Tag Archives: Phillip Ellis

Between Thistles: Variation #1 by Chris Lynch

When Between Thistles came to an end, I invited each of the participating poets to revisit the poems on offer (all 100+ suggested links) with a view to curating their own version. My aim was for this to show the depth of writing on offer and to explore the many roads this poem left unexplored. Chris Lynch has risen to the challenge, so here is his variation on the New Junicho, Between Thistles.

*****

Between Thistles: A New Junicho
Started: 12 April 2013 – Finished: 30 April 2013
Written between: Ashley Capes, Andrew Phillips, Chloë Callistemon, Phillip Ellis, Cindy Keong, Rachael Briggs, Chris Lynch, Dhyan, Trish Reid, and Andy Smerdon

Link #1 (3 lines) – hokku / shasei

between thistles
the crane’s
Egyptian walk

(Ashley Capes)

*

Link #2 (2 lines) – waki / cultural (literature)

she hushes the bundle
in a river basket

(Andrew Phillips)

*

Link #3 (3 lines) – daisan / cultural (film)

fan rotors beat
The End
to the smell of napalm

(Chloë Callistemon)

*

Link #4 (2 lines) – verse / shasei

summer showers
fan the Gold Coast

(Phillip Ellis)

*

Link #5 (3 lines) – verse / shasei

possums on the roof
a sudden clap
of thunder

(Cindy Keong)

*

Link #6 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (art)

bad Saturn! put it down!
Goya should paint a bell on him

(Rachael Briggs)

*

Link #7 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (religion)

meditating
the old jizo ignores
his red beanie

(Chris Lynch)

*

Link #8 (2 lines) – verse / gendai

damn!
nothing happens.

(Dhyan)

*

Link #9 (3 lines) – verse / gendai

she misses his cheek
mouth wanders
off

(Trish Reid)

*

Link #10 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (politics)

a new man rises
such rough beast

(Phillip Ellis)

*

Link #11 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (music)

to have been
two hands clapping
with Freddie

(Chloë Callistemon)

*

Link #12 (2 lines) – ageku / shasei

beneath bare feet
mud squelches

(Andy Smerdon)

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New Junicho: Between Thistles (Links #11 – #12)

With eighteen poems shared, Between Thistles is almost at an end… one selection remains, and again, I have been deliberating between a handful of the poems, reading each as the ageku to see how the image not only breaks new ground but allows us to briefly circle back to Ashley’s hokku, the evocative title poem, ‘between thistles’.

But before I go into detail about the 5 poems that have been sharing the place of the ageku, I want to thank everyone who has read and participated in our New Junicho. It has been one of the most exciting writing projects that I have taken part in. The energy and creativity that you have brought to the composition of this poem has been (in the most positive way) overwhelming. It has been a highlight of my day to check in with your responses and to watch this poem take shape. I will miss it, but there is still room for exploration… To everyone who participated, check your inboxes as I will be emailing you with an invitation to curate your own version of Between Thistles from the links submitted. I think it will be exciting to go back through each of the call outs and see where you may have taken the poem and to consider the many paths a poem like this can take.

Now, to the four poems that I have been considering for the ageku. The poems are, Lee-Anne’s ‘in the fading light’, Trish’s ‘songs-many-tongued’, Chloe’s ‘wind slips a tune’, Chris’s ‘in rifle sight’, and Andy’s ‘beneath bare feet’. Each of these poems leap daringly from John’s ‘Battle of Brighton’ and link us back to”between thistles’ and in doing so shift the feeling of the hokku; allowing us to read the poem with new insight.

Lee-Anne’s ‘in fading light’ gives closure to the battle we have left behind and in reading on, welcomes us to take a deeper look between the thistles where the Egyptian crane steps; the closing line ‘we study all that is’ singing with a deep sense of wabi.

Trish’s ‘songs-many-tongued’ offers such warmth; the idea that a diversity of voices singing in harmony can mend the sun enchanted me on first reading.

Chloe’s ‘wind slips a tune’ has a wonderful sense of lightness; the song beneath her feet adding music to each step of the crane.

