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Heroin Haikus

American writer William Wantling only hit my radar a few years ago. His poem Poetry was an absolute soul opener for me. Amazed how the violence of a dying man could be reported as a poem, a piece of art, without diminishing the sadness or respect for this loss of life. Told myself this is someone you need to get into. Wantling died of heart failure at 40 back in the 70’s and never really received the exposure and respect that the likes of his peers got back in the 60’s. He did have a real presence with more independent underground publishers and those in their cliques. It is still the case today with independent publishers Tangerine Press. They popped works by Wantling a few years back which are still available via their website.

heroinThis compact piece of poetic history, Heroin Haikus, was released in October. It sits on my desk and has been picked up many times, by many hands, starting the ‘never heard of him’ conversations. Not really traditional Haikus, they have an air of close enough, his poems are loose and direct, that is standout here. Ten succinct pauses, seventeen syllables, maybe a word game to relieve the boredom and diminish the pain of being trapped, coping with life inside. These haikus of broken rules say so much.

I love its emptiness and the original drawings by Ben Tibbs, the inked cockroach, a fish eye view of busting cops, holding a gun like a limp dick in his hand, Wantling’s mind detached. This realism is repeated in his larger pieces and there are collections that you will find on Tangerine Press’s website if you want to explore more. Heroin Haiku’s is printed on good quality cream stock in piercing black ink. It can take you a minute or an hour to read, depending on how much you want to see into it. It is a fine addition to my poetry shelf.

 

 

 

Poetry Reviews Tangerine Press
undertow

Undertow

Strong paper quality often catches my attention. Curse of the printer’s daughter. Sometimes this can undermine, take over the content inside. This is designed beautifully, a real eye capture. The little ‘hello’ story introducing Issue two of Undertow magazine, quashes my fear. A strong do-it-yourself mentality has been cemented into the rib cage of Undertow’s editorial team. Most people would go to hospital to complete the second stage of a serious bone break, but hey, go figure. The back shed, your dad and a rusty saw is just as good. Subdued colours, photographs accompanying a handful of articles covering music, art and the everyday flicks in my hand all glossy and stiff.

undertowFirst, highlight is local Tassie artist Calypso Brown, her Soundcloud releases in my ears. Strong and elegant voice taking electronic steps, discovering her possibilities, and what direction she wants to take next. Her track Hunting from Calypso released in June, mellows the air with sweet beats and played for pleasure. Field Of Violets has a capella harmonies rounding throughout her exquisite range. The journalism isn’t heavy, they just let the artist take the wheel which can be dangerous if the interviewee is caught on a day when they haven’t got much to say. The key is to get them to chat, away from their speciality, what one wouldn’t expect them to talk about. Rather hear about the aphids on their morning roses, the salt on afternoon margharitas than how they write their music. There is more to Calypso Brown than the struggle, the boredom, where you traveled, the growth one experiences as a musician. I look forward to discovering more and meatier chats.

A conversation with Theia and Grace might sparkle. The mere mention of Facebook has me squirming, but the kids dig it, so the start of that chat is forgiven. Like a cold engine, the timing is all wrong, off kilter. Soon the pistons fire. Visual Bulk is a new art space in Hobart. It’s all about how people ‘navigate spaces’ and the challenge of determining “what’s the work and what’s the space”. Once the pics show themselves I get it. Overall, this sounds like a cool gallery.

Really loved Buying a Banger? Trisso know’s his stuff and give’s great advice and lip on just about any car you can think of. This issue’s banter is ‘Do Bargains Really Exist When Purchasing Cheap (Shitty) Cars? Well some are “rare as unicorn poo”and the goss is all the hipsters are getting to the bargains first! Surely down in Tas you have a better chance than on the mainland. S’pose rust would be an issue, must ask Trisso next time.

There’s a bit of collaborative art by Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh. Their #dearministerforwoman photography packing some visual punch. It’s amazing what meaning a watermelon and makeshift wooden leg shackles can summon. Hobart Hackerspace is a community run place for ‘geek rebels’ with plenty of machinery to pull apart and share in new designs. They get loads of equipment donated to by decommissioned radio and tv stations as well. A place of big ideas and contributions to scientific research. Looks like serious secret business to me.

