07 April 2011


FRONT: click to enlarge BACK: Click to enlarge
Working on a series of Rack Card sized poems. Just ordered 50 of these...

(just noticed the spelling error...)

05 April 2011

move move move

standing at these fabricated
concrete mindsets
taking set shots at the blue bloc
behind the helmets
behind the shields
behind the barriers

they stand with tiny tears
at the corners of their eyes
and realise that
despite the tang of salt
this is good overtime
this is the real deal
where the weeks
of riot training kicks in
with these ferals to hit
these shitty dissidents
these subversives at their boots
shouting azadi azadi

and at the blue bloc six
in the military cages
is the danger
to something

and inside uniforms
that must keep us safe
from something - something

under the metallic numbers
protecting the citizens
from the breakouts
of these evil refugees

not for a moment
that these people
yes people
with stories
that none of the likes of us
would ever understand
tales from boats
and children leaping from jetties
in pacific sunlight into crystal waters
with those that have little less than
the freedom to move
to move move move

except that inside
the serco profit machines
this is your mother
at the fences
this is your sister
at the razor wire
this is your brother
at the steel gates
of democracy
your children's faces
cut with vehement hypocrisy

and the next swill of that vegan beer
makes you you feel so much better

determined to make the first move
this is the freedom to move move move
this is the freedom to move move move

so patiently waiting in queues at airports
clustered in military camps in deserts

and all they seem to do is shout at cameras
repetitive slogans over and over
stop the boats
stop the boats
stop the boats

and all they want to do is
keep my brothers and sisters
in cages, at long arms law length
no dictionary to plead cases
no blood on these faces
as the blue bloc chant
move move move
and we can
we can move move move
we have the freedom to move move move

look at me run run run at the cyclones
my body bending the wire
look at two of us
our bodies pushing at the wire
look at three and four of us
pushing at the wire
a battering ram of solidarity
five ten twenty of us
pushing at the wire
fifty a hundred and more now
crushing the fences to the ground
as they belt us with batons
as we scramble in the thin sand
a mandate of sweat and bruises

and what they do to those detained
they will also do to you

back at xmas the blue bloc
taking shots
at desperate men in cages
shooting fish in barrels
with shotguns
loaded with nice little bean-bags of justice
lead shot rounds in bags
for those that complain
with their voices, their bodies
their sanity

and this is our country,
and some say they should have used real bullets
i say should they shoot your mother, motherfucker?

they shoot roos don't they
they shoot roos that can't move
without the freedom to move

at easter at the periphery
here's to the brave
and to those inside
lets tear at these fences
at the mental defences
its time to stand up fist raised
and relentlessly
like jesus in the temple
kicking tables of money
to the ground
these fences
this steel barrier
and kill this vile policy
that denies the persecuted
the right, the freedom
to move move move


performed 8 April 2011 at Freedom to Move - a RRAN fundraiser for converge2011.net

04 April 2011

DIGITAL POETRY - An Introduction


What is it?

Simply put, Digital Poetry fuses text with technology; combines words with computers; marries poets with machines, to create new works. Digital Poetry is also referred to as e-poetry, electronic poetry or cyber poetry.

Perhaps we could argue that in its most basic definition, any poetry or literature created using a computer program such as Word (or indeed any word processing device) could be considered as "Digital or Electronic Poetry" - as opposed to works created using a pen and paper, chalk and footpath, spraypaint and walls, typewriters and/or any other basic analogue device. When we create words from a keyboard to a computer screen we are by definition, creating "digital" works.

Indeed, since the advent of computers in our daily lives, we create literary works mainly using a word program to compose the bulk of our work.

However, the genre of Digital Poetry is much more than this.

Like concrete poetry, performance poetry and sound poetry, Digital Poetry does stuff to words - poems move beyond simple static words on a printed page, transforming the art of poetry into a visceral, tactile experience.Digital Poetry embraces the technology of our current and past computer ages - redefining poetry into a 21st Century artform. Embracing readily-available, relatively user-friendly software Digital Poets can bring words to life - in many examples, letters dance playfully across the screen to create a new meanings, words appear and disappear, colours and images become significant - semiotics blur, with sign merging with signifier and signified.

In Digital Poetry textural expression is larger than simply the meanings below the surface - this is the poetry of design. The experience is beyond the static surface.

Sounds are also frequently used, elevating poetic consumption from merely "reading" the words on a page into a aural, musical, sonic experience - synthesising word-forms and allowing poets to engage in different ways with their traditional audiences of the printed word. Video and imagery can fuse with written and spoken words on and off the screen.

A Definition

Christopher Funkhouser in his essay, Digital Poetry: A Look at Generative, Visual, and Interconnected Possibilities in its First Four Decades - (cited in A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.) defines Digital Poetry as
"a new genre of literary, visual, and sonic art launched by poets who experimented with computers in the late 1950s. Digital poetry is not a singular "form" but rather a conglomeration of forms that now constitutes a genre even though the creative activity itself — in terms of its media, methods, and expressive intent —contains heterogeneous components."Digital poetry is an evolving process... where Poets explore a variety of computerized techniques, from interactive installations to randomized and visual attributes... Labels such as "e-poetry," "cyberpoetry," and "computer poetry" have been used to describe creative work in this area... Digital poetry is a genre that fuses crafted language with new media technology... A poem is a digital poem if computer programming or processes (software, etc.) are distinctively used in the composition, generation, or presentation of the text (or combinations of texts)..."
Further, Funkhouser breaks down the genre into: Computer poems; Graphical poems; Hypertext and hypermedia.

