Next Arrivals. Collected Poems by Robin Ouzman Hislop. Introduction by Ian Irvine (Hobson)

Introduction to Next Arrival: The Many Faces of Creative Indeterminacy
by Ian Irvine (Hobson)

Poetic Indeterminacy 1: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry and Late Modernist Experimental Poetry

When Marjorie Perloff, long-term critical advocate for L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry (indeed for experimental poetries generally), published The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage back in 1981, she wanted to trace a particular kind of poetic ‘indeterminacy’ back to its 19thcentury roots in Rimbaud. Early on she quoted Barthes’ perspective on Rimbaud’s poetics: ‘Rimbaud … destroyed relationships in language and reduced discourse to words as static things … In it, Nature becomes a fragmented space, made of objects solitary and terrible, because the links between them are only potential.’ Perloff then traced the 20th century developments in this emerging poetics via chapters on Gertrude Stein’s ‘word-systems’, Samuel Beckett’s ‘poetics of absence’ and John Ashberry’s ‘open field of narrative possibilities’ (elsewhere termed a ‘field poetics’). Her book concluded with studies of the ‘marginless’ poetics of David Antin and the chance-operations poetics of John Cage , who wrote of his later works: ‘They begin anywhere, last any length of time … They are therefore not preconceived objects … They are occasions for experience.’ Perloff’s book led to further studies in which she announced L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry as a further chapter in this century old poetics of ‘indeterminacy’.

Robin Ouzman Hislop’s poetry is certainly in dialogue with some of the key architects of this well documented ‘poetics of indeterminacy’ – both the Modernist strands represented by the likes of Beckett and Stein, and the postmodernist strands represented, initially, by Ashberry and Antin, and later on by poets like Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Lyn Hejinian and Ron Silliman. Next Arrivals, however, like Hislop’s second collection Cartoon Molecules, also explores and responds to themes only rarely addressed by 20th century experimental poets.

In both Cartoon Molecules and Next Arrivals we start to catch glimpses of a hulking phantasmagoric something (a transhumant creature perhaps?) as it ‘slouches’, ‘transforms’, ‘self-engineers’, ‘machine learns’ it-self into being under cover of the postmodern twilight. Culturally speaking, something new is being born/engineered/programmed in these early decades of the new millennium and all three of Hislop’s collections, in my opinion, work hard to capture the cultural zeitgeist surrounding aspects of this transhuman nativity drama (one interpretation of the collection’s title, i.e. literally, the Next Arrivals). Hislop senses that new poetic forms – what we might label a new (perhaps quantum influenced?) ‘poetics of indeterminacy’ – may be called for here and, like US poet Amy Catanzano, he is courageous enough to initiate new experiments with poetic form in order to address the urgencies of our time.

Poetic Indeterminacy 2: Eulogies for the Passing of Mechanist Science

All this is to say that Hislop is keenly interested in exploring poetically a range of phenomena loosely related to ‘the New Sciences’. His interest, however, is not that of the wide-eyed, but willfully naïve, classical scientist. He understands humanity’s darker impulses – particularly our darker collective impulses – too well to buy into the idyllic marriage vows these days being exchanged between the New Sciences and extreme capitalism – however loved-up the happy couple appear to be in public. His unease and ambivalence regarding this pairing is evident in many of the poems featuring New Science themes. At times key poems descend into states of existential vertigo brought on by what is unfolding. Such themes are most directly addressed in the poem on (p.59) of the collection:

we invent them to serve us         controlling our existence
to create virtual worlds with hells and heavens
myths domesticate science
fiction and reality blur shaping our reality
an assembly of biochemical algorithms flash fade flash fade
spinning

Similar notes of caution and critique accompany references to genetic programming, Artificial Intelligence (and the much publicised ‘approaching Singularity’), Virtual Reality obsessions (Hislop’s meditations on Bostrom’s ‘Simulation Argument’ are particularly interesting), quantum computers, and, so on, throughout the collection. He asks us to be wary of the way the New Sciences are merging with what he refers to as ‘datism’, and then warns us that ‘algorithms can control empire/ or an upper class ruling the planet’ (p.59). Later in the same poem (p.61) we read: ‘free market big brother/ watches every breath you take’. The New Sciences, of course, were founded on a profoundly ontological understanding of ‘indeterminism’, arising as they did, out of the discoveries of a range of early 20th century physicists – especially Heisenberg (with his so-called ‘uncertainty principle’).