Chris’s ‘in rifle sight’ refocuses the menace of the battle and leaves us eye to eye with an enemy. In reading on, the force of the word ‘enemy’ shifts the tone of the hokku, giving the crane a darker edge and bringing into focus another being between the thistles, hunted by the crane.

Andy’s ‘beneath bare feet’ gives the senses a real slap, as it is not only the feel of the mud that hits us here, it is the smell, the sound and the visual of the feet disappearing. This, like Chloe’s poem, connects us to the crane as it steps between thistles.

Each of these poems make a wonderful addition to the Junicho, but it is time to make a choice… to close, I have selected the poem that creates the greatest shift in the tone of the hokku; ‘in rifle sight’ by Chris Lynch.

But as I said before… let’s not view this as an ending. I look forward to posting multiple versions of this New Junicho over the coming days.

I would love for you to share this poem widely, as it is the keeper of many riches.

*****

Between Thistles: A New Junicho
Started: 12 April 2013 – Finished: 30 April 2013
Written between:
Ashley Capes, Simon Kindt, Chloe Callistemon, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Lee-Anne Davie, Andrew Phillips, Cindy Keong, Phillip Ellis,

Link #1 (3 lines) – hokku / shasei

between thistles
the crane’s
Egyptian walk

(Ashley Capes)

Link #2 (2 lines) – waki / cultural (literature)

the noose of a circling skein
called down by Carver’s barreled goose

(Simon Kindt)

Link #3 (3 lines) – daisan / cultural (film)

fan rotors beat
The End
to the smell of napalm

(Chloe Callistemon)

Link #4 (2 lines) – verse / shasei

recycling at 2:30am
moonlight on bitumen

(Chris Lynch)

Link #5 (3 lines) – verse / shasei

moth seeks out
only dark spaces
tired I turn off the light

(Trish Reid)

Link #6 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (art)

Caravaggio fades in from black
is that a pallet knife?

(John Wainwright)

Link #7 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (religion)

he makes the sign
with crossed fingers
crucifix

(Lee-Anne Davie)

Link #8 (2 lines) – verse / gendai

global autumn
H5N1 migrates

(Andrew Phillips)

Link #9 (3 lines) – verse / gendai

waking up
with winter
beside me

(Cindy Keong)

Link #10 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (politics)

a new man rises
such rough beast

(Phillip Ellis)

Link #11 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (music)

the Mods won the
Battle of Brighton Beach
The Who?

(John Wainwright)

Link #12 (2 lines) – ageku / shasei

in rifle sight
my enemy’s eyes

(Chris Lynch)

* shasei – sketched from life – lived experience, observational, uncontrived.
* gendai – modernist – atypical structure, tone or content.

*****

Responses to Link #11:

The call for music went out and four poets came to play! The offerings from Chris, John, Andy and Chloe continue the energy of previous links and approach the concept of music from some wildly different viewpoints.

Chris looks out from the moshpit as the collision of bodies sends sparks flying skyward; John’s three poems move from the apocalyptic movement of ‘valkyrie ride’ (with a surge of Wagner) to the battle of Brighton Beach and the balls-out soundtrack of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon; Andy takes us to the crossroads where the finger-picked blues of Robert Johnson ‘herald the beast’; and Chloe takes us on a discordant musical odyssey where we clap along with Freddie Mercury, break with the beautiful force of Elgar and wake to Beethoven’s cannon.

Such a diverse musical trip! One that has enriched my Sunday afternoon and taken our Junicho on one last turn before we reach our destination. So where did I leap to? I couldn’t resist the Battle of Brighton Beach, as it’s quite possibly the most playful take on a battle I have ever encountered. This selection welcomes John back into the poem and opens the call for the ageku, link #12.

For the ageku, we are looking for 2 lines of natural imagery / lived experience that continues the movement of the poem and in some way connects us back with the opening image. I plan to leave this link open for submission until 6pm Tuesday April 30 to give everyone ample time to pen their final offerings.

This poem has provided such a wonderful sense of community, so I hope that you all come out to play one last time.

