Sunday, August 17, 2014

Recently I did...

At the request of two people (overkill really, one is all I need), here a round up of my last few publications (excluding reviews, as I put them on Goodreads after a bit anyway).

Most recently, my poem 'Evicted' appeared in Epigraph Magazine, a US online poetry magazine you can read for free!

My short story 'Human Surface' appeared in Atticus Review, another US online journal you can read to your hip pocket's content. I love Atticus, I'd recommend reading it even when I'm not in it.

My short story 'Only After School' appeared in issue 6 of Tincture Journal, an Australian epub journal (issue 6 is currently on special for $5, so get to it). I know - what's with having short stories published? I don't write many, so I'm as surprised as you are.

My poem 'Footprints' appeared in The Gap-Toothed Madness, a US print magazine with an excellent title.

My poems 'Tropical Fruit' and 'Soothe the Savage' appeared in foam:e, an Australian online poetry journal that's free to read.

My short story 'Delivery Day' appeared in Materiality: Precious, an excellent themed Australian journal piloted by the lovely Alice Cannon. Incidently, the next issue of Materiality (which I'll also be in) has a Pozible running, so fling it some money if you can!

My love poem 'Enough' appeared in the Poetry D'Amour 2014 anthology - it sold out but I finally got my hands on copy, so those of you who asked to read my poem now can. Guess who I wrote it for.

My poem 'Treasure Maps' appeared in the Australian print journal Westerly. They still pay by cheque, which I think is the way it always should be. Cheques are so nice and tangible!

My poem 'Newborn' appeared in Tincture Journal issue 4, which is also only $5 to buy now.

And my poem 'A good nose for a road trip' appeared in The Age, which is always a thrill because I can say 'The Age' to old relatives and they know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Four-Sentence MIFF Reviews #5-8: I Hired a Contract Killer, Clara and the Secret of the Bears, Jack, Patema Inverted

I Hired a Contract Killer (Aki Kaurismaki)

Henri shuffles between his dingy apartment and his equally dingy job pushing paper from one side of a desk to another. When he loses his position at work, he tries to commit suicide, but can't quite get the job done, so he hires a contract killer to take himself out. This is a nicely odd film which manages to make something strangely lovable out of a series of deadpan encounters between unlikely people. It's the film version of a really dry, really crumpled, really black t-shirt that actually looks quite good once you put it on.

Clara and the Secret of the Bears (Tobias Ineichen)

13 year old Clara lives in the Swiss Alps with her mother and step-father, and is delighted one day to encounter a bear cub in the mountains. But as she is drawn into fraught disputes among townsfolk about the bears, Clara discovers her connection to a past wronging of nature, and to a ghost girl with unfinished business. The time-slip elements are perfectly handled, Clara's friendship with a new local boy is pleasingly unromantic, and the father-daughter elements are very touching. Twelve year old me would have killed to see this film, and thirty-three year old me loved it too.

Jack (Edward Berger)

When Jack's mum has him bundled off to a children's home for convenience, and dumps his younger brother with a friend "for the night", we work out that she pretty much sucks. But resourceful Jack believes against all evidence that his mum still wants them, so he takes off to find his younger brother and reunite the family. Wonderfully unsentimental, this is a film that never manipulates the audience or even demonises Jack's mother (though I would really like to punch her in the face). The moment at the end of the film where Jack ages emotionally a few years in a few seconds is a real credit to the film's subtlety.

Patema Inverted (Yasuhiro Yoshiura)

When a scientific experiment went wrong, half the population were suddenly inversely affected by gravity, sending scores of people and buildings 'falling up into the sky'. Those that survived retreated below the surface, walking on the underground ceilings of those left above. As soon as I saw the detailed animation of Patema's grimy, mechanical world, I was sold. Absorbing, beautifully animated, often incredibly tense and demanding full concentration - and featuring a male and female protagonist who were balanced in agency and importance.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Four-Sentence MIFF Reviews #3-4: Ping Pong Summer, The Galapagos Affair

Ping Pong Summer (Michael Tully)

Radford is on summer holiday and makes an instant best friend in Teddy (who is honestly what I imagine Luka will be like as 13 year old). There's girls, too much sugar, and naturally a pair of bullies who try to make Radford's life hell. The movie is saturated with 80s nostalgia and overacting in a way that the 80s never was (apart from possibly the overacting), but I happily accepted this movie as a feature-long cross between an episode of Round The Twist and Ship to Shore. Complete with gurning bullies and a freeze frame happy ending.

