David Prater is an Australasian poet who lives in the third person. He edits Cordite Poetry Review, an online poetry and poetics journal. He is enrolled as a PhD student within the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. No sea monkeys, turtle doves, silkworms, three toed sloths, llama wranglers, celebrity chefs, German language instructors, Sting impersonators or wet nurses were harmed, consulted or vilified during the construction of this website.
My re-baptism of fire on the Melbourne spoken word circuit last night at Babble provided me with some food for thought about how to get the most out of performance poetry. As I've not really performed as such for over six months, I of course went into the gig with grand plans and unpredictable outcomes. A small but generous crowd witnessed me limping through some old poems and some new pieces from my time overseas.
First up was a risky gambit: a reading of my poem "There's A Wild Jack Russell In the Moon" featuring a piano soundtrack I recorded years ago, with me miming playing the piano and trying to remember the words to the poem. It was probably a bit long for an opening piece but it felt good to challenge myself to improvise the poem, and it got a few laughs. Next was "the Sprawl", my poem for Bruce Springsteen, and I was happy with my ability to remember the words (it's quite long). Next, another risky move, a new poem set to the tune of an Eny…
Last Friday's Poetry Picture Show event in Sydney was a lot of fun. Ten poets reading out poems about the moving image, followed by short films based on the contents of those poems. Highlights for me were Kate Lilley's take on Mildred Pierce and John Tranter's Paris Blues but of course everyone was wonderful. The crowd was great too, packing out the old Darlington School hall, a building I'd never even been to, though it's in the grounds of Sydney University, where I scraped through an undergraduate degree. You can read my poem Karin Revisited online or listen to an audio version (mp3 format). You can also have a look at the short film Johanna and her team made in response to my poem (probably requires broadband). One thing I noticed about the text version of my poem, which is written in four line stanzas, is that I inadvertantly included a stanza with only three lines. Does anyone have any suggestions for the fourth line? Here is what it looks like right now, in c…
season before anyone gets there. clean airports. season for new roads and sidewalks. haircuts to die for. fancy dress outfitters. convenience stores. spare parts for rocket ships. strong coffee.
season of our eventual reunion. in a sunny room where it's always possible to forecast the weather. bicycle riding. small kittens and dictionaries. rocks thrown at windows. expensive bath mats. blindfolds.
season of immigration towers and state peace. aladdin released. addresses blocked. visas refused. unfinished books. boredom. looping playlists. correspondences. hot telephones. text. scarves. puddles.
season of skyline highs. arranging escapes. throwing out old clothes. empty flats. one bowl of milk per day. subtitles and dark sunglasses. blurry stars. postcards. batteries. champagne.