Tag Archives: Scott-Patrick Mitchell

The Trickster’s Mask: an interview with Scott-Patrick Mitchell (part ii)

Part i of my interview with SPM, left us talking about images of letters being posted around hoon-ridden Newcastle… so where to from here? Read on tricksters, read on!

I would love to see a photo or two! And I love the idea of gaps; the holes and silences in this world are so often overlooked. What role do these gaps play in your creative process? What is at the heart of invention for SPM?

the heart of invention is a brooding mass of potential. but in order to access that mass, and bridge the gaps, i find my creative process – and sometimes my life at large – is defined by rule-sets.

now, these are by no means definitive rule-sets, such as if A occurs then B is most likely to be followed by C, but only if the outcome is D. rather, they are a lot faster and loose, the most essential rule that i abide by at all times, and have done since i started writing poetry, being the simplest golden rule of all: be the experiment.

there is no point wondering what will happen if 1ne were to do something. wondering is akin to wandering, yes, but if you wander too far will you remember where you started from, accurately? therefore, 1ne should commit to making a thing happen if there is a wonderment about it, and the only that can occur is by giving yourself over – entirely – to the creative process. this rule has seen me spend my entire undergrad course reading no poetry written prior to the 20th century, to see what effect the cannon would have if it were relieved of its need to influence – to see if what its absence would yield and how my poetry would differ as a result. this rule is also responsible for me listening only to music exclusively from northern europe for the last half of 2006ix, plus spending a year inside a living art project called The Chaochamber, at which point i lived with a chaos magician while he attempted to make the southern hemisphere’s largest attractor of chaos. needless to say, when the imaginary pet black cat we pretended to have actually became a real black cat, which was followed by a string of black cats coming into our thereafter, you begin to see the wonder and excitement of giving yourself over to the experiment, irrespective of how crazy that experiment may appear from the outside. life is far too dull otherwise not to live it with a sense of giddy abandon, don’t you think? and i gladly give art and poetry and fashion and film as much room as it needs in my world in the hope that i can be transported, often. and i am (plus i always find my way home).

but this rule, this be the experiment, is also responsible for all 3hree of my major collections to date, plus many others still being finely tuned. other rules, similar to this rule, are more instinctive than anything and include such rules as when in doubt, give (which is actually a lyric from a bjork song) or strive to be unique, never modern (because modern is common in this modern age) or you’ll know when it is wrong and my current favourite, the success of a day is measured in poetry.

the punctuated enjambment is also a result of this rule. as are all the other elements i construct inside my poems. my poetry, as a result, has developed an acoustical ecology of its own. by being, by making myself consciously present, consciously part of the poetry and the experiments it yields, i find the dark mass of potential defines its self more and more. the gaps between it and the pages on which it appears are spanned with more rules as they make themselves apparent. and it’s interesting, because while people typically find that rules box something in, ebb the potential of it growing, i am finding that the complete opposite is occurring – the rules provide more opportunities to escape the heart of invention. it’s not something i am trying to access after all… it’s something i’m trying to escape, it seems, or slip away from in the hope of providing those on the other side of the gaps with as many routes by which to access it.

which leads us back, again, to cartography.

the need to map is a need to remember. yes, we plot as we progress. but the map only makes sense when we have reached the destination. it’s only in ending that we appreciate the path back to the beginning. and since we constantly feel a need to begin something, we instinctively know that in doing so, we will end somewhere. i am 1ne of those people for whom the ending of a project – but not always a poem – has a definition even before it has begun. i begin with the end in mind. i know what shape it should take. it’s then a process of plotting a path in 2wo parts, 1ne that simultaneously begins from the start and moves back from the end. the convergence of these 2wo parts of the same path occurs in the middleground, the largest gap of all – that which is unknown, unheard, unseen until you arrive there. this is what the heart of invention yields – a structure across the space.

and the view from such a space is breathtaking, like poetry – it takes the breath and runs away with it.

or at least that’s what The Trickster has taught me. 1ne should always let oneself escape or runaway from oneself. it’s that sense of losing yourself to the process, to the act, to the experiment, to the project, that is the most satisfying of what we do – yes, it yields poetry and other people’s reactions. yes, it yields books and publicity. yes, it causes us to exert ourselves and use effort in the process. yes, it can exhaust us. yes, it pushes us on to create and take leaps of faith. but nothing is more exciting than being in the actual midst of it, of living it. after all, it’s why we always ask someone why they made something, what caused their act of creation – we want to move along their converging paths and catch a glimpse of that exhilarating middleground, the largest gap of all, and experience that rush of stepping out into the unknown and watching it define itself, materialise, actualise, provide a parkour for the soul, letting us leap and clamber over the landscape we discover there, just like the person who created it did when they first discovered it themselves.