I love Undertow’s mission. “The rise of individualism sees more and more people trying new things to improve their life, plug a hole or gain independence. This issue, we wanted to talk about all that stuff”. This may be an old issue, even a gem of a house up for rent has probably had it’s second tenancy, but as a time capsule of winter arts in one of the most wonderful states of Australia, you can see how brilliance develops in isolation. So that’s issue 2, how does one get hold of more?

#photography Art Book Review Reviews Zines & Journals
victor-2

Enter The Soft World

Over the years you meet some amazing people through twitter. One long standing mate of mine is Vic Perrotti @spawnofspider. We both have a passion for experimenting with many different creative outlets. We connected first through poetry. His blog Poetic Ambiguity quickly became a regular read, and you’ll find much of his writing here and his ebook Spider Dreams: And Other Poems 2011-2013 via smashwords. It wasn’t long after, that we began sharing our thoughts on painting, ceramics, folk art, home brew, linocut and photography. His inspiration is endless.

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Image by Vic Perrotti

When I heard that one of Vic’s photographs had been selected to appear in a new book I was thrilled. A kickstarter project that is well worth support particularly if you are inquisitive of the artform of Pinhole photography.

What was it about pinhole photography that grabbed your attention?

“Looking through a pinhole has freed me from the complexities of technology.  My photographs have become subjective.  Through the pinhole, an element of uncertainty has been reintroduced into the photographic process. To me, this is a welcomed addition because along with uncertainty comes the element of surprise. Surprise is what I have been missing in this modern age of pixel-chasing. The Luddite in me takes great joy in discovering delightful, unexpected results”

I remember the first pinhole pic I ever took. A row of date palms on President avenue. A contrast of ghosts, a streetscape I would never have seen with my own eyes or a standard camera. Exposing it to the light, standing still with this huge box in my hands, like I was about to release a bird. It was one of my favorite photos I ever took, lost in a mire of moves, the picture itself is burnt into my eyes as it was on paper. It is a fascinating process.

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image by Vic Perrotti

“I can see an infinite depth of field through the pinhole. No longer am I concerned about adjusting the f-number. The entire landscape is revealed. Looking through the pinhole, I can see into the expanse. Like looking through a wormhole, the pinhole is a tunnel.  The darker, less exposed edges of the vignette hold mystery while simultaneously the center is illuminated. For me, looking through the pinhole is like looking back in time.

Through the pinhole, the hard lines soften.  I can see the unusual beauty of a velvet world. My mood softens, just like the images I’m capturing. Looking through the pinhole brings on a sense of nostalgia. Life slows down. Time slows down. Pinhole photography enables me to capture the mood of human existence. When viewing my photographs, I can only hope that viewers take with them a small portion of my sentiment”

Vic is one of ninety-nine pinhole photographers included in the f/D Book of Pinhole. f/D is a website dedicated to promoting the art of pinhole photography. It was founded in February, 2015 by Kier & Libby Selinsky. The book project is on Kickstarter until January 1, 2017 and is currently over fifty percent funded. If you are interested in how pinhole works there are plenty of links online, if you want to see the magic results from photographers who have been doing it for years, take a look and consider supporting the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#photography Vic Perrotti
gle-pony