Our need to explore these kinds of ontological uncertainty suggest a second major way to understand contemporary experimental poetries as ‘indeterminate’ – a way that brings Hislop close to the concerns of a growing band of writers creating what some are calling ‘Quantum Literatures’. What kinds of art, philosophy, poetry and poetics should we develop to address fundamental ‘indeterminacies’ of matter and consciousness (rather of consciousness observing matter)? Hislop does not, of course, advance explicit theories on such topics in this collection, but a poetic response to the challenges posed hovers above a number of the best poems in the collection. Such concerns also – whether consciously or unconsciously – seem to affect the formal flow of the collection.

Next Arrival can, in theory, be entered via a range of gates, since the 2nd to last poem in the collection mirrors the collection of lines used to construct the table of contents. Though there are no titles to each discernible segment of poetry – no capitals and headings to interrupt flow – we slowly become aware (via a kind of gentle memory murmur) that the first line of each new segment also appears in the table of contents (and will appear again at the end of the collection). In a sense then, our reading choices – i.e. whether we browse/surf the collection or proceed more conventionally from start to finish – ‘collapse’ a range (or field) of reading (and meaning) possibilities into a particular reading outcome. The experience, however, is always ‘hologrammatical’, since poem fragments from across the collection are embedded in secondary poems – producing the uncanny sense that every poem is linked to every other poem. Another term for this – a term directly related to the New Sciences – is ‘entanglement’. Specifically, we are talking about a poetics of entanglement. It is perhaps an intuitive development –possibly arising naturally out of Hislop’s deeply held ecological vision (as outlined in a number of the collection’s other poems). We note, however, that a poetics of entanglement may run contrary to the kind of language atomizing poetics we sometimes find in the more extreme manifestations of contemporary anti-representational poetry.

Although Hislop uses a range of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry techniques, the poems in Next Arrivals are never completely ‘anti-representational’. Rather meaning-creating choices, options, possible worlds/selves are offered up to the reader at every turn. The poet invites us to contemplate a new kind of reading freedom—a freedom built upon expansive notions of subjectivity, linked, in turn, to up-dated Existential and New Science perspectives. A subjectivity, in short, subliminally aware of the multiverse. Barthes’ summary of Rimbaud’s poetic (and, retrospectively the poetics of late Modernism and Postmodernism) – i.e. a poetics of ‘objects solitary and terrible’ – is not, in the end, Hislop’s poetic. Rather, we are talking about a poetry slanted toward human vulnerability and the facts of our inter-relational entanglements – a poetry addressing readers staring at the approach of an A.I. and big-data determined – perhaps Simulation programmed – future that may well see ordinary humans made obsolete and irrelevant – in a word ‘surpassed’. Interestingly, however, I suspect that for Hislop the risks associated with the fast approaching A.I. Singularity confront us as contemporary manifestations of what amounts to an age-old curse. Perhaps a classical allusion is in order. As we read Next Arrivals we become aware that we are still negotiating the Minotaur’s death-haunted labyrinth (in many ways the structure of the collection resembles that of a literary labyrinth). The face of the Minotaur, however, continuously shape-shifts into that of Saturn (old Father Time himself, or, put differently, the inevitable human encounter with death/mortality). There are thus a number of moving poems in Next Arrivals exploring mortality, ageing and the general fragility of human life. Two lines, for me, best summarise the collection’s new spin on this very old theme (p.69):

but I brimmed in apocalypse             under the welter of bones
yield to the inevitable

Poetic Indeteminacies to do with Editing, Translating and New media Technologies

Hislop and his wife, Amparo Perez Arrospide, have edited the online literary and visual arts publication Poetry Life and Times (PLT) since 2006. In this age of global communication networks, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate a poet’s poetry from a poet’s elsewhere contributions to literary and online cultures. Everything swims together in a kind of ‘electronic soup’ of interactions and information nodes on the WWW (representing perhaps another kind of ‘field poetics’ or ‘poetics of indeterminacy’). For better or worse, the specialized poets of the 20th century have slowly been replaced by a new breed of transmedia savvy ‘uber-artists’. Some poets are well equipped for the new role. Hislop, certainly, is comfortable communicating in a range of genres, across a variety of conventional and new media platforms (e.g. reviews/nonfiction essays, translations, video-poems, teaching, poetry performances, etc. ), as well as through publishing the works of other poets at the PLT site (and we note that all good literary journals seek to construct ‘an open field of narrative possibilities’).

