Wednesday, 20 July 2011
The last time I heard Fanny Howe read was with Tom Raworth a year or so ago. The upstairs room at The Lamb was a complete crush as was the stairwell. The atmosphere was stifling so the readers sensibly kept the brackets short. I’d been sitting near the front of the room and felt that if I left I’d never get back in again. Last night Fanny read again together with Hank Lazer at greater length and to a manageable summer holidays gathering. It was good to hear both of these poets (it was Hank Lazer’s first reading in the UK). Howe read mostly from the recent Come and See and included a poem written by her daughter in the second bracket. Lazer read work from three books together with as yet unpublished poems which were both performable and visual.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Tuesday night’s reading at The Lamb featured Nick Scott, Nat Raha and Paul Buck (pictured). Scott and Raha found their form in the second bracket when Raha read a long poems from her Veer Press book. It was great to hear Paul Buck read. I’d known of his work since Kris Hemensley had mentioned it back in the seventies. I had seen Buck’s little magazine Curtains, a more primitive production than anyone concerned with web-based journals could possibly imagine. His reading was impressive and made one wish the work was more widely available.
Friday, 8 July 2011
To start a new press these days, particularly one that produces substantial volumes, is a brave venture. Grand Parade Poets, based in Wollongong and run by Alan Wearne is such a venture. It could hardly have bettered its first two productions however. These are both books by poets who ought to be better known. Pete Spence, the author of Perrier Fever, is well enough known in vispo circles but he deserves wider recognition than this. He is a wonderfully comic writer who makes it all look easy. It isn’t of course, but it’s a testament to his skill that this is the case. These poems are colloquial yet not verbose. There’s nary a foot placed wrongly here. Benjamin Frater’s 6am in the Universe was preceded by a chapbook, Bughouse Meat. It will, alas, be his last book. He died in his late twenties through complications in his medication. A few years back Alan Wearne suggested to Ben that he write to me. He was interested in doing so but reticence overcame him and we didn’t correspond. These poems feel right. Even as a student it seems he knew well what he was doing. Jaya Savige’s blurb describes his work as equal parts ‘Blakean and Australian Gothic'. It is a well-read poetry that doesn’t parade its erudition (and the book includes a DVD of Frater reading). These books (both beautifully designed by Chris Edwards) deserve a wide readership and I hope their publication bodes well for Grand Parade’s future prospects.