Pimpin’ my portfolio

Now that the messy task of fixing the broken links on this website is, temporarily at least, over and done with, I’ve been working on a better way to present the various books, theses, websites and projects that I’ve either produced or been involved with over the years.

Using the Portfolio Post Type plugin, which creates a custom post taxonomy for portfolio items, and the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin, which makes it easier to create fancy-looking blocks on pages and posts, I’ve come up with a new Works page, which simply lists all of my portfolio items.

At this stage I’m mostly concentrating on my poetry publications prior to 2014. For each work, I’ve tried to provide some contextual information, metadata, links and a PDF download.

In cases where I’m not able to provide a download—for example, my two full-length poetry collections were only published in print, and are both now out of print—I guess I’ll need to come up with some other solution.

Eventually the Works page will also feature other non-poetry projects and more recent books. More on that in due course!

Between Empires: the reissue

Like the poems in The Happy Farang, the pieces that make up the two parts of Between Empires—namely, Peace Falls and Forever Wende—are predominantly about the travelling experience. In fact, pretty much every series of poems I’ve ever written is about travelling. Seems I’m not much good at (or interested in) anything else.

Anyway, here we are in 2012, and I’m knee-deep in some kind of sentimental journey whereby I’m going back through all of my old writings, looking for affirmation. But affirmation of what? The fact that I was actually writing? Or travelling? Or writing about travelling? Gaaaah!

Reading these poems again is a slightly awkward experience for me, although I’m hoping that others don’t feel that way. I get the feeling that there’s something missing in the lines, perhaps a result of the fact that they were composed by hand (i.e., hand-written) and then typed up in a word processing programme. But there’s something else missing, and I’m not even quite sure what it is.

I guess a lot of travel writing has to grapple with a sense of being out of time, or place. These poems certainly don’t ‘belong’ in the context in which they’re now being presented to the world. They’re a bit like the poem ‘Thomas Pynchon and the Art of Anonymity Maintenance’, which I wrote while in Thailand, and which appears in The Happy Farang, but which has nothing to do with either Thailand or travelling.

During my travels in 2002, I was on a train heading from NYC to Buffalo, when I saw this guy sitting across from me, who I will swear to this day was Thomas Pynchon himself. I tried to engage him in conversation, but to the end he swore his name was Jerry. Perhaps the spirit haunting the poems in Between Empires is also called Jerry. Perhaps he never existed.

In any case, it would be another three years before I wrote about Pynchon again. But that is the subject of another blog post. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these poems for what they are: brief excerpts from an itinerary long since forgotten; random thoughts from a diary never kept.

Download volumes I and II of Between Empires: Peace Falls and Forever Wende.

Postscript: my lecture on self-publishing (November 2011)


Talk about serendipity – just after I published this post I discovered that the entire lecture is now on Youtube. So I’ve embedded the vid below. Personally, I won’t be watching all eighty minutes of it – after all, I had to fricking live it the first time around.

In November 2011 I gave a lecture at BTH on the subject of my PhD thesis. Below I’ve posted some of the introductory remarks I made, as well as a link to the Powerpoint presentation I used. Enjoy!

Hi everyone, and thanks for coming to my lecture today. As you’ve just heard, I’m a post-doctoral researcher here at BTH, working on the ELMCIP project. In order to become a post-doctoral researcher, I of course first had to complete a PhD, which I did at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

The title of my thesis was Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry. And it’s this thesis that I’m here to talk to you about today. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about the best way to introduce myself to you. And I first thought that I could start off by introducing a series of anecdotes about my life, in the style of an old school professor.

If I were to make such an introduction in front of a group of students and staff from a programme in digital culture, I’d probably begin by recalling the first time I ever used a computer, which was the Commodore 64 computer in 1980 at the age of 8. I’d then go on to recall my experience of watching The Return of the Jedi at roughly the same age, on pirated video.

I’d maybe even throw in a couple of references to other old school technologies – like the fact that I lived in a small country town which was the last place in Australia to be hooked up to a manual telephone exchange, complete with an operator who knew where everyone was at any given time of the day, and who would have to manually connect calls using various plugs and sockets.

I’d then go on to describe, fondly, my memory of the first time I ever saw an automatic teller machine. My father having worked as a bank manager, I’d then mention the fact that all of the computers used in the bank were supplied by the Burroughs company, one of whose beneficiaries was the (some would say great) writer William S. Burroughs.