There is no doubt that PLT, here including work published via its sub-sites Artvilla and Motherbird , expresses a truly internationalist poetics. Its contributors herald from all over the planet and the various sites feature a range of poetic styles—traditional, modernist, postmodernist, experimentalist, etc . The editors are also committed to publishing the poetry of non-English language poets (translated, in many cases, by the editors themselves). We note here that ‘translation’ is itself a notoriously difficult and ‘indeterminate’ activity – there is always a trace of the translator in the finished product, however much he or she strives to eliminate any evidence of input. Overall, PLT augments ,and expands upon, the very same poetics of indeterminacy we encounter in Hislop’s own poetry.

*****

The creative Indeterminacies I have located in Hislop’s overall oeuvre are cause for celebration. Exploring such ‘creative indeterminacies’ will introduce us to zones of hybridity – the interstitial plazas and market-places that exist between the monolithic, but ultimately delusionary and oppressive, certainties fed us daily by governments, media moguls, religious leaders and ideologues. There is something liberating and eminently human about embracing the expanded notions of self we encounter in Hislop’s poetry. We note that John Cage also sought a more expansive definition of creative practice when he labeled his later experiments ‘occasions for experience’. We may apply the same terminology to the poems in Next Arrivals – they are, each and every one of them, ‘occasions for experience’. Hislop’s ‘occasions for experience’, however, highlight the ambivalences and anxieties, as well as the joys and occasional epiphanies, experienced by ordinary people attempting to make sense of our globalised, corporatized, information-saturated post-postmodern world.
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) Victoria Australia 2018

 

Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian based, British born, poet/lyricist, fiction writer, journal editor, and writing and creative arts academic. His work has been published extensively, including in a number of national anthologies, e.g. Best Australian Poetry and Agenda’s special Contemporary Australian Poets edition. He has published four books and has co-edited over 20 publications including 7 editions of the groundbreaking international literary ezine The Animist (1998-2001), as well as Scintillae 2012 (a print anthology containing work by over 60 Australian poets and writers). Ian has taught in the creative and professional writing programme at Bendigo Kangan Institute since 1999. He also lectures casually in a similar program at Victoria University, Melbourne.
 
 
 

 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

I Have Rediscovered Darkness. A Video Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson.


 
Cover Image. Water. Teresa Fisher.
 
Editor’s Note: This video poem was originally contributed by Ian to take part in a You Tube Poets Documentary to be Edited & Published by Sara Russell http://poetrylifetimes.blogspot.co.uk we are taking further submissions in case of interest contact Robin@Artvilla.com.
 
 
 
Ian Irvine Photo
 
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine
 
 
 
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Key of Mist. Guadalupe Grande.Translated.Amparo Arróspide.Robin Ouzman Hislop
 
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Our Biosemiotic Clay is African. A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

Graphic Semiotic Egyptian


I - Nubian Alchemy

Kemet, al kemet - the black and fertile earth
       the black and fertile origins of humanity.

Primordial mother, sister, lover, daughter

Eventually, by laws of genetic entanglement,
       (go check the mitochondrial record)
we (re)trace the contours of her absence
       to the mountains that fed the Blue Nile
       (the ice caps were glacial back then).

Orchestrated histories veil her presence
       at the base of the mountain
       at the base of your spine
       at the heart of the geometric benevolence
               that designed the oldest pyramids.

Young African woman with palettes, brushes,
       measuring tools and golden mallet. 
After each inundation she calculated
       a new patchwork of fields
to feed the hungry populace. 