Computer poems:
Poets use programs to create databases, codes and instructions to manipulate content - poetry is generated using algorithms and displayed as a sequences of words etc, dependent on the programmed code. Funkhouser: "Computer poems challenge and invite the reader to participate imaginatively in the construction of the text; some mock the conventions of poetry, and others reify them.."

Graphical poems: Graphical poems use computer programs to incorporate the visual elements of poetry. Words, letters and images are manipulated. The the look and feel, style etc of the poem's graphical content is the main goal... As Funkhouser puts it: "poems, by design, move and change before the viewer's eyes"

Hypertext and hypermedia: Poets create clickable text with words and images as hyperlinks. A click of a word can take the audience on a new path, whether random or deliberate. Narrative becomes organic as the reader chooses to click through into new text, pages or other media.
  • http://digitalhumanities.org/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405148641/9781405148641.xml&chunk.id=ss1-5-11&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-5-11&brand=9781405148641_brand


Social Media

With the rise of Social media in our lives - eg: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube etc digital poetry is taking on new forms.

Collaborations across time and space on the internet allow us to expand the definition of Digital Poetry even further. Poets can collaborate, share poetry and information about new works using these networks.
  • Blog Poetry: Here is a recent collaboration between myself and David Vincent Smith: http://apdvs.blogspot.com/
  • An example of Twitter Poetry: http://twitter.com/twitterpoetry
  • A Facebook poetry group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2416793140
  • Google "digital poetry on youtube" to see many examples of digital poetry as video.
Some examples of Digital Poetry

The 40th Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, in June 2009, included a programme dedicated to digital poetry. The digital works of the Bits of Poetry programme: Digital Poetry Laboratory.
  • Browse the many examples here: http://media.poetryinternational.org/bop/indexx.html
Another Definition of Digital - or Electronic Poetry

The Electronic Literature Organisation (ELO) which publishes works by digital writers recognises that "Literature today not only migrates from print to electronic media; increasingly, “born digital” works are created explicitly for the networked computer…"

There are many example of the genre at their website. The ELO define Electronic Literature as referring to:
"works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:
  • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
  • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
  • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
  • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
  • Interactive fiction
  • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
  • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
  • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
  • Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing"
See: http://www.eliterature.org/about

Concrete Poetry

In Concrete Poetry typographical arrangement of words is as important ore more so than conventional elements like semiotics rhythm, rhyme, metre etc. Often referred to as visual poetry, a term that has evolved to have distinct meaning of its own, but which shares the distinction of being poetry in which the visual elements are as important as the text. Often the pattern of the letters on the page illustrate the meaning of the poem.

Poems take on the shape of the object of the poem eg:

Image of "Easter Wings", published in 1633 by George Herbert. The poem was printed across two pages - so that the lines suggest two birds flying upward, with wings spread out:
SOURCE: The Noroton Anthology of Poetry, 4th edition, edited by Margaret Ferguson, et al., p 331, New York: W.W. Norton & Company (1996)

In this sense, Concrete Poetry is "designed" in that the words and letters, the shape of the poem becomes important, in much the same way that Digital Poetry embraces the visual aspect of the poetry.


  • For more examples of Digital Poetry, see also the Study Guide document attached to this weeks lecture: 2008_CWNM_MA_E-Poetry_bibliography

02 April 2011

moon faced

but while i have your attention
i thought i should quickly
mention that
there are thousands of
mums and dads
and children
hidden in boxes
on islands, in floodplains
and deserts, in suburbs
and cyclone towns
and asio
is taking liberties
thieving realities

in curtin they're rhyming
every other word with hurt
and waiting waiting waiting

yet on plasmas the shorts
cannot get much shorter
low-cut tops much lower
than the required standard
not that i mind really
admiring the curves
and idiosyncratic structures
of the female form
i do dig this
but why
does it have to be so biscuit-cutter norm
these shiny skinned girls
make-up guns set to whore
in this 3 minute narrative

i gotta say though

thanks heaps mate
for the introduction
but i'm just mutton
just mutton braised like cotton
trained in 27 types of military
busted and broken
as if this were a battle
yet all here in seats are unrattled
unlike me here
standing, sitting
will be forgotten
as if libya is a monument
to satisfaction
lookin for a simple solution
a paypal button
to stop me feelin like
xmas island is an illusion
it isn't
its a thousand people
waiting waiting waiting

yet again here
under the moon light
in the sexy couches
in the misfit chairs
at the plastic tables
the sound of traffic
the saturday flavours
a retro remedy

and i
just spurt a few more fucked-up
werds at the 2 til 4 coffee
that crema makin you squirm n shift listlessly
never the semiotic remnant shells
of these nicotine-rushed words
just the chemicals of verbs
the organic slur

yeah but man
I know you all been seein bands n shit
on the schoolnights
sneakin out
gettin riffs
and hair ideas
cooler than some kinda jesus-faced

right now i could
not have packed this pipe
any thicker
the beer cannot
seem to run out
like pandas
in streets without eyes
or an egypt minus
dictators, comedy of syria
and in palestinian tunnels
diggin deeper than nato buses

verges without edges
makin me feel
not some weekend genius
maybe a little curious
never acting on impulse

that up til then these rage moments
cured and cooked and broken
like perfect concrete strutures
waiting for heritage listing
in cages without customs
they seek gaps in fences
waiting waiting waiting

and now I'll shutup
and sit down
and sip on something
and forget
what I just


performed at
Perth Poetry Club
2nd April 2011