Weeks 5-7: 29 July-18 August

Poet on holiday. The words ‘poet’ and ‘holiday’ in the same sentence might be seen as a dubious proposition. A poet often doesn’t have two cents to rub together, let alone the capacity to save them up to any great effect. Harsh? I accept the likelihood that poetry will  never afford me holidays – that is what my ‘other’ job is for. I am a realist. (At least when not day-dreaming or writing poetry.)

the start of a communal poem. where will it go?

Anyhow. Before putting down the pen and swanning off to warmer climes, I set a new challenge to the coffee worshippers who frequent The Bean Barn: write a communal poem. I left a single line on the whiteboard in the cafe to start it off (without any idea of where it might go): ‘Your brittle edges…’ Then I invited the good folks of Ballarat to add one line each. That’s the only rule – one line. I thought it’d be interesting to see what came of those edges in three weeks’ time.

A quote for you, by Robert Graves:

“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either.”

Weekly doses of poetry

Despite the loud sniggering that poetry often elicits (is that an Australian thing, or do I just talk about it in the wrong company?), if I were the betting kind I would wager that most of us can recall some snippet of poetry. Whether that is reluctantly or willingly is irrelevant. We can. My theory is that poetry is left in many of us from childhood, wedged between memories of learning to ride a bike and exploring the neighbourhood. 

Apart from simply learning more about poetry in this residency, I want to unearth those rusted-over memories of poetry in the community; help myself and others reveal the funny, beautiful, heroic and absurd visions made real by poems long forgotten. Enter the weekly quizzes. 
Each week I am setting a challenge to the good folk who have the sense to visit the Bean Barn for their daily brew. To start with, the challenge is to piece together sections of poems that have been dismantled by scissors. To warm up, I have chosen the familiar; poems that I think lie close to the Australian psyche. A big call, you think - how can I know? It is a guess. If you think the reassembly challenge is easy, I dare you to try it. Do you really remember where all the words fall? Cheating is, of course, for the cheats.

This blog is where I will share the trials and victories; where I will name the victorious and the gallant, and where I will reveal who will go in the draw for a prize at the end of it all.