The rich luminescence of her wisdom skin -
       as many statues attest - 
is primarily African:
       black sunrise of the written word
       black sunrise of numerous civilisations

Acknowledge her thus - for
       she took you swimming in the Nile.
Did Michaelangelo imagine the Nubian 
       Pharaohs white - like Jesus?

Back then, words were hieroglyphic images
       - phonetics yet to be invented - and
       she wrote in the glory of paint. 
They begged her
       Colour us a liveable future.

II - (Quantum) Woman Dressed in Stars

She takes you flying among the stars
       (and every vowel restored)
You sense
       habitual memory contract to a
tiny pin-point of sub-atomic energy/light
       it flares against the universal nothingness.

The hieroglyphs swirl - so many narratives,
       so many possible lives - until
fragile scintillae appear, then cluster, as though 
       glued to invisible structures.
You watch them float like clumps of possibility
       (like clumps of future memories).

Your life is fluid again -
       all good things are possible
       and all dangerous things -
her skin, like the coffins of your former selves,
       is a gallery of marvelous images.

(Seshet) = the hidden numeric order
       Our need for numbers and images and words
       to strengthen living structures

Her slim ankles, her calves, her hips, her breasts

The lovers exchange gifts: 
       charms, formulae, hieroglyphs, stories
       (photons, electrons - elementary particle-waves)
A biosemiotic exchange to animate 
       otherwise passive clay.

Do you sense it 
       the first ragged gasp of a new becoming?

 
 
Ian Irvine Photo
 
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine
 
The above poem is an Excerpt from a collection of poems Awake in the Chamber of Darkness.The Egyptian Sequence. Publisher: Mercurius Press, Australia, 2015. ‘Awake in the Chamber of Darkness’ is copyright Ian Irvine (Hobson), 2015, all rights reserved.
Acknowledgements: ‘Hypatia and the Ruined Serapeum’ was published in Poetry Life and Times (UK/Spain) in Aug. 2015.
Image: Seshat writing. This image is in the public domain.

 
Chamber of Darkness
 
 
 
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The Australian Ibis (Sister to the Sacred Ibis) A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

 
 
Australain Ibis (Thoth)
 
I – The Evening Dinner
 
An Australian ibis – sister to Thoth’s sacred ibis
(now extinct in Egypt) – is nesting near the dam
at the bottom of our land. She hatched three chicks
but only two survive. It’s swampy down there,
due to the summer of inundations – we imagine she
feeds her young on yabbies, frogs and large insects.
 
Maybe there are two birds – she seems larger in the
evenings. My son believes they change parental shifts
at dawn and dusk. I like to imagine they write in their
down-time: poems, plays, essays, novels … Their black
bills hint at great things: beyond wading the shallows,
feeding snails to their young and antiseptic preening.
 
II – Factoid
 
Ibises (scribes) are ‘pests’ in today’s new Australia
of fast money, climate change denial and government
sanctioned human rights abuses. In eastern seaboard
cities, colonies of birds – escapees from inland drought –
clamour for pastries and fish-food in parks beside
suburban lakes. They number in the thousands.
 
III – The Community of Scribes
 
At dusk last night I tried to observe the change
of shift – I crept slowly, noiselessly to a spot behind
a large gum-tree and waited. The ibis was undisturbed
– she/he waded in the shallows concentrating, no doubt,
on some doomed creature slithering about in the rich
spring mud. The chicks, hopefully, safe in their nest.
 
Time stood still – we could have been in ancient
Egypt, perhaps on a minor tributary of the Nile –
poised between night and day, sunset and moon-
glow … white-black bird with amazing concentration!
Such a domestic scene: a parent sourcing the evening
meal. And then I heard it: a disturbance in the air, a
 
communal flapping of wings, above me, above the tree-line –
how many birds? They circled in a gigantic V, necks out-
stretched, powerful unhurried wing flaps – lumbering
organic cargo planes – and the moon as their back-
drop. Until one of them descended, smoothly – the
predicted mate? – before executing a deft water landing.
 
As one bird arrived the other departed – they rubbed bills
in the handover. Soon enough she (or he) was soaring
beneath the papyrus heavens – in formation with cadres
from some secret avian writers’ group. Free, by night
to pursue the challenges of scribing (and interpreting)
the hieroglyphic enigmas of past, present and future.
 
