When I first started posting poetry on the Overland site, I was visited by Gingatao. And visited. And visited and visited and visited. I sent an email to Jeff: who IS this guy? But on further investigation Gingatao, aka Brisbane blogger-poet Paul Squires, is everywhere online that there is poetry, and poetry is everywhere on line he is, creating mayhem across cyber-space. If you are an Australian poet who blogs, you have most likely come across him. Poet-bloggers hate him. Poet-bloggers love him. They hate to love him and they love to hate him. Given the combination of poetry and blogging that’s been the last two weeks of the Overland blog, I thought I’d vox-pop the man and reveal some of the mystery behind the poet not short on confidence or comments:
Poetry blogging – why?
So many reasons. To be part of a creative community that isn’t geographically bound but which happens in real time. Because the discipline of posting regularly has been good for my writing. Because the old fashioned way is so slow and exclusionary. Because the internet (and in performance) is increasingly where poetry happens before its dessicated mummified corpse ends up on display in the museum of literary respectability. It’s fun.
Really all you do it for?
That and the fact that the capitalist, colonialist, militarist scum have control over both the education system and the media. They’ll never get control over the internet and it is the most subversive, democratising tool since the printing press. Information is power, people talking to each other is power.
How long poetry blogging?
My first post is dated August 17 2007. It’s a love poem (another reason why I started by putting the poems in a blog instead of trying to get them into literary journals, unfashionable ‘sentimentality’). It’s called, without any irony, Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
Why not print?
Why not both?
What if someone steals your shit?
Smack them up side of the head with a sledgehammer. People scan paper journals into a computer and steal that too. As soon as your work becomes public it might get stolen. When I post something on the internet it is time and datestamped and everyone knows it’s mine. No-one could get famous or significantly monetise my work without me and hundreds of other people knowing about it. This is the old chestnut, last resort, of the fogeys who don’t like poetry blogging because it undermines their positions as arbiters of quality and taste. It will pass away just as the idea that journals won’t publish poems that have been in a blog has passed away.
Are you serious?
Being a poet is not about writing a poem, it is about building a coherent body of work over a lifetime. Being a poet who is completely serious all the time is like painting a landscape without any sky.
Are you crazy?
Have sanity and conformity become the same thing? Taoism is an ancient and noble philosophy. Einstein and Stephen Hawking both agree that time is not linear. Eccentricity (like being unhealthy or poor) is now seen as a kind of moral failure. The Australian literary scene is as boring as batshit, which is why no-one except the people involved give a fat rat’s arse about it. Let’s have the old discussion about the connection between creativity and seeing the world differently. No I am not crazy but I am capable of writing in a range of different voices, sometimes in the same sentence.
Who visits your blog?
The other day someone got to my blog by searching for “an Australian poem about bastards”. That made me very happy.
Seriously who visits you?
Funny, smart, interesting, creative people from all over the world.
Can we trust you?
Every writers voice is an artifical construct. I am not asking anyone to trust me. Evaluate the ideas, enjoy the writing. Besides everyone knows the scariest people in the world are those who make the most effort to appear normal and likeable. The number of people I have offended, it should be quite obvious I’m not lying to you in order to get you to like me or to trust me.
Why are you smiling like that?
I am smiling because change was necessary and change is happening.
Plug your blog.
I do my best in my blog. I have always done what I can to improve Australian poetry and give it a voice on the internet. Lots of people from all over the world enjoy my writing. Come and see why. (But please don’t arrive waving a fistful of documents and claiming to be very important.)
Plug it again.
My poetry has been read over a hundred thousand times in two years. I am the loudest (at last count most widely read) Australian poet on the internet.
the pornography of the self
I have a red rubber nose and bright red fingernails,
a green felt hat and an oversized geranium.I have a history of Abbie Hoffman,
a box full of astonishing connecticons,
assistance apparent from mysterious sources,
a Chinese Puzzle Box
and several spies with flowerpot eyes but
because you asked so nicely,
(the grass is damp but
i will still sit on it i
have a new book of
written by worldfamous
masters of modern haikuschmaiku
so i will sit
on the damp grass
on my fat arse
and read it.)
I could be waving a polkadot flag and creating revolutions of clownish
mayhem, throwing flour bombs at the smugly complacent and
confabulating the hypocritical but because you asked so nicely I will
just sit here on this damp grass staring blankly into a mute mirror
and practise the pornography of the self.