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New Junicho: Between Thistles (Links #9 – #10)

Responses to Link #10:

It was a thrill to see the energy of the gendai phase continue; the verse on offer for link #10 vary from the wonderfully  satirical, ‘Mad Katter’s tea party’ (John) and ‘budgie’s snuggle’ (Trish), through the razor sharp political commentary of ‘a new man rises’ (Phillip), the deep resonance of ‘soldier biscuits for sale’ (Chris) and the natural beauty of ‘election promises’ (Vuong).

After reading each poem multiple times, I became overwhelmed at the state of politics in our nation. Such is the power of so many of the links submitted; and in this power lies possibility. The Junicho would be richer for the addition of many of these poems, but there must be one that owns the 10th position and propels us towards an ending…

There are two poems that I have juggled for a number of hours now; placing each one into the Junicho, reading and re-reading the complete poem and then considering where it could lead us… the two poems are Chris’s ‘soldier biscuits for sale’  and Phillip’s ‘a new man rises’. In making my choice, I have decided to go with the directness of Phillip’s link and the energy it generates in leaping forward from Cindy’s ‘waking up’. The use of the word rises is the engine that propels this poem and while I might be showing my political leanings with this selection, this startling image confirmed my fear of the long winter we may wake to post the upcoming federal election…

I will, however, make one edit to the poem, and that is the removal of the brackets around the second line. It is my belief that the poem works more powerfully without them.

So with link #10 decided, link #11 is now open. Link #11 completes the six cultural links by calling for 3 lines with a music reference. After witnessing the uninhibited energy of Black Sabbath last night, I am eager to hear how each of you will make your words sing.

Take the leap and spread the word…

*****

Between Thistles: A New Junicho
Started: 12 April 2013 – Finished:
Written between:
Ashley Capes, Simon Kindt, Chloe Callistemon, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Lee-Anne Davie, Andrew Phillips, Cindy Keong, Phillip Ellis,

Link #1 (3 lines) – hokku / shasei

between thistles
the crane’s
Egyptian walk

(Ashley Capes)

Link #2 (2 lines) – waki / cultural (literature)

the noose of a circling skein
called down by Carver’s barreled goose

(Simon Kindt)

Link #3 (3 lines) – daisan / cultural (film)

fan rotors beat
The End
to the smell of napalm

(Chloe Callistemon)

Link #4 (2 lines) – verse / shasei

recycling at 2:30am
moonlight on bitumen

(Chris Lynch)

Link #5 (3 lines) – verse / shasei

moth seeks out
only dark spaces
tired I turn off the light

(Trish Reid)

Link #6 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (art)

Caravaggio fades in from black
is that a pallet knife?

(John Wainwright)

Link #7 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (religion)

he makes the sign
with crossed fingers
crucifix

(Lee-Anne Davie)

Link #8 (2 lines) – verse / gendai

global autumn
H5N1 migrates

(Andrew Phillips)

Link #9 (3 lines) – verse / gendai

waking up
with winter
beside me

(Cindy Keong)

Link #10 (2 lines) – verse / cultural (politics)

a new man rises
such rough beast

(Phillip Ellis)

Link #11 (3 lines) – verse / cultural (music)
Link #12 (2 lines) – ageku / shasei

* shasei – sketched from life – lived experience, observational, uncontrived.
* gendai – modernist – atypical structure, tone or content.

*****

Response to Link #9:

I am just home after two massive nights of poetry (one launching Brisbane New Voices IV, which I will share details of very soon), and am eager to keep the Junicho moving. That said, my eyes are finding it hard to focus, so tonight, I am going to keep it brief…

Again, I have been swept away by the playful energy of the poems on offer for link #9. I have been checking in regularly and this gendai section has given me a genuine rush.

Many of these poems have seeded themselves in my brain, keeping me company and filling my head with their wildness. Several, will remain there for a long time… such is their resonance.

These poems include, Trish’s ‘she misses his cheek’, Cindy’s ‘waking up’, Chris’s ‘fever sweats’ and John’s uproarious, ‘number nine’.

So which one has made the leap into Between Thistles… for link #9 I have decided to wake up with winter and in doing so, welcome Cindy into the Junicho.

This means, we are now calling for link #10 – 2 lines with a political theme. I’ve got a feeling this one is going to keep the freewheeling energy of the last two links!

