Humility Publishing

so far i’m my only reader but i like what i see
writing becomes much easier when you can
focus on present company though it be poor

Prater, D., ‘Humility Publishing, Shampoo, 2002

When I began researching the field of self-publishing in Australian poetry in 2005, I envisaged a grand, sociological study in the style of Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction (1984), punctuated with graphs and tables, statistical analysis and interview data, an extensive bibliography of self-published books by Australian poets, and more. In hindsight, it is easy to scorn my own youthful optimism that an entire ‘field’ of self-publishing could thus be summarised in one vast yet mature and restrained tract of epic academic vigour, which I might then go on to self-publish, or even to disguise the extent of my own involvement in.

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Morgenland reviewed by Adam Fieled

I was super-chuffed recently to stumble across a review of my chapbook Morgenland by the impossibly-cool Adam Fieled in the impossible to pronounce (but no less cool because of it) online journal Ekleksographia. As Ekleksographia doesn’t seem to be online anymore, here’s the review in full:

Philip Larkin wrote a poem called ‘The Importance of Elsewhere’ that had to do with the freedom that can only come when you are either traveling or settled in a foreign country. That freedom, and the strangeness that attends to it, are the subject of Morgenland, a chapbook originally released in 2007, while poet David Prater was living in Seoul, South Korea. The poems express culture shock, bemusement, awe, and a feeling of transience or impermanence that has a clear resonance with Buddhist philosophy. We are informed that Ko Un is Korea’s most famous living poet, and in ‘Drunken Ko Un’ we see Prater narrate the following: “Audience of subway strangers. Stagger at them! Pelt/ them with praise! I’m Ko Un, and I’m drunker than a/ poem. This text, pirated, sallies forth upon the bristled/ breeze. Ko Un!” The poet steeps himself in the mysteries of a foreign culture, and his poems become rather like circus mirrors, showing us another culture via his own obsessions, feelings, and responses. Yet the chapbook ends with the poet placing himself ‘Back to the Tourist’, left again in a liminal locale: “freshly paved street/ sheets of burning rubber/ castle motel conventions/ buses without destinations”. The chapbook takes on the flavor of a joyride in stolen (Korean) car, and we travel the width of a circle until we are home again, which is on the road, moving, forever. The message is change; the Buddha would be proud.

Thanks Adam!

Update: oh and thanx also to Adam for profiling one of my poems on his personal blog, as part of a wider discussion about ‘post-avant’ poetry. I’m double-chuffed to be mentioned. Okay, that’s it from me. Time for dumplings.

Lee Ranaldo: Hello from the American Desert

I picked up this chapbook last February in Sydney for AU$15 after seeing Lee Ranaldo’s band Sonic Youth perform its 1988 album, Daydream Nation, in its entirety at the Enmore Theatre. While that concert was the most electrifying experience of my gig-going career (thanks again Joey!), it makes me sad to say that this little chapbook, for all its literary innovations, does not live up to expectations stoked by Ranaldo’s previous writings, including the stone-cold classic Road Movies.

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Morgenland chapbook out now!

Even as the dust begins to settle on We Will Disappear, there’s no time for a busy poet like me to rest. I’m proud to announce that I’ve got a new chapbook out through the highly-esteemed Vagabond Press, whose editor Michael Brennan runs the Poetry International Australia website, and who is, by the way, a very cool guy.

The chapbook is called Morgenland and it contains 19 poems. It’s published in traditional A5 format, with a nice cream cover and a unique photo/image by Kay Orchison gracing the cover. I’ll post a reproduction of the image here soon.

At 24 pages, Morgenland is apparently one of the longest Vagabond Rare Objects chapbooks ever, but don’t let that fool you. Only 100 copies of this little gem have been produced, and each one has been signed and numbered by moi.

This makes Morgenland one of the rarest objects in my (currently flimsy) back-catalogue, so if you’d like to snap up one of my copies, then be fast. I only have ten of these to sell, and at AUD$12 (including postage and handling within Australia), that’s a frickin steal.

To reserve your copy, leave a comment (see link above) and be sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. Otherwise you can email me on davey [squiggle] daveydreamnation {dot} com. For those who are too slow, check back on eBay in a couple of years and get ready to seethe.

Most of the poems were written while undertaking an Asialink residency at Sogang University, Seoul in 2005. You can view the complete set of Morgenland drafts online here. These poems should not be confused with my Imaginary Cities project which is still in the publishing wilderness, but which I know will one day find a home befitting its quirkiness.

Track listing:

ALONE IN AN AIRPORT II
JETLAG WORLD
SOUND OF VITALITY
WHITE SPACE
SNOW GROCER
HOJU BIHANG-GI
NAGASAKI CROWS
TRANS*
THE HANOK FIELDS
DRUNK AS KO UN
MAKKOLLI MOON
MOKOCHUKCHA
SAIHOU JODO
IMAGINARY MAO
SNOW SEA SWAN
LONELY PLANET
ICEBERGS
MORIAPO
BACK TO THE TOURIST III

Liner notes:

An earlier version of ‘Alone In An Airport II’ appeared in this chapbook’s companion volume Abendland (self-published, 2006). ‘Hoju Bihang-gi’ first appeared online in Peril. ‘Back to the Tourist III’ first appeared online in Softblow.

Thank you Nikki Anderson, Michael Brennan, Keiji Minato, An Sonjae, Sang Kee Park, Joseph, Tan, Larissa Hjorth, Alexie Glass, Moon Sun Choi, Joo Young Lee, Kathleen Asjes, Anouk Hoare, Andrew Cook, Sean Heaney, Hiroshi Sasaki, Steve Riddell, Kevin Puloski, Young Eun Pae and Bridget O’Brien. Thanks also to the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australia-Korea Foundation for their generous support.