The Glue Ponys by Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson strikes me as an observer, someone you can sit with in a room and hardly know he’s there. There is a comfort that some individuals just have. A story sponge that find themselves right in the thick of life. Excess, this and that, booze blood and needles but still have the faculties to recall and the imagination to retell the stories on their road. Looks like Chris’ path was a hard one at times, but I also get a feeling it is one that he would never change. How could you when you have a collection of tales like this under your belt. The Glue Ponys travels various timezones and hangs out with the wasted, troubled lifers, loners and drug dealers that join him in the bliss of being somewhere else but here. Amalgams and just plain scary real, these dangerous journeys can take their toll. Early death is a usual outcome, but to give it all away for a more serene existence is freaking hard. One where you ain’t stealing or becoming a living, breathing mind waster. Where personal drama is the only thing you have to make you feel alive cause you are so dead inside. For Chris Wilson, long prison stints broke the habit. Inside he found philosophy and a myriad of stories. It’s the combination of this that makes this collection of short stories so tantalising. gle-ponyA real understanding of the characters motivations. The Glue Ponys sums up addiction, the seedy side. There is a desperation and defiance with many of his characters, a kind of I’ve had enough, save me scenario. Not in a finding god way, just peace away from the inner torture. A different direction is a brave move. Chris found better ways to waste his time that has benefits for us all. The sheer beauty and raw style that is his voice inside these pages. Chris has an extraordinary talent to be the voice of those he writes about. Part ‘it was told to me and this is what they saw’ and part ‘I was there and this is what I saw’. Characters like The Lieutenant who makes himself a god in his own lil kingdom of depravity and abuse, a Kurtz-like druglord on a bed of his own apocalypse. The Pugilist, when a spades partner doesn’t want to play the life game anymore, the carrion swarm in quick. Trying to disassociate yourself from your actions, where a timespan of events leads to freaky scenes and tragic outcomes is a constant in these short stories. Searching for “holes in the links”, thinking about his own great escape. The prose moves easy, stark and in it’s own way very poetic. Sex and age is no barrier to pain, these are stories of the lost and desperate. This book, like his art, are figures that transform into a blurry mash of ghosts that intrigue in their solitude, disturbed auras and beauty. This artist has captured me this month. I look forward to exploring more. You can purchase The Glue Ponys here and can contact Chris via Tangerine Press’ website or via twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized
Copy of NL - EM - COVER

Exclamation Marx!

On a cold Sunday, cocooned in my morning blanket, poet Neil Laurenson sent me a message. “Would I like to have a look at his poetry?”. I wasn’t going anywhere, so trapped in fact, I could hardly move. So I said “yep, no worries, I’ll take a look”. A few minutes later a big block of red and that iconic face flashed into view. The words Exclamation Marx! stamped hard. Dad joke or manifesto? I would soon find out. The whole thing seemed a little dated. Brexit was storming and I wasn’t really sure of what was coming my way. ‘Wait a minute?’ I thought, pausing for what seemed like an eternity. The traffic stilled, the birds ceased. It was so quiet, you could hear a pun drop. Yep, cool! I wriggle in my pillow and read on. I am a big fan of the pun, that painful past time that can turn a roomful of people into a cringing mass of spasmoids. Seems Neil can’t help himself. It is only a person of high standards, left leanings and straight out talent that can get away with it page after page. Somehow he pulls it off. Though Neil doesn’t seem to get it right with politics, with the missus, or his god for that matter, at least he can turn it his way with a few punchlines. Sometimes, just when you think he has a brilliant thought, where no turn of phrase can be tampered with, Neil just can’t help himself. Like a game of jinx, he said it last, so I am stuck here until the end. In under an hour I was lost in it, just enjoying it for no other reason than the sheer spontaneous stupidity of life. I was trapped in a room with the Trotskyites and hey nothing wrong with that. Some pieces felt throw away, best heard delivered rapid fire on an open mic, but some really had me smiling. So yes, there is a lot of comedy in this poetry, like rally’s down my local town hall in the 80’s. we are advised at the start ‘TO BE READ ALOUD’. I like that, but my inner voice can turn it on and assume the persona required. It starts with a cute play on words in an education system that is far removed from the ideologies of the left. It’s pomposity and thought process very droll. It does have a poeticism to some punchlines, I would love to have more moments, like Death In Basingstoke, “the cat watched the halo of flies above the mouse he had killed three days ago” There is of course more recent findings and I don’t mind a little blue, the jab in the ribs. My favourite being The Ringmaster’s Confession “for three and a half years I have wanted to swing from her chandeliers” ooh er missus, smirks aplenty. Lots of stabs at past and current pollies, the uncovering of Thatcher’s papers and her aversion to dildos, well hung parliaments and the rest. I like it when Neil shows his absurd side. Like in Spoke Too Soon and what happens when you swallow acorns and the tender wind in the willowesque play of Mole. Exclamation Marx! is not something that I would dip in and out of regularly, but Neil Laurenson, the poet from Worcester, definitely made the sun stream a little brighter through my blinds that day. You can connect with Neil via twitter, you can support Neil by purchasing via Silhouette Press

