Tag Archives: William S Burroughs

Future Leaks

Christmas delivered some truly amazing artefacts and experiences, the most incredible of which is a fully paid week at Varuna, The Writers House in The Blue Mountains, gifted by my lovely wife and son. The magnitude of it hasn’t really settled as yet, but it is giving the new year a mighty bright glow. Here’s a pic of the house and its surrounds.


Looks amazing…

The thought of a week with nothing to do but write has got my insides simmering.

Two other incredible gifts I received were, Cut-Ups, Cut-Ins, Cut-Outs: The Art of William S. Burroughs and The ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound. I have been busily reading ‘Cut-Ups’ and have fallen in love with Burroughs all over again. His intellect and fervor for experimentation produced some of the most groundbreaking work we are ever likely to see.

Reading an essay by Barry Miles, The Future Leaks Out: A Very Magical and Highly Charged Interludes I was energised by the idea that all writing is a ‘cut-up’ and that the cut-up technique lets the future leak out. After reading, I put the technique (or a permutation of it) to work using two poems by Ezra PoundThe River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter and The Return – and two poems by Robert AdamsonLetter to Joanne Kyger and Bolinas Bay, An Ode to see what happened when these minds met. Why these minds, you may ask? Well, when I had the privilege of spending some time with Robert Adamson at this year’s QLD Poetry Festival, he spoke at length about Pound’s book, The ABC of Reading and how it is was his poetry education (and now, it will now add to mine).

With this knowledge, I was excited to bring the two poets together and see what leaked out. Here’s one result.


Particles Collide

You came by on bamboo stilts;
the monkeys made sorrowful
noise overhead, sniffing the tide of air.

I looked up at the dome of your sky
as half-awakened; an animal spirit
called to a thousand times.

I desired my dust to be mingled
with yours, leaving traces of
silver powder on the globe.

The two of us walking through
a future we’d not actually lived
forever and forever and forever.


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A World Poetry Day Feast

Tomorrow, March 21 is World Poetry Day. One of the driving ideas of the day is to share poetry with the world, so here’s a handful of readings / films from three of my all time favourite poets. So either dive in early, or hang back and savour it in the morning… but do open your ears and let these poems in.

First up is a set from New Zealand icon, the first poet I ever saw read live, Sam Hunt. This is Hunt at his wildly unpredictable best… and he reads two poems that will always be close to me, Wave Song and Naming the Gods.

Next, a reading from Korea’s spiritual force of nature, Ko Un. He will always be a guiding light…

And finally, let William S. Burroughs enter your head and open fire… no one messed with language more than WSB and this short film by Anthony Balch, showcases Burroughs’ early work at its mind-bending best.

Happy World Poetry Day to you all! Feel free to drop me a link to something you feel I should be watching.


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Essential Christmas Viewing: A Junky’s Christmas

If you haven’t seen it, here is the Burrough’s classic, A Junky’s Christmas. The perfect way to iron out those Boxing Day wrinkles…







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How to brighten your Saturday

Well, where I am sitting the sky is steel grey and has been for days… the trees are heavy with last night’s rain and there is no sign of the sun poking its head through (apparently until Wednesday).

So I have been brightening my Saturday with these three gems:

1. William Burroughs interviews Jimmy Page

Yep, you read that right… Burroughs talks to legendary Led Zep guitarist after going to see the band back in June 1975.

Burroughs is blown away by Zeppelin, fascinated by their use of repetition, volume and drums, elements common to Moroccan trance music, a real passion of Burroughs’.

They discuss mantras, infra-sound and death ray machines… this is most definitely a rock interview, Burroughs style.

Read the interview here.

2. Gareth Liddiard releases Strange Tourist

Liddiard has been turning heads and blowing ear drums as front man for The Drones for more than a decade but this week he dropped his first solo album, which is a predominantly acoustic affair. As a lyricist, Liddiard is up there with the best in this (or any other) country, so for me it is a real treat to have them right up front on the new album. And while it may be an acoustic album, none of the intensity of The Drones is lost. Just check out the title track, Strange Tourist.

 3. Smoke by Jacob Polley

I have become quite taken with this poem recently, needing to read it several times a week… the stove, the diaries, the bird in the flue. The imagery in this poem marries power and beauty to deliver a revelatory ending.

You listen to Jacob Polley read the poem here.


A bright Saturday to you all…

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Fantagraphics to release lost William S. Burroughs Graphic Novel

Super excited this afternoon to discover Fantagraphics Books will release William S. Burroughs’ lost masterpiece Ah Pook Is Here, a graphic novel created in collaboration with artist Malcolm McNeill in the 1970’s. The work first appeared as a regular comic strip under the title The Unspeakable Mr Hart in English magazine, Cyclops. Sadly Cyclops folded, but Burroughs and McNeill decided to turn the work into a full length graphic novel. Now almost four decades on, we will get the chance to see the end result of the collaboration.

image by Malcolm McNeill

Here’s how Fantagraphics Books are describing Ah Pook Is Here:

Ah Pook Is Here is a consideration of time with respect to the differing perceptions of the ancient Maya and that of the current Western mindset. It was Burroughs’ contention that both of these views result in systems of control in which the elite perpetuate its agendas at the expense of the people. They make time for themselves and through increasing measures of Control attempt to prolong the process indefinitely.

