21 January 201529 January 2015 Writing Emerging poet series: Marty Hiatt Peter Minter Marty Hiatt is a Melbournite. Before realising he was a poet he erroneously wrote a novel. It ends badly. He also translates and occasionally writes criticism. He is the author of the chapbooks Rook’s Lair on a Lever (2012), portfolio of nothing file of cream (2013), and festivalize this (2014), which he put out himself with Bulky News Press. Now that he’s learnt basic layout and has a clandestine printing network, he’s beginning to publish others too. please, step into my orifice no wayt the page hurts bracing again in scabrous abeyance wonder wounderer with the pounding drum for to convince oh yea to be along so say my twin my twin and his the team are saying being out and doing by surface reach sonic rope thrown dragnet edge still falling say no and am say yes and am and arent say and rope thrown folly rope and hubris anchor spinning dead nathless we are all here , between , we are not all there a talk or similar a cage of rhythm the many of happenings i touch them all with imitation rope melody stolen from my twin in ruction at playgroup i recount nothing no wayt i liken everything being of no interest making mocking with adze air of confusion hanging in an english language who left my insides on st kilda rd a gift to being in the eventine city in the permanent interregnum a talk or similar a mess, first and foremost her first in 11 years a sector of ordinary reality sent to transfer station for processing civet extracted from civet lets celebrate the centenary of military aviation weve come so far with our propellants ratcheting us up suspension of crimes and high-tensile trials over midden-guard air of confusion hanging in the unstill interregnum rounds of intensive talks parallel to official negotiations preliminary and secret talks in an english reality in an english dragnet nuclear climate peace talks closing the space they open squatting the generic haven the team are saying time for cool heads and cold bodies all here not all there all propelled by a single space a single sprocket clunk into the clinker endless cage stretching beyond the atmosphere the touch of air on bare iron stave confusion construed from parallel law talks are along to envelop exteriors and many of happenings the arras of the eventine talks each with their own way in to the high-tensile stoff and fandangled clinch lugging kith and problems and imitation rope the team are saying straddle the symbol you veteran juggernaut of no interest woven silken traps abound in a sector of an ordinary english language wrapped around particle-wave scars lets celebrate a mess, first and foremost and finish up the bruise whatever it is with an adverb bursting through the infinitive a boundless yes Who are you reading now and why do they turn you on? I read all kinds of things at once. I used to feel guilty about it but no longer. It’s a vaguely neurotic obsession. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re doing or why. You aren’t necessarily being turned on, maybe you are trying to flee the text before you, the serifs and the stops. But you soon learn to make friends with your neuroses and collaborate. The major reading experience of the past year has been (randomly) discovering and devouring Kevin Davies. I had been pursuing a kind of open-form writing, but vaguely, blindly, (obsessively,) trying to explore a particular space, and I failed at it but I also couldn’t give up on it. Then Davies’s books fell into my lap and they were a superlative realisation of what I was only dreaming of. He had evidently done all kinds of hard work exploring the formal and spatial possibilities of his writing, and the result is that the organisation of it projects particular phrases over great distances, like darts that land elegantly in unsuspecting eyes. The cumulative effect of it makes it effectively uncitable. The language radiates. There’s no shame in reading such books three times over and still being thirsty for more of it. I’ve also been checking out a number of younger UK writers, in mags like Materials, No Prizes, Hi Zero. I especially enjoyed recent chaps by Ian Heames, Justin Katko, Ulli Freer. I just ordered one by Lisa Jeschke. Of those whom one is always reading, I’ve recently dipped into Spicer, Raworth, and Berrigan from ‘there’ and Ryan, Brown, Edwards and Farrell from ‘here’. Then there’s those you’re translating, which lately has been Char and Michaux. And then of course the locals, those going into it with you, those with whom reading and writing are almost no longer separated, but get all knotted up into a giant virtual (and neurotic!) skein of sovereignties. I am not reading any Paris Review interviews with writers. How often do you write? Do you have a writing practice? I write obsessively, continually, sporadically, haltingly, despairingly, pathetically, maniacally, numbly. I