Leap boldly,

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Pushing the boundary of form: A Guest Post by Phillip A. Ellis

A New Poetic Form? Or an Old One Transformed?
by Phillip A. Ellis

One of the joys of being a poet is the chance I have been given to develop and change forms, to work in the older traditions and create something new. In this way, many of our established poetic forms have been created and made possible.

One of the possibilities I find with poetry is its intersection with prose. The concept of the haibun is one that fascinates me, and I was thinking recently of a fixed, haibun-like form that incorporated a short, Western poetic form. So the following occurred to me, a possibility that combines Eastern and Western influences in a way that is unique to modern life.

The steps to take are relatively simple; they are:

1) write a ballade in free verse, with alternation of masculine and feminine endings rather than rhymes, and retaining the exact repetition of the final line (the address at the start of the envoi is optional)–the endings of the octets should be (m = masculine ending; f = feminine) mfmffmfm or fmfmmfmf, and the envoi fmfm or mfmf accordingly; and

2) the three octets should be then translated into prose, with the envoi retained as poetry.

The following is an example written to illustrate the form:

On New Year’s Eve

This is the time I find myself at thought upon the year preceding, on the friendships, events and accidents of fortune met and dealt with. On such evenings thoughts are forwards, upon the year to come, but mine, mine travel backwards in time, remembering the past with silent reveries on friends important, and so my heart acknowledges its debts.

Within my life, I’ve met so many, known so many, felt the force of friendship, knowing the time I had may last a day, a month, a season, year, may last for many, decades, or fall and fade so swiftly, too swiftly, dying a mayfly death; and so it goes. But time is fleeting, and I miss my friends with sorrow, and so my heart acknowledges its debts.

When the year dies, and when the new year rears and promises a newer start, I linger and raise a glass to those I’d known, and lost to time, to old acquaintaces, and, drinking before the risen rockets break in brilliance I think a final thought, a blessing borne upon the winds of time, a benediction, and so my heart acknowledges its debts.

David and Stephen, you may never read this,
and you may never know the poems I make,
but I would never dream these thoughts without you,
and so my heart acknowledges its debts.

**********

And so, that’s it. I haven’t got a name for it yet, but am willing to listen to suggestions; what name would you give it?

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SpeedPoets fires up this Sunday

First Sunday of the month means SpeedPoets. Over the past 10 years its become one of this life’s special rituals; a well-lit beacon to light the way through the particularly long weeks (you know the ones) and keep the creative spark smouldering.

This Sunday marks the second gig at Brew. The first one was a standout and with features from Phillip Ellis and Mardi Lumsden on offer this month, I am certain Sunday will be a gig to remember. Of course it is you who gives the gig it’s real kick… you, the one who gets up in the open mic and delivers a moment of stillness or madness or revelation. So if you are in town or anywhere in the vicinity, pack a poem in your pocket and come along… we’ll be listening.

SpeedPoets runs from 2pm – 5pm at Brew, Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City. Here’s the link to a map of where to find it. Entry is a gold coin donation.

And as always, the monthly zine will be available, free-of-charge to the first 40 people through the door. Here’s a couple of poems from the issue:

the pigeons are so fat
 
here in the city and spring is colder,
swooping in and out
of giant, glass corridors
and terrorising vendors
who steam on the footpath,
scarves nearly covering their words.
 
I shuffle into a bookstore
and out again,
clutching a brown paper bag
and crossing to the station,
glancing back at the crowd
to watch as they swell
and shatter on the steps
 
I stop long enough to watch them mutate
into a montage of faces
made lonely by the flat light
and the murmur of distant wheels,
doggedly moving on and into
the steel cocoons that
drive them home.
 
© Ashley Capes

********************

2 x 3 = 7
after Graham Nunn
A rain gauge
reads aloud foreclosure
notice again
and backwards

filling boredom

Recycling trucks
into garden bed
the sleepers’ creosote
a speed limit

onions sleep at

In weeds
resuscitated lawnmowers
massage a bus stop
tense children

cut introductions from

Slavic accents
pass my geometry
exams I broke
down in, once

like a car

Cocktail glass
organises bubbles
in court houses
unions order law

and fizz out
Tasting its ego
maths hold
the Eiffel Tower
less than vertigo
in genealogy

© Kent MacCarter

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