Their young, with luck, will soon be airborne –
for a global winter approaches, and
the sons and daughters of Thoth and
Sesheta are all that stands between
humanity and brutal, self-created chaos.

 
Image: ‘Thoth as Ibis’, by the author, 2015.
 
 
Ian Irvine Photo
 
About the Author
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine

 
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Hypatia and the Ruined Serapeum. A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

Excerpt from:
Awake in the Chamber of Darkness
(The Egyptian Sequence)

(Inspired by Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora)

Broken statues, torn scrolls,
shattered pottery, piles of ash,
and smoke (gently rising)
in the early morning quiet.

‘The mob have roasted knowledge, 
          silenced the Muses, stamped everything
          with God-infested words!’
mutters Theon.
          ‘And where now, oh father’ she whispers,
          ‘to speak the remnants of our world?’

Hypatia, too bright in the city
for the one God sun of Christ,
watches the skies lighten over Alexandria
          (unreal stillness).
Her Wanderers – Jupiter, Venus and the others -
          smashed or shorn of power,
this dawn, this new day for the writing

Is it here, in the clarity of her grief,
that she begins to see them 
          as if for the first time?
Not ‘circles’ but ‘curves’,
          not Ptolemy but Aristarchus. 

Soon enough the zealots will object
          to her and her knowledge, 
will attempt to erase this philosopher ‘witch’
from history, from discourse, from the dreams
          of troubled men.

They succeed for a time -
they do not succeed -
for the heavens are precise
          and stomach no faulty permutations.

My ‘curving’ planets, my
          celestial musicians,
my elliptoid wanderers
          (future astronomers will discover)
are welded 
          (of course she knows it thus!)
each to each
          in the slow 
orbits 
          of the possible.

 
About the Author
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine

 
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Brief Visions of Contemporary Life. A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

I

This gaudy tourist beach
  retired scum of 
      exploit the poor 
      Australia. Playing
golf, faking orgasm, moved
  to pornographic
      cunt/cock fix. 
Sea change? 
  Take me
      back to the ghetto! Alive 
      and troubled.

II

If you work hard to
  privatise your
      testicles, lick
  the cum of 
      ‘benchmark’ and
      ‘quota’; you’ll
  accumulate enough super to
retire here,
      among the buggies
      and boredom.

III

All those four wheel drive
      pseudo - jeeps, with
  with bobbed blonde narcissists
      and three kids to
piano this, and soccer that
  dancing this and tutoring
  that —
such clumsy tanks on the roads
  at twilight 
  crawling home to their
McMansion garages. She
      eyes me like a
      night in the swamp.

IV

A morning where I want to 
   XXXX the world, want
to belch and fart 
   fumes of bodily liberation 
and laugh at the monkeys
   red - assed with scrofula. The 
monkeys off to their paper mausoleums 
   seeking adrenaline-junky highs
from contact sport, all 
   those sado - masochistic males
      banging into each other
      like painted fridges —
   millions of them, aiming between
      human goalposts. I

laugh at the monkeys, red - assed
      with scrofula.

 
 
Ian Irvine Photo

Ian Irvine is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer:
 
His work has featured in many Australian and international publications, including Fire (UK) ‘Anthology of 20th Century and Contemporary Poets,’ (2008) which contained the work of poets from over 60 nations. His work has also appeared in a number of Australian national poetry anthologies, and he is the author of three books and co-editor of many more (including Scintillae 2012, an anthology of work by over 50 Victorian and international writers and poets). He currently teaches writing and literature at Bendigo TAFE and Victoria University (Melbourne) and lives with fellow writer Sue King-Smith and their children on a 5 acre block near Bendigo, Australia.
 
Links related to his work are as follows:
 
http://authorsden.com/ianirvine
http://www.scribd.com/IanHobson
 
 
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A Poem is a Useless Thing. A Poem by Ian Irvine (Hobson)

 

A poem is a fragile thing
  like a life — so ephemeral, so moved
by the random laws of the cosmos
  the elements, gravity ...

A poem is a useless thing,
  like a wasted life — all 
its meaning in the living, the rending, the
  interpreting. Begins and ends
with the blinkers of the observer.

