2018

I was fortunate to have had a bunch of poems published this year, a mix of new and old work, mostly in places I hadn’t been published before. Thanks to all the editors for selecting these poems, which include my first published cento, an invented form (a bardo), and a poem in memory of my uncle Tony.

Becoming Paruwa (Rabbit, Issue 26: Belonging)
Culture Hero (Plumwood Mountain, Volume 5 Number 1)
The Stone Jar (Grieve, Volume 6)
Fox Dreaming & Philosophy of Mangoes?(Southerly)
still songs to sing beyond mankind (Australian Poetry Anthology, Volume 6)
Another bardo (Cordite, Transqueer issue)

I’m particularly excited to see ‘Becoming Paruwa’ in print. Written in English, Tok Pisin, and Gimi, it is among other things a record of my trip back home to Mengino this year, and the beginning of a longer piece.

Behind the scenes, I abandoned one poetry manuscript, and then somehow finished two others, my first completed manuscripts in more than 15 years. I don’t know that either of them will see the light of day, but I’ve already begun a fourth, and am reading more than I have in years.

This year I’ve also been getting back into theatre and performance after a long break. In June/July I had loads of fun in Impro Melbourne‘s What the Dickens, in which we improvised a one-hour Dickensian play each night and managed to wrestle some wonderfully convoluted plots to satisfying conclusions.

In September, I directed Chalise van Wyngaardt’s?Objectophilia at Melbourne Fringe. Chalise is a talented writer and performer, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her on such a powerfully intimate show. It was good to be doing scripted theatre again.?In October I enjoyed reading some Tok Pisin poetry at my first feature reading in a while at Melbourne Poetry Union’s Multilingual Poetry Reading, along with Ela Fornalska and?Ashima Shukla reading in German and Hindi. Thanks to MPU for the invitation. And in November I performed ‘Becoming Paruwa’ in The Change: Revolutionary Hip Hop Theatre with an amazing collective of performers and activists, including some of Melbourne’s West Papuan community. Thanks Oneal for inviting me to join the crew.

Another thing I haven’t done for many years is publish other writers. But last month I was fortunate enough to collaborate with and publish two young writers for the first time. Our college’s poetry club zine, if only the clouds stopped fluttering…, features vivid, textured work by Ella Cao and Ai Jia Tah. One of this year’s great pleasures has been exploring the world of poetry with them once a week–I have no doubt that their work is destined for a wider audience and wish them every success. (I have a few spare copies of the zine if you’d like to hit me up for a copy.)

Finally, a reminder that you have a few more days to submit to leaf/litter. It might be my last publishing adventure in a while; with study plans on the horizon, and more time and energy devoted to projects in PNG–about which, more eventually–I’m expecting things to be quieter on the publishing front next year, though the writing itch, and the scratching, is as strong as ever.

Hope the end of 2018 finds you well and pursuing what matters. I’m not active much on social media any more, but always up for an email, letter, call, or catchup. May your 2019 be full of wonder, learning, and love.

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Call for submissions: leaf/litter

Lately I’ve been thinking about very small poems and where to publish them. Haiku and tanka have places, but rightly or wrongly I rarely feel like it’s worth submitting my other short work, a lot of which is only one or two lines, to poetry journals.

I wonder if there are other writers out there who have orphans they’d like to find a home for. So here’s a call for submissions to leaf/litter, an anthology of (un)published work with the arbitrary upper (and epic) limit of 9 lines. There is no theme, but I’m interested in ecopoetics, words, quantum logic, queerness of all kinds, voice, spirits, codes, fragments, trauma, freedom, a sense of wonder & play, orthogonal projection, place, transformation & planetary mythopoiesis, the meta & the meat, healing & reconciliation. What does the Earth need said right now?

OK, that’s kind of a theme, but don’t let that stop you from submitting! The anthology will be a fuzzy set that makes no distinction between prose/poetry, critical/creative, word/image, pop/literary, fiction/nonfiction, or form/content, and no correspondence will be entered into about whether a piece fits. The final product will be determined by the selected works, so if your hour-long recording of a flashmob convinces me that it’s 9 lines or less, and essential, the publication will morph accordingly. Since this makes it difficult to budget in advance, payment for contributors will consist of a copy of the publication, whatever that is, and any profits will be donated to Free West Papua. I’d love to end up with a limited edition chapbook that I can wrap in brown paper and post all over the world, but it might be a stapled zine.?Crowdfunding may be used; contributors will be updated with progress towards publication. [Note:?The last time I attempted a print publication, in 2010, it didn’t go well, for many reasons, though I’m proud of the e-book;?I’ll be looking at what can be recovered from that project before this one publishes.]