jot down notes, copy things down, hew bad prose, abuse other works, collage my own, sit down with blank paper and just force it, etc. I’m getting to the point where to even do anything I have to have first written it down on a to do list. It all goes through the text. I’ve long since banished any idea of routine. It’s often just an fetish image of dedication. When you actually commit yourself, the need for this fetish evaporates. You get to the point where you need to ‘make time’ for things that aren’t poetry. If the practice could be described as “as variously as possible”, there are still some common elements. You pitilessly disrupt your own tendency to inertia, to the factory farming of your language (unless that is itself a disruption of something else), you ruthlessly attack your ego with a poison-ink-tipped arrow when it starts to slip back into trying to be a ‘good’ writer, you try to invent practices as much as create poems. Most importantly, you persist, however vainly, in assuming your finitude. At a basic level there’s a feeling that comes on, a symptom. Schiller described it as a musical mood (as opposed to a having something to say), but for me it is more like an onto-historical migraine, a total despair at even the possibility of being what one is, being a someone, being this person, being anything at all, and things generally being how they are, as insane as they are, as deliberately hideous as they are. We tend to align this despair with the inability to employ language, but the thing about it is that it also effects a kind of breaching of the given bounds of the selves, institutions and objects (whether conformist or critical) that we take to constitute our world. And that is invaluable to art. To pass from the migraine to actually writing necessitates an acceptance of one’s ignorance not of ‘who one really is’, but of what one is literally doing right at that moment: writing, considered in its utter exteriority. The funny thing about accepting this ignorance, which is a way of assuming finitude, is that it both proves your despair right (it is indeed impossible to be who one is, etc., etc.), but at the same time it obliterates it, because it renders it powerless to inhibit your actions. This is a kind of minute yet supreme defiance of the despair and its causes, and their supposed ability to silence you, or to determine your behaviour in any way whatsoever. Ignorance also mars your ability to evaluate what you create, not to mention your ability to truthfully discuss the process of writing in the abstract. When you think of Australian poetry, do you see an elephant in the room? If so, what is it? Leaving aside the politics of national cultures (which others in the series have already adequately broached), I’d say that one of the many elephants in the room is dissensus. Disagreement is as pervasive and profound as it presumably always has been, and with art it is often absolute. ‘“Don’t mention the War” is the reigning protocol.’ What is wanting is the means and willingness to assume the reality of it: to be willing to take clear positions, to develop arguments for them or against others, to produce a discourse that is grounded in the basic separation of the work or argument from the one making it, and in the recognition that the culture one is creating and participating in is a public one, no matter how incestuous it may seem. This is obviously a sort of meta-elephant, in that poetry is (in)different to any discourse about it. And perhaps that goes some way to explaining why we poets can be so dismal at it. But at the same time, the recognition of the difference should mean that people are capable of both. With almost no social differentiation between those who write poetry and those who write about it, those who publish it in books and journals, those who offer grants, those who are friends with poets, etc., it isn’t enough to wait around for non-poets to come help out. “We will never agree, or come to an agreement.” Of course we won’t, but discourse has other goals and benefits than accord. Friends as well as supposed enemies stand to gain much more from substantial and rigorous disagreement than either vague publicising or acrimonious take-downs, both of which stem from bloated egos and foster an air of generalised meaninglessness. I don’t mean that anyone active in poetry should be obliged to enter into any kind of discussion of their work or of someone else’s. I only mean that those who do so should ensure that what they contribute is free of both flattery and ressentiment and full of thought pursuing itself, rather than the other way around. Links Bulky News Press Cordite January Overland transit of venus Otoliths put down the years 3 poems whats 5 translations of Nicolas Born Tumblr 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 Writing 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.