The marvelous Mr. Andy White is in town tomorrow night to launch his second collection of poems, Stolen Moments at Riverbend Books alongside the launch of Brisbane New Voices III and readings from Tessa Leon & Brett Dionysius, so I took some time to ask Andy how he is feeling about the book and whether any personal favourites have emerged.
AW: Both of my poetry books are best read quickly. The ideas are instant and there aren’t any words you won’t understand. There are hidden layers, but you can get them next time around. What I take time on is finding the tone of voice for the whole collection, and the order the poems come in. If I get it right (and with the latest I had Graham and Julie’s invaluable help) you should be able to read the book backwards and it will make another kind of sense.
In fact I just read the whole of ‘Stolen Moments’ in about twenty minutes from back to front and got a whole different take on it. It felt like I was coming back to Australia, whereas for me it’s my ‘I have arrived’ book, starting off in ‘Suburbia’ with Sunday morning lawnmowers and frozen marmalade on burnt toast.
I can now write about red and yellow flags, eternally blue sky and shopping malls without fear of being branded a tourist, but even though I wrote these poems in Australia they aren’t all set here. The poems circumnavigate the globe at top speed with ‘In LA I Dream Of Books’, ‘Judy Collins’ Cats’, something I wrote for Peter Gabriel based on a Tom Waits song, and a couple in Ireland before returning back to ‘Real Life Rushing In’, caught between Beckett fans and footy supporters on the 5.09 from Flinders Street.
It’s the instant quality of these poems which attracts me. When each new studio album is such a roll of the dice, with so much at stake, and has to be mixed and recorded with the utmost care, usually over a long period of time, I am almost embarrassed at the speed with which a thought can be scribbled down and become a poem.
Because of this, for me the poems are about freedom. It’s as if a whole collection of those songs I described in a previous question which arrive almost instantly, go straight from my head to the pages of a book. As such, it’s difficult to pick out favourites. I think they work – in fact, sometimes I think they only work – as a whole.
If you asked me again to choose, I’d say my favourites aren’t the ones which I might read out first. They are the ones which contain the most private moments. The ones stolen from all the public time you have to put in. The time spent hanging around waiting for the gap in the clouds where the magic gets in.
Stolen Moments is now available to order from this site. Visit the Another Lost Shark Publications page for all the details.
And if you still haven’t got your ticket for the launch tomorrow night, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.