Copy of NL - EM - COVER

Poetry Reviews

Hand Job 10

There is a lot of spirit in this issue. I’m sensitive to these things and this seriously vibrates with the stuff. Poetry, photography, short stories and performance, all here. I slowly peel back the clear plastic sleeve to see who’s inside. Hand Job Issue 10 gave a call out for all things a little…um, strange. An ‘Occultist Realism’ theme. You know, something Alistair Crowley could peruse while dunking biscuits in his tea. Jim Gibson and Sophie Pitchford searched far and wide on this one. No stone circle was left unturned. The tin foil hat brigade reject slips were sent out quick, leaving them with a stellar bunch of writers to accommodate the page. CmmNHI7UEAAmKfbSo, we start with Granton Leviathon. I grab my blanket and get stuck in. Like Renwick’s grandchildren, I stare up into the old man’s face and let the tale unfold. ‘Tell us of the Granton People eater’ we whisper. We are all ready for a candle-under-the-chin story, but my ears are settled on what is going on next door. Magdelena is frustrated. Promises of a new home, a new life back in her homeland once they save enough money is not coming quick enough. So she kicks her no good husband out into the cold night. A lighthouse and a six pack is his destination. Will he meet the monster himself? Of course! No one writes domestic squalor with comic accents quite like Joseph Ridgwell can. Funny, edge of your seat and nasty, his Granton Leviathon is a great start. Another component of this surprise package of a zine is the bonus poetry performance CD of artists who have been in this and past issues. Joseph turns on the mic and bursts out first with his do-it-yourself, no airs, no graces, just himself and some chintzy back up tapes. It has all the clunks and amateur fades of a bitter bingo caller. I dig it muchly. 8mm is all tequila and mucho macho, and reminds me of his brilliant novel Burrito Deluxe. He spins a few on this bonus CD, Arose From The Dead, The Kiss and Satan’s Garlanded Pimp, all with cheek, irreverence and fun. I’m excited because I have Raif Mansell in my ears at the same time reading him. I remember other poems of his when I was catching up on the evolution of Hand Job. Bang On is a lesson in synonyms and love ‘the moon was hanging with the sun in the sky‘ a touching poem of a father and daughter, and the influence from all that surrounds them. His soft delivery exactly what the title suggests. A Waiter In Kingston Upon Thames just as thoughtful and hopeful. The Holy Hydron Collider is next forming a weird synchro as I can hear the popcorn festival of Angels & Demons on the background telly as I type. So its links to the Hadron Collider and the god particle is pretty fresh in my mind. Ben Williams confirms that these scientists’ gods are in for a bollocking, theories fly by like short stories, their own gods dangling from their keyrings. Time for some photography and Hand Job‘s own Sophie Pitchford nymphs it in the buds and brambles of nibbled mushrooms and shows us some nature shots. We ask the forest for answers, we see them in the trees and soil. Onto The Shine Of John Donne where ‘everything glistened like the inside of a drunk God’s puppet-theatre’ I’m an avid follower of Miggy Angel‘s work. His poetry, photography and collaborative ventures are exceptional. This metaphysical story on the stairs glows like a dustbin fire and tears into you. No truer tale could teach as much. Besides hosting a premiere performance poetry night called Speech Therapy every month, Miggy is also editor of the wonderful ‘not for profit/for prophecyBurning House Press community. It is a must to explore this supportive and encouraging project. Azeem Ali’s symbols and simulcrae have me staring for a while and ready to tackle Dead Witches and that old chestnut fear of being different. Cody Yeo brings the rituals of both parties through a tight dialogue and brings to the fore the truer evil. Ian Cusack’s The Wicker Man is as mad as putting a toad in your mouth. I love its cantakerous rant. Terence Corless never stops impressing me. So pleased to read his short story Gladys. An intriguing, mystical, sad and joyous mind bomb of a story. Bonus thrill is his aural contribution Taking It In produced by Penny Ashdown with