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The Trickster’s Mask: an interview with Scott-Patrick Mitchell (part i)

spm, . the tricking post . blows up the idea of the love letter. what is it about this form that drew you in and when did you realise you were on to something truly amazing?

i’ve always adored the love letter, or rather it’s modern counterpart, the love text. there’s something so highly personable about them. and yes, i have gone through entire relationships saving every text message in an effort to map the trajectory of the relationship. but there’s the rub right there – people don’t write letters anymore. we text. we tweet. we status update. at the most we email. but we don’t actually write. not letters. and not by longhand it seems.

so the idea of writing letters for the public space seemed appropriate. but no-one wants to read about a normal life – we have twitter and facebook for that. no, they want to read about the car crash that is your life. and better slow motion car crash than the break up of a relationship.

i wouldn’t say i knew i was on to anything truly amazing either. well… not until the letters were written and posted up in public spaces. that’s when people started addressing them to other people. to be honest i never expected people to do that. there was a certain thrill when they did though. so i’d say it was people’s reactions that amazed me, not the letters themselves… which is kinda how i live my life: i’m constantly amazed by the people who surround me and whom find themselves attracted to what i do.


so people have actually addressed these letters to other people and sent them off? that is wild. are there any specific stories you can tell about that? how did you first find out?

addressed is the right term, yes, but the letters were already posted, as it were. i lugged 36ix plus A0 print outs through the midnight streets of post-industrial hoon ridden newcastle, indisputably our nation’s most cultural city. i posted the letters at intervals, already determined by a map i had developed back home. i love maps you see. jung always told me that in order to achieve happiness in adulthood, you should mimic that which brought you the greatest joy as a child. as a child, i loved drawing maps. i would have married a map if marriage had (& now was/is/ever when) been something i had thought about it. but it wasn’t. cartography was, however. i obsessed over imaginary maps of imaginary worlds. so armed with my own i ventured forth to complete what was then known as The Trickster’s Bible, The Trickster’s mask you see on the cover here a marker as to where to post a poem as act of vandalism. all predetermined. a bad move, considering how hillock newcastle wills it.

elaboration is a friend here.

i obsess over street art more than maps. although the 2wo are the same. i had recently discovered a performative form of street art: parkour. the parkour logic was simple – let us travel through the city in the least moves possible, even if that means we flip & climb & sidewind over the pedestrians & furniture. the leader of parkour path is called a traceur, or tracer in olde mOther tongue. they trace the path of least resistance. to travel, 1ne must know how to compile tricks. tricks build up into moves. a move can comprise of many tricks, a trick evolving in difficulty & stratagem from A to B to C, naturally. the traceur learns their tricks from the holy tome of parkour, The Tricking Bible.

can you begin to see how the horizon arrived here now?

so… what would happen if instead of travelling through the city with ease, you were travelling with disease, a septic heart, a stalker’s want & need for that which is imaginary. what if The Trickster, the loveable loki, that dear old poe crow, mr miserable with being a god with only the power to cause mayhem & not thunderbolts, gotta hold of The Tricking Bible. what if they used it to clamber & stumble faster after you. what if in their wake they ached their bleeding heart across the landscape. what if every secret you had forged together suddenly spilt out & became public.

notice the lack of rhetoric. this wasn’t a hypothetical. it was hyper unethical.

the bible remained. it was holy then. now, it’s for the masses. the gods are all dying anyway.

so yes… the letters were posted that night. the following morning they addressing had occurred. i first found out by retracing my own traceur but in reverse. comrade in crime, foreword writer & the most feared man in electrocabaret, mr tomás ford accompanied both at night & the following day. by this point – & a near fatal arrest by the fuzz on the very last poem posted – he hated my guts. which was understandable. i hated me too by this point – exertion & effort are my least favourite things you see. but when we saw the blue texta scrawl of some poor unfortunate souls name after the dear ________, mr ford’s life lit back up. he gushed all over the pavement & my shoes. as mentioned before, this is what i strive for more than anything: the reactions people have to what i do.

no, i did not expect these people to address the post & resend it, i suppose, but i was glad they did. i have photos somewhere i can dig out for you if you so like.

does that make sense? i’m sure there are gaps – there should always be gaps. that’s why we write poetry… to give the gaps something to say.