Subs are due by 11:59pm, 31st December 2018 in your timezone, for publication in 2019. A few notes may be helpful if you think a white Papua New Guinean-Australian who lives in Melbourne and is not particularly well-read would find them useful; please clearly stipulate if the notes are part of the piece to be published, and include references if the material constitutes reuse of or intervention in existing texts, or the piece has been previously published. The longer the explanatory notes the less likely they are to be read; the use of notes may or may not be a way to subvert the guidelines.?Please provide an English translation of any works in other languages; an mp3 file of the original being read would be helpful, if appropriate; let me know if translation is an issue and we’ll see if we can work around it. Indigenous writers are particularly encouraged to send their words.

Send up to 6 pieces as a single attachment or in the body of an email to bychrislynch@gmail.com with an email subject that includes?‘leaf/litter’. Submissions won’t be read until after submissions close; I’ll endeavour to respond to all submissions by the end of February. There are no formatting requirements, but care is always appreciated. Please also include in the body of your email a 50-word bio that names the Indigenous owners of the land on which you live. leaf/litter will be made on Wurundjeri country. Sovereignty was never ceded. Change is possible.

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For my sister & brother-in-law

I was deeply honoured to be asked to read a poem as part of my sister’s wedding ceremony in Sydney last weekend. The reception was held at one of Australia’s oldest glasshouses, the ceremony on the lawn outside beneath a beautiful old fig. It was a memorable day with good people, and I’m very glad I was there for it. Wishing my sister and her new husband all the best on their next big adventureI know they’ll land on their feet in New York.

EDIT (21/5/17): I should add (and should have acknowledged!) that the poem owes a debt for one of its phrases to Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, which begins “Go placidly amid the noise and haste…” I read it today for the first time in years and can see other resemblances, though the poem grew out of an interview with my sister and events leading up to the wedding.

Image credit: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

One Day in April
The Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens

From small suburbs & grand canyons to a city greenhouse,
We gather like gardeners on a well-fashioned lawn
To witness & to share a moment long remembered.
Look around, listen, friends & family of Pat, Patricia, Trish
Of Lynch & Leahy, and Michael John of Noonan, Russell, Sydney.
In the last-minute rush of airports & escalators, smart phones,

Status updates, how easy to forget we’re really here. I remember
How my sister said that she & Michael, no matter where or which way
They’re going, always embrace on escalatorsa suspended, stolen
Moment of calm & clarity amid the noise. I know it’s corny, she said,
And I recognised the thoughtour world so quick
To cut down sentiment, economise, increase efficiency

But what is love if not a thousand tiny habits such as this,
Watered daily by others or just one, like a quiet gardener
Tending to the small but growing forest of a greenhouse?
So listen. Talk. Drink water, drink wine. One day
We’ll look back & remember how we were, here
On the lawn, beneath the branches.

ตู้สล็อตผลไม้ สูตร

 

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New poems

I have a few new poems out: Return, in the latest issue of Cordite (edited by Omar Sakr and Fiona Wright), Monochromist, in the Poetry and Place Anthology 2015, and a couple of haiku in bottle rockets #35–my first haiku to be published internationally.

Thanks especially to editors Ashley Capes and Brooke Linford for the invitation to contribute to Poetry and Place, an anthology of clean lines, quiet spaces, and many wonderful poets. Among others, great to see Andrew Phillips‘s The Home Midwife in print.

Hermit City started out many moons ago as a travel e-mail list. More recently, I’ve mainly used it to self-publish haiku–or attempts at haiku at any rate! Not sure why the website took it upon itself to send out some old posts yesterday, but I don’t think I’ll be posting haiku here much any more. Thank you to everyone who read and commented on them over the years, I very much appreciate the feedback.

What this blog will be for in the future, I’m not sure. I’ve been quiet for a long while, and I expect to be quiet for a while yet as I wrap my head around life in a new city. After a year of change, I’m reading, writing, learning–I hope you are too.

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Hiatus

loading
the old pack again:
one more trip

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Poem 2014/50

reckoner
and on this song
I run

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Poem 2014/49

drinks with the old groundsman?????? who goes there?

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Poem 2014/48

dawn clouds rush towards me… a black bird flicks its tail

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Poem 2014/47

dinner conversation
splits, converges, splits…
old friends

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Poem 2014/46

serenaded
by Beethoven’s ninth
speaker phone

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