I’d then try and make some connection between all of these things and the fact that I typed my first story on a computer at the age of ten, and have been using computers in one way or other ever since. Nevertheless, I’d conclude my opening remarks by saying that despite all of the changes that have occurred over at least the last twenty years in the way we use technology to make creative works – stories, poetry, music, motion pictures, photography, LOLcats – I still believe in the magical power of the printed word, and the symbolic power of books.

But in the end I decided not to go with such an introduction, and so instead we’ll start here.

What followed was based on an earlier rant entitled Notes Towards an Imaginary Thesis: Stanzaland, which I posted back in 2009. As part of the lecture, I also read a number of poems from The Happy Farang, We Will Disappear and Dead Poem Office. The Powerpoint presentation mostly contains images and probably doesn’t make much sense but I’m making it available here as a PDF, for posterity’s sake.


Invitation to a lecture …

Invitation to: Public Lecture and Poetry Reading: organized by BTH Department of Culture and Communication and the EU-Art Line Project

You are invited to attend the following public lecture and poetry reading sponsored by the Art Line project, Digital Art Platform Initiative, and organized by the BTH Department of Culture and Communication.

Lecture Title: “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses – Publishing and Self-Publishing in the Field of Poetry,” presented by David Prater, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Researcher, BTH, Department of Culture and Communication)
Date: Nov 16, 2011, 15.15-17.00
Room: C413A
BTH, Campus Gräsvik (Karlskrona, Sweden)

This lecture will be based on Dr. Prater’s PH.D. thesis, entitled “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry.” The presentation will examine examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published poetry chapbooks and will discuss issues of authorization and reputation raised by the confusion between ‘vanity publishing’ and ‘self-publishing’ as cultural practices. While the thesis does not specifically address the place of digital self-expression within the cultural field, the lecture will offer a chance to discuss the impact of electronic writing on the literary field and on literary arts in the current age of digitalization. Examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published books will be available for viewing during the lecture, which will also incorporate readings from these works.

This lecture is organized by BTH researchers in the Department of Culture and Communication and in the Digital Art Platform initiative within the EU-funded project Art Line. Art Line is an International cooperation between the academy, cultural institutions and tourism within the Southern Baltic region to explore art innovation in physical and digital space. The Digital Art Platform seeks to research, promote, and publish art and creative critical practices informed by developing media phenomena, technology, and artistic expressions.

About David Prater:

David Prater was born in Australia in 1972. He holds a BA from the University of Sydney, an MA from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. His first poetry collection, We Will Disappear, was published by papertiger media in 2007, and Vagabond Press published his chapbook Morgenland in the same year. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international journals, and he has performed his work at festivals in Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Macedonia. He has also undertaken two writers’ residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and has worked extensively as a teacher, editor and researcher. Since 2001 he has been the managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review, an online journal of Australian poetry and poetics. He is currently undertaking post-doctoral research on electronic literature and pedagogy at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola as part of the Electronic Literature as a Model of Creative Practice (ELMCIP) project.

For more information about the lecture/reading, contact: Lissa Holloway-Attaway, Senior Lecturer at BTH (lat@bth.se) or Aje Björkman, Information Officer at Art Line (aje.bjorkman@artline-southbaltic.eu)

Övergången, the chapbook, out now!

I’m thrilled to say that Övergången: Tio Dikter, my new chapbook, is hot off the vanity presses and was launched this week as part of the Södermalm Poetry Festival in Stockholm.

The 10 poems in the chapbook appear in both English and Swedish, thanks to the sterling translation work of Linda Bönström and Boel Schenlaer. I’ll be posting the Swedish translations here shortly.

I gave two readings as part of the festival: on 28 September in Kungsträdgården, and on 29 September at the Stockholms Stadsbibliotek (Stockholm City Library).

Here’s what festival organiser Boel Schenlaer had to say about the event:

The morning papers did not write about the festival, nor did the radio or television news comment on it or welcome the audience to it. In Sweden that is perfectly normal nowadays. It is as if they had some no-poetry campaign going on. The Swedish media, as if with a collective gesture, have done their best to cut off the unseen golden thread between poets and audience, speaking in general terms. The Swedish bookstores have tried their best to do the same; to try to cut off the red thread of poetry from the books to the readers. But what they do not understand is that the poetry thread is both thicker and more difficult to cut off.

Read the rest of her writeup online.