The Galapagos Affair (Dan Geller)

In 1929, somewhat berko doctor (and Nietzsche obsessive - always a bad sign) Friedrich Ritter and his devotee Dore Strauch embrace their shared misanthropy and move to the uninhabited Galapagos island of Floreana. It's gonna be great - then other people show up and things go bad and holy crap disappearances and possible murders and this shit is crazy. This documentary left me saying "wow, that was real?", and given how many fucked up documentaries I watch, that's saying something. The sheer weight of actual footage, documents from the islanders, and interviews with surviving family members are the only things that make this unbelievable story even faintly believable.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Four-Sentence MIFF Reviews #1-2: Life Itself, Irma Vep

Yes folks, it's that glorious time of year (otherwise known as about the only time I post on this blog any more), where I get to go to 13 films at the Melbourne Film Festival and post a review of each one in four sentences. You know what they say: "slightly longer than a tweet - it's the way of the future."

Life Itself (Steve James)

An intimate documentary following film critic Roger Ebert in his final months of life, stretching back to cover his life, career, family and contemporaries.
The impact of Ebert's film criticism cannot be overestimated, but in this funny and moving documentary I also learned more about the circle his life encompassed: his friends, family, colleagues, and his perfect fit for the time he was born in.
It's a deeply emotional portrait of a man facing death, which left me holding it together (for the most part) but still shaking with emotion.
And the answer to why on earth a man like Ebert decided to write Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and work with Russ Meyer: "Boobs".

Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas)

Maggie Cheung is flown to Paris to work with an unstable avant garde film director; nobody is entirely sure why.
There's interest and amusement in the chaotic scenes of film-making, but I found my attention drifting in and out over the course of the film, and overall it doesn't quite seem to make full use of the story it's trying to tell.
Also: if you're going to cat-burgle someone, a latex catsuit is the noisiest possible outfit you could choose to wear.
On the upside: Maggie Cheung in a latex catsuit.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The letters I'd love to write - letters to asylum seekers

The recent GetUp! letter-writing campaign to let asylum seekers know that we care, and that we disagree with how they are being treated, caught my eye. Not just as a regular letter-writer, but as a human being.

I eagerly read the instructions for the campaign, and was discouraged when I realised I couldn't take part.

Letter-writing for a purpose: you're doing it wrong. It starts well:

1. You're asked to write a letter to a non-specific asylum seeker: obviously fine.
2. You're asked to say who you are and make it personal, so the recipient knows that you're not acting on behalf of the government: also fine.
3. You're asked to include a self-addressed envelope so the unknown person you write to can see exactly where you live: this is not fine. If the person you are writing to is randomly assigned, wherever they are in the world and regardless of their status, this is problematic.
4. There are no details provided as to whether your name, address, details of your letter, details of who receives your letter, whether they respond to your letter, etc, are recorded by Julian Burnside, any government agency, or the companies running camps on Manus Island or Nauru. This is problematic.

As a long-time letter-writer to both private penpals and charity letter-writing programs, I'm both sad and annoyed I can't take part in something that could be much better organised with a bit more effort.

This is why, for example, child sponsorship charities have a very careful system of letter-writing - you write to a general office, and your letter goes through this 3rd party which strips the letter of your address on the way. It's not a particularly difficult system - and if, as with charity systems, it would cost me the price of an overseas stamp then I would take up my papers and write and write and write to asylum seekers who I wish could be treated better, and tell them how it fills me with disgust that they are treated in such a revolting way in our country's name.

But with this program, to say it again - you're doing it wrong.

Letter-writing charities have been doing it right for decades - if you can do it right too, I'm happy to pay double for the stamps. Sign me up.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Popularity contest

And the most liked poems from Month of Poetry were:

First days
Pit stop
Australia Day
Powerful element
Best spot near the box

So if you couldn't be bothered reading all thirty poems, there's a shortlist instead!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Month of Poetry 2014 - vote for your favourite

Thank you all for reading and contributing to this year's Month of Poetry for me!

By popular request (of at least 2 people), please vote for your favourite Month of Poetry 2014 poem. I'll publish the results in about a week, yeah? (If you need to remember which poem is which, just click on the January part of the Blog Archive in the sidebar, and in theory all the links should be there.)

Thanks for playing :)

Your favourite Month of Poetry 2014 poem?
#1: How many
#2: Twelve
#3 Hog Calling
#4: Breadline
#5: Commercial service - 3 out of 5 stars
#6: Winter
#7: Ultimate floor
#8: Too close to home
#9: Shopping centre
#10: Red
#11: A natural death
#12: An attitude of existence
#13: Captain January
#14: At the museum
#15: Words on a hot night
#16: Hidden folk
#17: May as well be sisters
#18: Best spot near the box
#19: Rolling gallstones
#20: The first time
#21: Upside down
#22: Late for work
#23: Powerful element
#24: Party poem
#25: Australia Day
#26: Pit stop
#27: Melted
#28: First days
#29: From bed to anywhere
#30: The study isn't published
Poll Maker