5 October 2012 Reading / Writing Overland Emerging Poets Series: Stephen Nichols Peter Minter 2011 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets commended poet: Stephen Nichols Stephen Nichols is a Melbourne-based playwright and poet. In 2006 he had a seminal moment and decided he wanted be professional writer. Since then he has had a dozen or so plays produced and has written lots of poetry and short stories. He has a diploma of Professional Writing & Editing, and has recently started his Masters in Writing and Literature. Emergent While I wait for my beard to grow I tie hare’s-ear nymphs with brass bead-heads that imitate the emergent mayfly and caddis. Every morning my wife stands next to me, she doesn’t speak, she doesn’t understand. I am an irritation like the midges that bite her legs. My beard has turned to ivy; it hides a nest of yellow tail finch eggs that if discovered she will eat for breakfast. Water laps at my chin, smelt nibble at my bark, I have become a hollow tree who will soon disappear under the men in fishing boats. Through the meniscus I see the shadow of a mayfly drying its new wings in the evening sun. Gasping for air, I swim towards the sky. Who are you reading now and why do they turn you on? At the moment I am reading the Collected Works of Roger McGough (Penguin, 2004). Roger is my main man, my go-to-guy, when it comes to poetry. When I started out writing poetry I thought my task was to make both the reader and I as depressed as possible. I quickly learnt that this was not a bandwagon I wanted to ride. Instead I sought out poets that made me feel good about myself and the world around me. Roger is one of those poets. I could read Mafia Cats and Goodbat Nightman a million times and they would still leave a grin on my face. How often do you write? Do you have a writing practice? Not often enough. When I write I need to get away from life’s distraction and excuses. More often than not I will go to the Latrobe Reading Room at the Victorian State Library. This writing-space makes me feel smarter and I love the resonance. All the chairs squeak and there is always someone coughing. I actually like noise when I write – I can’t stand the sound of silence. I’m an excellent procrastinator – although I call it thinking. There is no point sitting down to write if you have nothing to say. This is not a lie if you believe it. When you think of Australian poetry, do you see an elephant in the room? If so, what is it? I never think of Australian poetry. I read who I like regardless of where they come from. I am no more inclined to buy a book just because it was written by an Australian author. Having said that, I do love Australian poets like Cate Kennedy and Kristin Henry. Peter Minter Peter Minter is a leading Australian poet and writer on poetry and poetics, and Overland’s outgoing poetry editor. More by Peter Minter Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 23 February 202324 February 2023 Technology From work to text, and back again: ChatGPT and the (new) death of the author Rob Horning Generative models extinguish the dream that Barthes’s Death of the Author articulates by fulfilling it. Their ‘tissue of signs’ seems less like revolution and more like the fear that AI will create a recursive postmodern nightmare world of perpetual sameness that we will all accept because we no longer remember otherwise or how to create an alternative. 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 February 202310 February 2023 Writing Please like, follow and subscribe: the pathos of Patreon Scott Robinson Every Substack page contains a glowing white box just waiting for your email address. This becomes, unavoidably, part of the work being produced. What began as a way to fund work and bring existing ideas into fruition is funnelled by hungry platforms towards an engine of content production that demands we churn out words in structurally-required scripturience. None of this is to denigrate the work of writers, artists and creators supported by such platforms. My point is that we should try and understand the effect these platforms have on the work they claim to enable.