Material Girl

by Michelle

I was a material girl last week end during my attendance at Poetry and the Contemporary, a symposium organised by michael farrell and Ann Vickery, inspired by the Language poetics of Ashbery, Olson, Howe.

Somehow in the midst of all this Jill Jones launched my book Vishvarūpa, a brief lyric moment, which some might describe as spanking the open poem as it floated through the evening’s indiscernible substances. Afterwards some of us walked the length of Lygon Street all the way to La Mama to catch dinner.

But here’s where it all happened: at the Victorian Trades Hall, and if no poets are photographed outside it maybe because they were mingling within the spaces, making coffees, herbal teas, lunching on vegan delites or breaking lines in the labyrinthine corridors and rooms of this historic building which has been the venue for many fringe events and forums.

Highlights for me, at least, were Andy Carruther’s paper on Sonic Ekphrasis, Jill Jones/Bonny Cassidy/Claire Gaskin on Unimprovement poetics, Pam Brown’s General complaints, Martin Edmond’s wonderful eulogy to Alan Brunton, a playwright/poet whose work I had not known. Ruby Brunton’s perfomance of her father’s work was rarefied.

Breathtaking, too, was David Herd’s looping lexical ebullience. You can hear David (Visiting Scholar from the University of Kent) speak on Ashbery’s humane poetics from 2-3.30 in the Woolley Building at Sydney University, July 13.