first being in a poem

(that’s because poems are the most important of the many places poems are from)

and

all along, in this process

I am discovering the rules

I test them till they break

break them again and

here I am once more

breaking whatever rules had to be guessed

in its making [the poem’s, that is]

(and that’s a noun or that’s a verb

depending on apostrophe)

 

you have to keep up… it’s steep

but the views!

 

and midst of them

here I am

I make a little spectacle of myself

making the poem

(and need the spectacles too at this stage

to see the poem at all

[let these serve as the ‘objective conditions’])

 

the words here?

almost all inherited

I make up a few

but mainly make us of those provided

 

…this is all by way of introduction to the poem in the poem under construction

(always as ever)

 

first on paper

(see the picture!)

and then I’ll type up

(like climbing some stairs high into the text that had to be)

 

here is one from where I am far

(I know you’re waving but I can’t see

… must adjust reception)

 

this piece was going to be part of

immensity and wonder

(now I’m not so sure)

 

motto first

when you’ve gone too far, go further

 

(would be an epigraph but it’s mine

… I could dilate upon this later)

 

enough blather, this is the poem I was working on then

(couple of days ago)… it was on Day 1285 since the beginning of Project 366

(that was on the 1st of January, 2016, so now is July 2019… above the Arctic Circle, remember

… in other words, it was the 1285th draft in the series)

 

 

 

1285

one day opened the door and summer came in

 

just a little shy first

stood at the door to be beckoning

 

must have been hanging about outside

 

was as if it had been waiting

considering the curtains

 

I took a deckchair

hung out with the world

 

there were great swathes of big yellow

 

hung the world out to dry

 

summer stood like a statue then

still in the air

not quite a shimmer

 

not all there

nevertheless there were insects for proof

unidentified (each with the air of the just invented)

 

and still I remember those terrible eyes

and how this world is other-ended

but that is another story

 

for now

the south on all its stiff wings had arrived

to say day

the sky stood off

 

clouds forgot themselves entirely

 

all glowed

and cherished this moment

we each of us knew

would never

and never would

come again

 

*

 

back again

here I am

can you feel the rhythm in the repetition

(here and gone - fort! da!…

there’s good repetition and bad)

 

and here though that draft endeth

I will over time go back and fiddle

 

(a kind of Nietzschean ‘eternal return’

except that you’ll forget, go on

far and away

absorbed in new text

new adventures

boys own in my case…

 

because I can’t be in words twice the same

that’s not how language ever worked

or will

 

it’s a kind of Australian Norway I suppose I’m cooking up here

but is that the right thing to do?

especially when Norway’s so much more like New Zealand

(though without the earthquakes)

 

often I overwhelm myself with this sort of thing

(and it happens every day)

have to hold on to steady

because you

know

see

feel

touch

tell

 

in deep of the mirror wading

 

this is where the poem must be

 

all my own

 

far ahead of the game

I need never have doubted myself

 

it’s a shallow swim through own muck

such as gods give

but the water’s too cold here

[I did though manage a whole minute in a fjord

but that was below the circle]

 

… so much ellipsis…

 

and back to the breach

 

you simply have to believe

 

keep brackets open here

 

Christopher (Kit) Kelen (客遠文) is a well-known Australian poet, scholar and visual artist, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught Creative Writing and Literature for many years. Kit Kelen’s poetry has been published and broadcast widely since the seventies, and he has won a number of prestigious awards over the years, including an ABA/ABC Bicentennial Prize in 1988; and in 1992 an Anne Elder award for his first volume of poems The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees. He has also won Westerly‘s Patricia Hackett Prize and placed second in Island’s Gwen Harwood Prize. In 2012, his poem ‘Time with the Sky’ was runner up in the Newcastle Poetry Prize, an award for which he has been frequently shortlisted. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and, for the second time, won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. In 2018, he was longlisted for the ACU and University of Canberra’s Vice Chancellors’ prizes. Volumes of Kit Kelen’s poetry have been published in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Filipino and Norwegian. The most recent of Kelen’s dozen English language volumes is Poor Man’s Coat  Hardanger Poems, published by UWAP in 2018.

Norway, where member blogger Kit Kelen is residing

Poetry – Part 1

By | News, Poetry

Professor Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a resident of Bulahdelah and he has travelled extensively around the world. He is a poet, painter and academic who has published a dozen full length poetry collections and translated books of poetry in several languages. Kit was Emeritus Professor at the University of Macau for many years. Right now he is residing in a little farmhouse in Norway, 10kms from the internet. We asked him to blog about poetry and the writing process and he sent us this wonderful response:

a draft of the poem for the process 

here I am gathering lines from the track

(peripatetic, that is to say)

this is the draft

of the poem

of the process

of bringing the poem to be

(you’d have to read it though, to know

you couldn’t just guess

that the track is the way the words

fall on the page)

these are the secrets that give me away

*

often wake to the words

there because

must have thought in that direction

left for crumbs to collect in the night

for stones to shine

so to say

titles could come in anywhere

because the poem won’t yet know

if it’s beginning or ever will 

I follow phrases down into the page

improvise just on this theme

were they there already?

come steady from the rain as well

sometimes I come in with them dripping

even ironic sunshone

I work the shadows for a doubt

find a self folded into the text

also always there already

that’s the voice to run

salute to all doors 

feel free to rock gently

in throes of yoga too

with

the lines afoot  the effort in  the heart come racing till

in fear of where I am

and might be otherwise

smoke rising from my ears

a sign

and breathlessly up in the work

hold a mirror

show the world my way

catch rain in my compass for bung

I have a little radar

for the poem yet to spin

please don’t expect to understand

or dwindle me interpreting

where I’ve been bitten

there’s the rub

and one day they will say of him

trudge as far as he would come

third person that he is

lazy in the pages

climbing never quite arrived

but saw the peak from the queue

the rhythm of machinery was with this

and hear the footsteps - hot breath after

see them coming for the crown

I never had

I never wore

death of me this shroud

and red pen after

when I can’t correct

slow and steady

no one wins

go like the belled sheep

through my own words

four paws where the stone is dry

but here today the track again

and I so many rhythms

implausible insect of this day’s invention

old

fat

ugly

lazy

and

stupid

reflect on my better qualities first

they’re all in the work and its making

and there is the goat self I come impassably to

my cooling system sky

all that masked

at least I try

see ants when I hear the rain

that’s for a lame foretelling

in dots

then stand in the forest’s coat

buy time

scribble at the fact

I drip myself

to dot the page

it’s any forest takes me up

to pour out just these words

*

cuckoo begins me on a tune

as any little wings would

and the rain is a forest as well

come to

slip away from thought

a trill

and nowhere

write my name

consider then how much rain to a poem

how many suns?

a puddle and not to flow

track makes itself as well

and trippingly

how much slipping with down?

sometimes there’ll be a creek run of vowel

come like an inkling to call

otherwise

light instances

dream in the vision as such

and hear the sky’s increase

an image

smell the soil - one too

take the thing at a run

be the rhythm 
under own spell 

gone

I am constructing the flower machine

and how many words till it’s said

crawl into these least and hide

here for my vanish

and how about you

now you’ve come along this far?

I’m telling this to no one

you see how far I’m gone

*

all this wander in my woods

you simply must try at home