John Stanley Hart is the “Ugly American” or “Instrument of Control” – a billionaire newspaper tycoon obsessed with discovering the means for achieving immortality. Based on the formulae contained in rediscovered Mayan books he attempts to create a Media Control Machine using the images of Fear and Death. By increasing Control, however, he devalues time and invokes an implacable enemy: Ah Pook, the Mayan Death God. Young mutant heroes using the same Mayan formulae travel through time bringing biologic plagues from the remote past to destroy Hart and his Judeo/Christian temporal reality.

Sounds like a must have for the book shelves!

Check out more about the release of Ah Pook is Here on the Fantagraphics Books website.


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Words of Advice for Young People

Home after a big day treading the educational boards and discovered this mash up of William S. Burroughs and an old educational film by Mario Escobar. Burroughs sounds as timeless as ever, dispensing wisdom like a slot machine… so click the button and take a listen to William’s Words of Advice for Young People (you can read the text here).

And while yr listening, drop me a line with any other wisdom that’s itching inside of you.

Happy Monday to you all…


Filed under interviews/artist profiles, poetry & publishing

Giorno Poetry Systems: the dial-a-poem-poets

I was over at the Outlaw Poetry and Free Jazz Network this evening and came across this absolute gem… they have posted the complete audio of the first dial-a-poem-poets album (complete with that warm vinyl crackle) released by John Giorno in 1972. The album features poetry and experimental writing by legends such as Frank O’Hara, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, John Cage, Jim Carroll, Robert Creeley, Diane Di Prima and Philip Whalen. This is seriously transcendental stuff and very hard to get your hands/ears on the actual item, so it is great to be able to hear this amazing body of work.

This post also lead me to the UbuWeb Sound page, where you can download the complete Giorno Poetry Systems catalogue. For me this was like finding pirate treasure… all 12 albums waiting for you to unlock their mysteries…

I hope this provides you all with hours of literary kicks.


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Peel off the plastic… it’s Banned Books Week!

Yep, jump on board your local public transport, peel the plastic off your copy of Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, shout verses from Howl or revel in the so called obsecnity of Naked Lunch but wherever you are, celebrate Banned Books Week.

While this is a US phenomenon, I think it is something that needs to be embraced worldwide. Freedom of expression is something we should never take for granted. In essence, it is always under attack. We need more writers like Burroughs in the world today, writers unafraid to stare into the abyss and report back, writers who cast off the term outlaw on the basis that to be an outlaw, you must have once been inside the law. We need more danger!

So if you need some assistance getting your hands on a once or currently Banned Book, check out one of  these Top Ten Lists.

Alternative Reel’s Top 10 Banned Books of the 20th Century

Time Magazine’s Most Challenged Books

I mean, this list contains some of the books that shaped my life… Grapes of Wrath, Lolita and Brave New World which is the book I credit as turning me on to literature in Yr 10.

Go on, get your hands on a Banned Book today.


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Get Your Fix

Another Sunday, and after the grey, weeping sky that prevailed last weekend, it is so good to feel the last of today’s winter sun streaming through my window.

And while I am getting my fix, you should get yours.


Check out this great short film based on the poem A Fix by Herbert Huncke. For many Huncke is better known as ‘Herman’ in Burroughs’ classic novel, Junky or as ‘Elmer Hassel’ in Kerouac’s On the Road, but Huncke was certainly no bit player. In fact it was Huncke who intoduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat’.

And if this film peaks your interest, check out this reading of Huncke’s classic ‘The Evening Sun Turned Crimson’.

Now that voice is beat.

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Ah Pook + Poetry Publishing for the 21st Century

It’s Saturday and the sun is shining outside, so to get your minds limbered up check out this short film of Burroughs’ all purpose bedtime story, Ah Pook is Here.

Ah Pook is Here is a collaboration between Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. Originally conceived as a graphic novel, it was published (text only) in 1979 after several attempts to get the project off the ground. Thankfully the artwork has been rediscovered and is now being exhibited in the USA.

Here’s a link to see the artwork.

And here’s the link to the film

And don’t forget the QPF Filmmakers Challenge is now open so get your entries in.

Now that you have got your fix of film, art and Burroughs check out this article by Timothy Green (editor of Rattle) on poetry publishing for the 21st Century. He makes some really interesting points about the current model of online publishing (including a link to the Top 50 Literary Journals Online), and gives his view on a way forward for small press publishers. Well worth the read friends!

Poetry Publishing for the 21st Century by Timothy Green.

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