I’ve been looking recently at new possibilities for a web site and/or blog space. I like WordPress, but the ads not so much, and I can’t get it to look as I’d like sometimes. My latest foray is moving my poetry page to Weebly. I looked at whether that was possible and it’s not, so in the meantime they’ll stay here. But you can take a look at the new site here: https://warrickwynne.weebly.com
I’ve had a long held dream to promote some means for teachers to get hold of contemporary Australian poetry, for classroom use, and this week I learned that the Australian Poetry Library was attempting to do just that.
Funded by the Australian Copyright Agency, there’s none of my poetry there, but there is a pretty good range of poets with extensive range of poems: 1600 from Les Murray, over 700 from Peter Porter, nearly 500 p oems from Diane Fahey. Downloading is a little clunky (PDF by PayPal) and maybe they might have been better going for a broader spread of poets (they’ve closed the site to new poems I see) and spent a little more time on better searching, but it’s a pretty impressive start.
One of the things that interested me about the Sebald film I saw last week was the mapping and the way that one of the researchers was plotting the Sebald walk on something that looked a lot like Google Maps. I liked the idea, and had already been toying around with the idea of mapping some of my poems and where they are set; a bit like the way Instagram is now mapping photos you upload.
One of the things I like to do, when I have some time to myself, is to walk along the beach. Sometimes poems come, other times I take photographs or just enjoy the light.
Yesterday, when taking some short videos, I came across a lost object near the shore in the water. A yellow flipper. It wasn’t a watch, but I was reminded of an early poem of mine, “Lost Things”, partly about finding lost things at the bottom of the sea. “These lost things still exist”. You can find that poem on my website or you can see the yellow flipper in this short video. Or do both!
Maybe there’s a new poem in this too.
Last week my new favourite fancy microphone I bought myself for Christmas came in handy when I recorded some postcard poems for the Varuna Writer-a-Day Project. I recorded some poems for the project and they’ve gone online this week.
Varuna is a beautiful house in the Blue Mountains where I spent some time a long time ago on a writer’s residency. Varuna describe themselves as:
Australia’s national residential writers’ house in the former home of writers Eleanor and Dr Eric Dark. It has a long reputation for attracting and inspiring exciting new Australian writing and providing support for a thriving writing community. Writers can enjoy residential space with an extensive library, professional development opportunities and pathways to publication via selective programs and innovative partnerships
I spent some time just prior to my first book coming out and I was intoxicated by the physical and mental space of a couple of weeks just to write! I met some great people and made real progress on the manuscript, but also was inspired enough by the Blue Mountain landscape to write some postcard style pieces, some of which were published in the now defunct Bluey magazine. It was good to look at these pieces again and record them for a new audience.
My Blue Mountainalia poems are HERE on the Varuna blog. Words and audio!
The Australian Poetry Library is a nice idea; in fact, I’ve got a feeling I may have invented this myself and presented the ideas at the Sydney Poetry Festival a few years ago. Anyway, the idea of accessing some contemporary Australian poetry from a central portal, particularly for English teachers wanting to work with these poems with students, is essentially good. And that does seem to be the focus of this site, perhaps along with the general reader looking for a good Australian poem about happiness, for example.
However, this version has caused some controversy with some poets (like Laurie Duggan) not happy with how it’s rolled out and the communication around all that. Fair enough too, and I’m not all that impressed with the range and the green curtains either. But it’s a great start, and in the tradition of the Academy of American Poets. That’s something to build towards!
It’s taken the long weekend to finally find time to have a first look at the new Australian Poetry website, but I have now and it looks good. I like the layout and it’s very newsy and is trying to incorporate some social tools including groups, friend requests and more. All very nicely integrated. They’ve even got a twitter feed, integration with Facebook and an Iphone app. Its chunky at 60MB and $3.99 but has a lot of information on Australian poets and poetry-related activity happening in Australia. I even got a friend request from Admin to welcome me! Nice. It will be good to see how this develops.
Australian Poetry Ltd is a merger between the Australian Poetry Centre based in Melbourne and Poets’ Union based in NSW. It aims to be the new peak body for poetry in Australia with a charter to promote and support Australian poets and poetry.
It’s certainly in a better state than the old Fellowship of Australian Writers, which looks a bit tired in its website. I was a member of the FAW for a long time, and did my first public reading of a poem of my own at the Manly (NSW) branch one evening. I was so nervous and I read a piece called Two Maggies. Everyone was very polite. So I’ve got good memories of that organisation and the work they do. It was established in the 1920s, but it does seem to be struggling a bit at the moment.