A poem is but a small fragment
  of a larger thing, obscured in the making
(like tonight’s mountain moon)
  by clouds and drizzle.

Writing a poem may seem pointless
  Who will read it? Who will understand it?
It disperses to the elements
  even in the writing
  even in the sounding

We do it regardless —
a gesture in search of a purpose.

 
 
Ian Irvine Photo

Ian Irvine is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer:
 
His work has featured in many Australian and international publications, including Fire (UK) ‘Anthology of 20th Century and Contemporary Poets,’ (2008) which contained the work of poets from over 60 nations. His work has also appeared in a number of Australian national poetry anthologies, and he is the author of three books and co-editor of many more (including Scintillae 2012, an anthology of work by over 50 Victorian and international writers and poets). He currently teaches writing and literature at Bendigo TAFE and Victoria University (Melbourne) and lives with fellow writer Sue King-Smith and their children on a 5 acre block near Bendigo, Australia.
 
Links related to his work are as follows:
 
http://authorsden.com/ianirvine
http://www.scribd.com/IanHobson
 
 
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Any Available Exit. Poem by Ian Irvine (Hobson)



I

In the quiet street an
       unacknowledged jettatore fixes upon
           a passing feline.

II

As the modern cars move
   parallel to grey pedestrians.
I take a strong dislike 
   to a malefic debauchee—he’s
   too shoulder-close at the newspaper stand.

III

Out and about after the airline trip
   I radiate ojas—apparently the women
of the city like treacle 
   (thankfully I do not smell 
    like the corpse of hatred).

IV

Though I have not met 
    the approaching academics, their
undulatory waves press me
    breathless against a concrete wall—
I almost drop the morning paper.

V

In the hotel lobby, whilst savouring 
    breakfast odours, a passing porter 
attempts to mesmerise me with potent od—
    I dodge the fluid emotion
make for the lift 
    and a workaday shower.

VI

Those aesthetic goldfish, multicoloured
    creatures of coral, frenzy up
as I pass—I experiment: my hands
    comfort or incite
at random, at toss of a dollar coin.

Seems 
    I am naturally beneficent—
    they will not need the fish-food
for six times seven days.

VII

Though diseased guests are
    locked in luxury suites
I am forced to brave the un-medicinal air
    of their corridor jaunts—right here:
the excrescent energy of a lover
    stifling to his beloved.
I’m exhausted as I reach the door
    of my own room.

VIII

Having showered I sleep
     to alleviate the tiredness, notice
     in the sprawling that
this hand 
     soothes the solar plexus
this other 
     draws living juice
from the liberated heart—the transfer 
           is intense
 a three hour dialysis.

IX

Over-looking
     dim-lit rectangles
solid with brick and concrete, 
     cold steel and mathematical, I feel 
a rush of love—this I direct,
     squeeze gently from the tea-bag
     (comes rich aroma)—then collapse
among conference paraphernalia, all
     strewn upon the double bed—
and know for the first time, with relief, 
    that your tumor will be benign
    (will heal itself).

X

It is the same day
     in a different city, and
the evening undresses, 
     opens the temporal gate
          wide enough ajar, that I
can place my foot in the door.

As I do, I clasp the relic
      you gave me—makes vivid
our charmed purpose.

You know that stone?
      I remember it
about your neck. 

As I imagine
     it positively glows
and I know 
     that you like me to think 
     about you, even
from a great distance.
 
 
Ian Irvine Photo


Ian Irvine is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer:
 
His work has featured in many Australian and international publications, including
Fire (UK) ‘Anthology of 20th Century and Contemporary Poets,’ (2008) which contained the work of poets from over 60 nations. His work has also appeared in a number of Australian national poetry anthologies, and he is the author of three books and co-editor of many more (including Scintillae 2012, an anthology of work by over 50 Victorian and international writers and poets). He currently teaches writing and literature at Bendigo TAFE and Victoria University (Melbourne) and lives with fellow writer Sue King-Smith and their children on a 5 acre block near Bendigo, Australia.


Links related to his work are as follows:

 
http://authorsden.com/ianirvine

http://www.scribd.com/IanHobson

 
 

robin@artvilla.com
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