Blog commenced Saturday 30 June 2012 in my head. Clearly a result of over-stimulation from Day 1 of my residency at The Bean Barn, Ballarat Victoria. A word of thanks to Australian Poetry‘s Cafe Poet Program for the residency – four months of dedicated poetry time. Bliss.
So in the first week of the residency, a punter asked me, ‘What kind of poet are you?’ Um. Good?
Is that the point I should’ve talked about the style in which I write? Because that’s where I come unstuck. I hear that I am classified as ’emerging’, but as to what kind of poet… Is that like what flavour? In that case I’d opt for sour over sweet. Maybe I should have questioned the question like all good academics. Turned the tables. Set the challenge.
But there’s the thing. I don’t know a great deal about poetry, despite claiming to be a poet. Aside from the names of some poetic forms, the rest is instinct and a fair amount of feel. That’s a part of why I decided to undertake this residency: to learn more. Certainly part of this is self-conscious paranoia that I haven’t done any formal study of writing. Not exactly life-threatening, but it nags at my middle-class values. ‘Do you know about the effect that so-and-so had on poetic form?’ Nope. ‘Who were Australia’s first leading poets?’ No idea. But I do recall falling in love with poetry as a kid. I forgot about it for a decade or two as life happened, as I suppose most would (it doesn’t pay the bills, after all).
So the plan is for this residency to teach me a thing or two. We’ll see about that.