. the tricking post . is available now at Black Rider Press

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Blowing Up The Love Letter w/ Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Black Rider Press have just launched Scott-Patrick Mitchell’s latest collection, his debut ebook, . the tricking post . I was one of the fortunate ones to be sent a copy of this important new work, and this is what I had to say:

This is a warning: scott-patrick mitchell’s . the tricking post . shows us directions the letter can take. the letters within rupture the limitations of the eye and the strictures of the poetic form. whether it be the voice of the trickster, the voice of shakespeare, poe or god, the words that spill forth are infinitely figurative. his dancing syllables resound far beyond the pages that contain them.

There have been many other fine people offer their words, including John Kinsella:

“SPM’s . the tricking post . outrages the private space of the love-letter by making it street art, and street art as poetry of the page. Why outrage? Try out rage. It is a rage of address. To whom does one address one’s desire, one’s need, one’s love? He reinvests the love-letter, making the message a connection that ravages textuality and renders it intimate, sassy, and a truly direct line of address. The ‘recipient’ becomes active by implication. Though he has moments that bring to mind Gertrude Stein’s Lifting Belly with its ‘fierce and tender’ arousal of language and passion, more often SPM deploys contrary words that seem to protest too much, that struggle with the depth of feeling that possibly lost love induces. At a time when language travels in so many ways, adapting and reconfiguring with different modes of communication, SPM catches the zeitgeist crisply and ironically. The essentials remain eternally the same, though, and that’s the key to this poem of sex that ‘fell into love’, of the letter tricking its format and becoming poetry, of the suitor becoming the subject as much as his lover, by the inevitable twisting of words dealing with the self vis-à-vis another, and with the simultaneously collapsing and expanding ‘history’ of artistic expression. This is new ahead of the new.” – John Kinsella

So to get yourself a copy, head to Black Rider Press, then it’s only $1.99 and a click away.

Keep your eyes on this site for my forthcoming interview with SPM. Should be live in just a few days…

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WA Spring Poetry Festival in review

Well, leg 3 of the 2009 Another Lost Shark tour was a huge success. I had never been to WA but know for sure that I will return many times. I met so many incredible people, and have made connections that I know will be lasting, and the place itself had a huge impact on me… Perth’s green space – Kings Park, Riverside Drive – is some of the best I have ever witnessed. Thanks to Holly & Mick for looking after me and showing me around.

So here’s what I got up to…

After touching down at midnight on Thursday, it was only a few hours until I was up and moving… and from then on, I remained in perpetual motion.

Fringe GalleryFriday started with a day long haiku workshop – from joy to grief in one breath. The group that gathered (including respected haiku poet, Maureen Sexton), were an inspirational bunch and were completely open to the haiku journey… We talked about the history of haiku, some definitions (if there can even be such a thing), the fragment and phrase theory, wabi and sabi, guidelines for writing and revising work, eight techniques for writing and asked the question – are the syllables important? We also went on a ginko around the Perth cultural precinct and then came back and workshopped many of the haiku composed.

Here’s two of mine…


winter chill
daisies keep their petals


   sharing a sandwich
   crows gather
   around the homeless man


Haiku were shared and the conversation was vigorous. The perfect way to begin the weekend.

It was then off to the official opening, where I had the great pleasure of being introduced by Kevin Gillam. After reading two poems – Brisbane Love Poems & All the Way Home, I introduced local dynamo, Scott-Patrick Mitchell who was the recent winner of the 2009 PressPress chapbook competition. He read from his winning chapbook – songs for the ordinary mass, which I recommend you all check out. Scott-Patrick’s work contains a healthy dose of rage. The words bristle on the page, at all times urgent. songs for the ordinary mass resists the oppressive rules of conventional discourse and examines ways in which language has long been used, quite often subtly, to oppress and exclude:

the strip
club does not strip
those men of
anything, as the
name suggests

(from the poem, catch)

So with the festival launched, we headed over to Sunyata Buddhist Centre, for the first reading of the festival. I have to pause here to add that this venue, is the most inviting space I have ever read poetry in. The energy in the room, so welcoming, so inclusive. A truly, unique room.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat

The first reading, MC’d by Sue Clennell featured the lyrically elegant Annamaria Weldon (check out her book, The Roof Milkers, it is superb!), two times Tom Collins Poetry Prize winner Peter Bibby, the spontaneous narratives of Amber Fresh (you must also check out her book, Between You And Me) and this Lost Shark. The open section was also buzzing. It was so good to be immersed in the words of local poets.