Music by Matthies -LS. Thoughts swallowed when the sensurround kicks in. There is a cool abstraction by illustrator and collager Blair Frame, his contribution If Death Can Fly, So Can I swirls with everyone’s own meaning. Dean Lilleyman reads like a hallucination with Moon Burns The Sun. A ritualistic trance into another realm, shifting shapes raw and instinctual, in and out of his own night sweats. The poem Changeling by Michael Murray skips inside its folkloric beat ‘with crumbs for dreams and a blob of butter where my heart was’, loneliness is a strange creature. Thrilled to see a piece from Dean Cavanagh. This poem I’ve read dozens of times. Like a casino floor of Dante’s that’s been closed for renovations. The dice man’s reflection twists in a modern fury of randomness and manipulation leaving me with a beautiful fear, a calm inside an uncontrollable future. Yvette Robinson and Jennifer Skip’s photography looks like a switched on absurdist revival. Closer investigation reveals a deeper meaning on gender, body image and the media. Their photography from promotion during The Festival Of The Body held in Leeds in March stops me in my tracks. More words and Michael Murray is resurrected inside the vivid world we enter in dreams and vice versa. Onto the world of a cashless society. Paul Case’s story of Mr Fitzjohn’s frustrating transformation in The New Bank shows the futile circle we get ourselves into. The pages now thinning I see Jason Jackson’s name. His childhood once again reminisced. A haunting of Worms so perfectly recalled, where dream becomes real becomes dream, just perfect. The words keep flowing as I pop my headphones back on and get all snug inside Holly Watson’s (The Conventry Conch) The Carboot story. This has me in stitches. Later, she has Nanny Pams Jeans on. Holly sounds exactly how I read her in my mind. The sweet, straight delivery of her own prose has perfect comic timing. She just has to share more of these aurally. Holly is getting quite a fan base with everyone I share her work with. Listening to her read is just a joy. Hollow Hyms – Captain Of the Rant Vs Hair Explosion blasts nice bass beats between a spleen let loose, waxing on the homogenisation of our world, his passion wilted with frustration. The orchestration around the strong lament is enough to take this to the level of an extraordinary recording. CmmNDXPUIAAtSWpIan Cusack pops in between lunch and records this exclusive Universe Of Life. Having read Ian over the years, it is a delight to hear the strength and nuances on the lines he has cooked up. He is a great story teller, his no thrills intros like calling the next patient inside his surgery. Poisoned is grim, but what a story, I adore this CD so much, hands free, all ears. Dean Lilleyman’s I Get Into Town Early, is a piece from his novel Billy & The Devil. I have heard him recite many pieces before, usually uncomfortable squirmers, absolutely fantastic. His latest The Gospel According To Johnny Bender has been launched and ready to check out. Meetings And Tales by Yessica Klein and read by Anya Oderyakova flies over your mind. Words rest where they are needed. Line by line, the delivery is mesmeric. Lay on the grass, let the light in. This is a beautiful collaboration. When I first heard the collaboration of We Bleed Ink I was gobsmacked.  The poetry of Miggy Angel (Words/Voice)  combined with the brilliant sound sculptures of John Freer (Instruments/Production) are mesmerising. Freer’s audio poise is sublime and if they don’t release all the pieces they have in their back catalogue soon this emptiness inside me will remain forever. Their audio piece, The Saint, strolls the pavement until it has the guts to spit the truth. Finally something slips onto the ground. A folded A4, Jim Gibson residing on each side. These two pieces highlight his own skill with prose. You become the observer inside the melancholic haze of childhood, black and white moments. A great way to end this fantastic package of lit and performance that Hand Job has produced. Limited edition so get your hands on one quick.  Also out RPM – A Micro Zine and Children Of Snakehill, all available here.

 

 

 

Dean Cavanagh Dean Lilleyman Hand Job Joseph Ridgwell Miggy Angel Poetry Reviews Uncategorized Zines & Journals