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So, for those who didn’t make the connection, the thing that ‘happened’ was that I got married, on 10 August 2013, in sunny Stockholm. The picture was taken at a significant moment during the ceremony. I’ll leave you to work that out.
Generally, I’m very wary these days of posting anything publicly online about my private life (okay, let’s have the argument about the NSA and surveillance of Facebook another day) but I was prepared to make an exception for such a wonderful picture.
Now, onto my next post, so that I can increase my average for 2013.
Writers participating get to answer 8-10 questions (about their book/blog/their writing), and then tag 5 other writer friends to post their own “next big thing” the following Wednesday. Ivy’s instructions were for me to post by or before Wednesday, 19 December.
Rather daringly, I’ve followed Ivy’s re-arrangement of the original order of the questions.
Actually, it wasn’t so much a detour as the second leg of my itinerary but WGAF. Anyways, I also presented a paper at the conference, and that’s what this post is really about. As you can see from the image above, my audience was vast. Again, I tell a squeaky little lie. This is what the auditorium looked like ten minutes before my panel started. Which was still at the godless hour of 8.30am on Saturday 23 June 2012.
Thankfully, a few hardy souls ended up arriving to witness me, Alexandra Saemmer and Clara Fernandez-Vara go through the motions. Overall, I was happy with my presentation, which was on the subject of Cordite Poetry Review, the journal of which I used to be the Managing Editor, and its status (or otherwise) as a work of electronic literature (read the full abstract). I don’t have much to say about the content of the presentation itself, but hope I’ll be able to draw something coherent together for the EBR thread dedicated to the conference.
The conference itself was really inspiring—although as usual it just wasn’t possible to catch everything I wanted to see, even for an academic community as small and well-defined as the e-lit scene. Highlights for me included Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux’s brilliant discussion of Dwarf Fortress, the goofy UnderAcademy College ‘panel’, the Taroko Gorge remix panel, Stephanie Strickland and Nick Montfort’s presentation about code commenting in and Florian Cramer’s provocative keynote speech.
I also really enjoyed taking a few days out from an otherwise manic three city tour——NYC, Montreal and Chicago in less than three weeks: never again!——to experience the … serenity? … of Morgantown. So my personal highlights included an impromptu country hoe-down at the local brew pub, the quaint old fraternity and sorority buildings on campus and … most of all … the infamous Morgantown PRT!
Anyway, I’m quite serious about welcoming mashups of my talk. You can listen to and download it above. Use the feedback button on the right hand side of this page if you’d like to send me an mp3. Or if you’d just like to say hello. It takes all sorts.
The Morgantown PRT is a pretty dinky little system, really, but just as described in Bruno Latour’s Aramis, or the Love of Technology, you’re able to choose which station you go to, and your own personal pod will bypass any intermediate stations in order to get there!
My personal highlight, apart from taking a ride in one of these canary yellow future pods (check out the pics in the gallery below!), was spending an evening sitting on the balcony of the Morgantown Brew Pub and watching them glide by in the darkness, a sight I was pretty unsuccessful in capturing with my camera, as you can see in the banner image above.
Anyway, as someone who’s tried to write a PRT into a still-unfinished novel, the whole experience gave me some much-needed inspiration.
The truth is, I haven’t had a whole lot to blog about recently. My new job has occupied a lot of my time, as has socialising with colleagues from said job and, when it comes down to it, who wants to hear how many Jäger shots I’ve had in the last thirty days?
‘And yet’. (I’ll explain the significance of this phrase one day). To answer the question posed by Big Star in the title of their song ‘What’s going ahn?’, I can say the following:
(1) I’ve had an academic article published
Hot on the heels of my post-doc research at BTH in Karlskrona, I’m excited to say that ‘Flash points: Reading electronic literature as a metaphor for creativity’ (PDF), an article I co-wrote with Maria Engberg, has now been published in the latest issue of TEXT Journal. To be exact, it’s a part of a special issue entitled Creativity: Cognitive, social and cultural perspectives, edited by Nigel McLoughlin and Donna Lee Brien. So that’s untold.
(2) I’ve presented a paper in Bristol on the subject of myself. Or, um …
A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Bristol, UK for the final ELMCIP seminar, on the subject of E-literature in/with Performance. I presented a paper entitled Davey Dreamnation and the Performance of Self. Here’s the abstract:
And here’s a pic of me and Davey during the delivery of the paper:
(3) My poem Övergången has been ‘analysed’ online …
K. So, that’s not bad: three cool things have happened. And here’s three more cool things that are destined to happen at some stage in the future:
(4) My poem ‘Wireless’ is going to be published in Overland
Not much I can say about this right now, except that I’m rather chuffed that Overland poetry ed. peter Minter has chosen this poem for inclusion in that erstwhile journal of the progressive left in Australia. Wireless first appeared on my blog last year. But don’t let that stop you from checking out Overland’s cool new website.
(5) ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’ finds a home … of sorts
My poem ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’, dedicated to poet Jill Jones, will be appearing soon as part of a special project. And that’s all I’m saying for now.