I went home that night, head swimming, anticipating Day 2.

Saturday featured a number of panel discussions the first Poetry and the Environment and the afternoon panel – Cultural Diversity, which I was honoured to be a part of alongside Peter Bibby, founding editor of Magabala Books, the immensely talented Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig, and Glen Phillips. I talked about my experiences in Ubud in 2004 running haiku workshops and performing with a gamelan band as well as my regular trips to Blackall (Western QLD) and the lasting impact the land has had on me and my work. Listening to Afeif talk about his experience as a refugee living in Australia and the time he spent as a political prisoner was both humbling and deeply insightful. Truly people, you have to read this man’s work. I also got to read at the mighty Perth Poetry Club, run by Janet Jackson and a small but devoted team. Janet has enough energy to power a small village. Check out some of her work here.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat1

Saturday night, we returned to Sunyata for a multi-cultural poetry reading MC’d by the delightful Vivienne Glance. This was the highlight of the whole festival… words can’t begin to capture the intense emotion in the room, the coming together of cultures, poets, humanity. Performers included Nick Di Lello, Istenad Haddad, Tam Thai, Lily Chan, Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig and the WAZA ensemble (playing traditional music from Sudan). Maureen Sexton and I were also invited to read haiku, so we joined forces and combined our reading, which confirmed my belief, that if you put two poems side by side (or in the air together), they will be drawn into dialogue. I then closed the reading with a selection of haibun from Measuring the Depth and my long poem Beyond, from the Black Stump Blues series.

This night, is etched in my DNA.

And then it was Sunday. The panel on publication saw some really interesting discussions emerge, with topics ranging from self-publishing to traditional publishing to digital publishing to performance to journals and onward. The second panel for the afternoon, Poetry Into the Future chaired by the incomparable Jeremy Balius was another highlight for me. I shared the panel with Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Amber Fresh and Amanda Joy. The energy between us, electric. A real sense of coming together. We each shared our stories and Jeremy shot questions at us to keep it all flowing. And again, the topics covered were diverse. We talked about success, we talked about influences, we talked about innovation and most importantly… we read poems!


Then, it was trip to Fremantle… seriously, if you have never been there, do yourself a favour. I got the opportunity to have a wander through the streets and the one second hand bookstore I stumbled across was incredible. The fish & chips on the water was pretty damn good as well.

And before I knew it, I was at Fringe Gallery, for the closing night readings. This is another space I am forever thankful for being invited into. There was open mic, there were features from Annamaria Weldon, Peter Bibby, Amber Fresh and I was thrilled to be able to hear Amanda Joy read from her recent chapbook (and even more thrilled to have received the last copy), Not Enough To Fold (Verve Bath Press). I have long enjoyed Amanda’s work and after hearing it, I have an even greater appreciation. I closed the night with a set of predominantly new poems… and they felt good. The room was smiling back at me and the weekend of memories flooded back. Chief organiser of WA Spring Poetry Festival Peter Jeffery’s words of thank you are still resonating. So again, thank you Peter for the incredible opportunity.

My first visit to Perth… well, the people and place are now in my blood. Back on the east coast… it doesn’t seem so far away.


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Guided by Poets – WA #2

For this Guided by Poets thread we travel back to the west coast of Australia to check out five exciting, original voices. And here they are:

Amanda Joy – Scott-Patrick Mitchell – Gabrielle Everall – Amber Fresh – Simon Cox



Stuck Out

Deep night in Tokyo
Memories are smeared light
Sirens sparkle urgency
to pillow-covered ears

The girl            is gooseflesh
hidden by the scrim
                          of her smile

These places she doesn’t show
she sees            on her skin

Black dents and scars
she denies the pleasure  
in shadows       in the near silent
night                 the wet ground

Close still      all deadened day
the residual
smell of scotch on the yawning giant

The night presses     to show
her    how well pretty things look
their purity pressed     against
the contrast of a dark background


Amanda Joy is a poet, writer, installation artist and sculptor living and gardening in Fremantle Western Australia. She is the keeper of a dog called Love and has a great fascination for portals and conduits. She blogs her poetry semi regularly at her website www.littleglasspen.com and www.myspace.com/amanda_joy1970 Her work is included in numerous journals online and every now and then she pops out a little limited edition illustrated chapbook for those who ask nicely. A more sizeable binding of her wordage is gestating.



Foundations Of Anatomy & Physiology

cheat notes for drown, the game

learning to swim can make 1ne sadly
short of breath, shouting help, help

sinks depth. deep is the river bed
. stoned on currents & babbling, waves

rip & break. a cross without a
bridge has no music to serenade

. shores line. tug, for water is
lonely. glug, for the bed wants

company. like a thug it drugs
heavy. saragossi into the mud

, a slow motion falling in
love. it bloats. you only have

1ne dry life so be sure your
wings don’t just fly.



Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a poet & writer living in Perth. He works as a journalist for OUTinPerth, a lesbian and gay news and lifestyle community street press, for whom he writes fashion, arts, music and a regular graffiti column called Perth Street Art. His work has been published in such anthologies as neoteric, Interactive Geographies, naked eye, Poetry Creations, Lines of Wisdom , Red Leaves and Through the Clock’s Working, the world’s first anthology of remixed literature. He edits two zines – ‘COTTONMOUTH’ & the underground literary street art adventure that is MoTHER [has words…].


Indi rock god

You saunter through
Rilke’s narrow lyre
there’s nothing of you
to kiss
a rake —
I want to be part
of your progress

I am purdah
I am abject
closer to death

my blind girl body
is sacrificed in you
still rising up to you

my body becomes your name

to believe in you
is to be God’s lover —
the only legitimate passion —
moral passion
triggering moral panic
we must eat
the sweetmeats of Christ

your child body, wafer thin
swallowed with wine
leaves me swollen

Saint Teresa’s eyes
roll in orgasmic jouissance

I want to kiss
every part of your wasted face
the revolt of your christly flesh
that I thought
wasn’t good enough

like a pig in mud
I wallow in thoughts
about you
you’re a belly god
I’m rapacious

the slashing of my skin
is a breath of fresh air

to reach Godhead
tie me to the bedhead
beat me with your beatitudes

the catch 22
of a suffering that causes jouissance
and a jouissance that causes suffering —

deprivation is your scripture

I a desiring ascetic
you an object
that is handed to me
like a child
is given a toy

a daddy toy
a never ending sweet
I’m an all day sucker

Christ has been there
God started it all.



Gabrielle Everall has published Dona Juanita and the love of boys with the assistance of The Department of Culture and The Arts in late 2007.  She has been previously published in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, Herding Kites, Cordite, The Sleeper’s Almanac, A Salt Reader etc and has work forthcoming in Going Down Swinging.  She has performed her poetry at The Big Day Out, Putting On An Act, NRLA, NYWF, Overload and The Emerging Writer’s Festival etc.  She also performs at Perth poetry readings Cottonmouth and Voicebox.




one time i asked a boy to push me over in the carpark
where we were and

at that instant i thought it was an incredibly
romantic thing to ask a boy

just as that feeling of possible romance was fading he did
push me over

when  i say ‘push’ i mean
suddenly his whole body was rammed against mine and i
flew about a million centimetres into the air

well, across the air and through the air really, and then
onto the bitumen, with my whole body smacked and
crushed against itself and into the ground at the same

that boy would have done anything i asked
so i’m glad we didn’t have a gun

one time if you get someone to push you over you will
know exactly what i’m talking about

but only if they are exactly the right person



Amber Fresh is a writer from Perth (via Albany and Paris). Her poems have been published in Westerly, Navigations, Cottonmouth Zine, MoTHER [has words…], The Ponies Zine, and Metior. This year she released her first book of poetry, “Between You and Me”, with funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts. She writes on a typewriter and makes music in a band called Rabbit Island.



The Same Place Twice

Nothing. Nothing but the storm held aloft by a kite string,
the mind an empty bucket in the rain, beds freshly poured
for the leaf litter, puddles open pores in the pavement.

Nothing but the sky gone cerebral with storm clouds,
the rain coming on like a migraine, synapses lit up with
the one thought, clouds epileptic with lightning. 

Nothing but the thought like water vapour over our heads,
the answer around which all questions hang rhetorical,
the perfume of the executioner sweet as summer rain,
the moment perfect in its passing.

Nothing but the boy pulling down
on his kite string, the sky pulling back up.

Nothing but the stars come unstuck in the storm
and the clouds gridlocked on the horizon,
the wiring live between my fingers
and the sound from inside the seizure. 




Simon Cox was the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre Young-Writer-in-Residence in 2008, and has been published in Voiceworks and the Sleepers’ Almanac. With friends he organises Perth’s monthly spoken word showcase, ‘Cottonmouth’, and will help publish an anthology of Cottonmouth performers this June. In 2008 he self-published a chapbook of poems, Book Lung. http://www.cottonmouth.org.au/


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