(6) I’ll be giving a paper at the ELO conference in June
No, not that ELO. I mean the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) conference, Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints, which is taking place June 20-23 in Morgantown, WV, US of A. My paper, whose semi-absurd title is “Why ‘But is it e-lit?’ is a ridiculous question: the case for online journals as organic, evolving works of digital literature”, will be part of a panel called Practices: Definitions and Pedagogies for E-Lit, and will be delivered at the godless hour of 8:30am on Saturday 23 June. Here’s the abstract:
I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow-panellists Clara Fernandez-Vara (whose paper is entitled “Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings”), and Alexandra Saemmer (“The (problematic) issue to evaluate literariness: Digital literature between legitimation and canonization”). I’m also just looking forward to being in a seriously hot and humid place this summer!
So, that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll see you again in a month or so when I’ve got some more news.
For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past century or so, a neenish tart (see picture above) is a delightful Antipodean invention featuring a pastry base, jam and cream filling and distinctive, two-coloured, almost-yin-and-yang-style icing. It’s the kind of cake you’ll find in any halfway decent country town bakery, and one that (courtesy of my mother’s fondness for them) I’ve developed a fair hankering for over the years. Matter of fact, I could murder a neenish tart right now.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Wagga Wagga. It must have been over a year ago that the Booranga Writers’ Centre in Wagga Wagga, Australia (publishers of the magazine FourW, in which I’ve had a few pieces published over the years) put out a call for poems to be displayed on bus shelters in the town. The call for works immeditely ‘piqued’ my interest, as we say in the industry, as I’d spent a fair bit of time in Wagga Wagga as a young grasshopper, either driving through or else strapped into a dentist’s chair.
While my memories of Wagga are not all fond, I wrote three poems and sent them off. The first one (brace-face) was about getting braces in Wagga Wagga. The second one (“Riverina”) was about playing Aussie Rules in Wagga. And the third poem, the one they accepted, was about a neenish tart. It’s called, surprisingly enough, ‘neenish tart’, and for the benefit of all non-residents of Wagga Wagga, I’ve pasted it below:
There used to be this cafe around here
somewhere – maybe it’s still going, do
you know the one I mean? You could buy
a good neenish tart there, with inch-thick
pastry and an ooze of too-sweet jam. Then
there was cream they must have laced with
sugar and icing to die for. I used to live in a
town to the north of here, it doesn’t matter
which one. What matters is the neenish tart,
the one my mum used to buy me whenever
we drove through Wagga Wagga on our way
home from time trials or footy, it depended
on the season. That tart always tasted good.
I especially loved the icing, it reminded me of
yin and yang. I wonder if it’s still there. One day
I’ll come back and walk down the main street,
ask a few people if they remember the place.
Maybe you do?
The sentiments in this poem almost make me feel a little bit teary now – I remember the taste of that neenish tart as if it was yesterday. Recently, I got an email from Derek Motion, the director of Booranga, informing me that
While I unfortunately won’t be able to make it to the launch, the idea of a bus tour sounds like a great one and I really wish I could be there. As a kind of substitute, Derek sent me this photo of the bus shelter where my neenish tart poem is currently living.
It’s almost like being there, don’t you think?
As you’ll see from the track listing below, the ten most recent poems have careered between subjects, including snow (‘snö’), the moon (‘Hey, Moon!’), David Bowie (‘A New Career In A New Town’), Sun Ra (‘another kind of sun ra’), Valentine’s Day (‘Voor mijn Valentijn’), mystery trains (‘Silverpilen’), birds (‘a little bird tells me’), starsigns (‘starsigns’), Ethiopian superstars (‘(On the tomb of) Ephrem Tamiru’ – pictured above) and plain old heartache (‘Coaxing the heart to heal itself’).
Admittedly, it’s been kind of hard to come up with a new idea, much harder than I thought it would be. It’s clear, looking back, that in some weeks I was very, very on, while in others … meh. What’s even more clear to me is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. Some poems I thought might electrify my (now 57) subscribers passed by without even a whimper, whilst others attracted surprisingly generous responses. My thanks again to everyone who has signed up.
My plan now is to write four to six more poems and then make a little half-way-through-the-year chapbook to send to all of my lovely subscribers. I guess that’s my cue to whack in a little link to the page where you can sign up if you dare!
That track listing again:
A New Career In A New Town
another kind of sun ra
Voor mijn Valentijn
a little bird tells me
(On the tomb of) Ephrem Tamiru
Coaxing the heart to heal itself
After a while she realized she’d made a mistake: the sort of mistake that would never have occurred if she hadn’t been so tired. She tossed the calculations aside. She lit a cigarette, and noticed her hands were trembling. Christabel Barlow, she told herself, you’re damn-all use to anyone in your present state; you need a good sleep, a good meal and a new face; and then perhaps you’ll think straight instead of in ever-decreasing circles. But how can I eat and sleep, she thought, when so much is at stake and time’s running out, not only for Ken and Jim but maybe for hundreds of thousands of others, all over the world? And her eyes strayed to the top drawer of her desk and the little tube of tablets which she’d already delved into twice. I know, she thought, I’ll be like the nymphos in the pulp magazines: I’ll have a benzedrine and a bath.
Donald G. Payne, Flight of the Bat (1963)
But seriously, now that I’m over my little bit of Karlskrona nostalgia – not to mention the monumental (though strangely non-material) process of resigning as the editor of an online poetry journal – it’s probably time for me to start writing in the present, about real things like, you know, all good bloggers should.
Nah, whatevs. Here’s four pictures of the same view out my apartment window instead.
Featuring unauthorised guitar licks from ELT, and a drum beat from a nifty little app called the Rapmaster that I’ve not been able to find again.
Strap yourself in and be prepared.
It doesn’t get much loopier than this.