Close-Up Books is proud to announce the release of poetry collection When Figs Fly by Jane Downing! The collection is available in both ebook and print editions (by clicking on the image) and you can sample several poems beneath the blurb: Australian poet Jane Downing‘s When Figs Fly reveals life in Australia and beyond […]
Close-Up Books is proud to announce the release of poetry collection When Figs Fly by Jane Downing!
The collection is available in both ebook and print editions (by clicking on the image) and you can sample several poems beneath the blurb:
Australian poet Jane Downing‘s When Figs Fly reveals life in Australia and beyond with a keen eye for poignant details that linger, deftly capturing the beauty of the natural world, the bittersweetness of childhood and memory and exploring the all-too familiar foibles of human nature.
Local Positioning System
This corner is where the gutter backs up and the road floods.
It is dry now and everyone will forget until it rains again.
Keep going, up past where kittens popped out of the drain once, summer
balls of fur and eyes, in front of the house where the piano teacher lived;
she said ‘you have the hands of a flautist,’ so my piano lessons didn’t go far.
This line of trees was lopped around when I was in high school,
see how the branches have been cut to make a canyon for the power lines
to pass through. It’s all built up now: No. 32 is on the spot of the Paddock of One Sheep.
They’ve put a second storey on No. 29 and the hedge around No. 26
used to seem like something from a fairytale; things are taller when you are littler.
Turn right at the corner with the apartments. There was a girl who learned the violin,
she lived in the one on the lower left. Mostly windows are blind eyes but at dusk
she’d put the light on, stage lighting her bowing. Exhibitionist. Maybe I was smarting
from my piano teacher’s words, but I see her ghost in the window every time I pass.
It’s a long straight road next. In summer it is the best way to town because of the plane trees
The temperature drops 10 degrees instantly. And in autumn it rains itchy fluff
with the cockatoos up there ravaging the seed balls. No, that’s not a cockatoo.
It’s a scrap of paper in the wind.
They say these are the days
you’ll remember forever
But you take photos anyway
Then the face in the mirror of the memory
Is not the one in the frame
You are not the little girl
behind the heat haze of cake and candles
You are behind the garage mortified
at finding not one minty in the hunt
But you point the camera at your child anyway
determined to capture a trick of the light
She smiles behind her own singing candles
And you wonder where the memory hides
Detention Deficit Disorder
How do you write a poem about Manus and Nauru
We’ve seen the razor wire footage/ listened to the reports
succumbed to Attention Deficit Disorder – look a celebrity died
Will a well chosen image connect
Move someone to action (not me)
like poetry in the old days recited in the heat of revolution
Does this need a personal anecdote
to give it a punch above lecture/harangue
a poignant quote*
A crisis point to bring into focus the human face
that reveals the inhumanity of our country of the Fair Go
turning a willfully blind eye
and blaming the hypocrisy of smiling politicians
Will a reference to Hitler help any (no)
How could the Germans not have known?
It’s not as if we don’t
History will not be kind
An Apology will be too late
Having written a poem will not have been enough
* ‘Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.’ Robert Frost
Hi folks – here’s a quick note to let you know the ebook versions of my two new poetry collections are slowly filtering down to retailers – I see the Amazon territories and B&N are on it but other folks are lagging a bit.
Still, you can collect the slender teeth of the world for $2.99:
and small town lazarus is available for $3.99
if you’re more in the mood for free verse 🙂
And once again, massive thanks to Vivid Covers (small town lazarus) and also Erik Ly (teeth of the world) for the covers!
I’m just popping in to share some news – I’ve got two collections up for pre-order right now, after a fairly long poetry hiatus I’ve suddenly been pretty busy, one is free-verse and the other is a mix of haiku & senryu – just in case anyone was looking to pick up a Christmas present approximately 7 months early 😀
Most retailers have the paperback now but the ebook is trailing – however Book Depository has free postage at least!
Otherwise, Amazon US has the live links too:
And you can sample some of the poems in a future post, or over here right now at my Medium profile 🙂
You can sample each collection via the links above, where you can also find purchase links for the print editions and the newly available ebooks too.
Ashley & Brooke
This week I’m launching a Patreon page – for folks who’re not familiar with Patreon, here’s a link a short vid explaining it, but in even shorter form: it’s a way for fans to ensure creators can make more stuff!
I’ve launched my page in order to expand my miniature publishing empire by creating audio books and graphic novels, in addition to more great fiction & poetry in ebook and print formats during 2018. I’m pretty excited about this and can’t wait to get started!
If you pledge you’ll get early access to new releases, along with exclusive updates, previews, images, videos, fiction and Patreon-only giveaways too 🙂
So far I’ve shared a super-early cover reveal for Never #6 and will be sharing some more from The Last Sea God and a Q&A video soon too.
The ego of it, right?
Well, with that in mind, I’ve recently released 2006 : 2016.
In this collection, I’ve tried to cobble together 116 or so pages of poetry that I can still look at without chuckling at myself (or worse :D).
There’s also a few pieces in here that might have been previously published individually but which never made it into a collection, something small for longtime readers — otherwise you’ll find a range of free verse, haiku, haibun and senryu spanning the collections pollen and the storm right up to VI.
* * *
When I started sifting through notebooks, old files and the individual collections themselves, I thought I was taking a final step in book-ending my time as a poet. My fiction was selling and I was finding it harder to commit time to poetry, since I had a couple of ongoing series-length fiction works to keep me busy and which readers seemed keen for.
But the more I looked through my old stuff, even the rubbish, the more I missed poetry.
It wasn’t like returning to an old ‘mistress’ or any of those sorts of cliches, it was more like the cliche of returning to a neglected part of me.
Despite the frustration I’d always feel whenever I struggled with a poem, the way I always fought myself over ‘using language poetically’ while still keeping hold of the idea that poetry was ‘an act of communication that actually needed readers’, I was excited to return to poetry because that struggle was also fun. (I was so excited that I did two things, I started writing poetry again and I sought out two poets from Oz whose work I loved and offered to publish their collections, but more on that in another post!).
Now, writing poetry might seem like a rather unspectacular thing for a poet to do. Utterly regular, really.
But it wasn’t regular for me at the start of 2017, and hadn’t been for a long time. I remember looking at my bio on my website one day and asking myself, am I still a poet if I don’t even write poetry anymore? (‘Ex-poet’ doesn’t look as snappy, huh?).
The act of writing poetry had become ‘irregular’ because I’d stopped writing poetry a couple of years ago. I mean, I still tried here and there, but I went from writing anywhere from 2–5 poems most nights to 20 aborted pieces a month, and then to about 5 finished pieces for an entire year.
And I know why, but it took me a long time to figure it out.
Part of it was the fiction — that was taking off in late 2014 and it was fun, I was giving it a proper shot. But the other part of my poetry-drought came from a crash in confidence; I’d totally lost it when it came to verse.
A few years ago, one of my mentors let me down (and the poetry community here in Australia, and overseas too) in a pretty significant way and I hadn’t realised until this year, while putting together 2006 : 2016, just how deeply his mistakes had impacted me.
I’d tied too much of my self-belief to his support.
Once the depth of his plagiarism became clear, aside from the disillusionment I felt, I realised that if he thought I was good and yet he turned out to be dishonest, how could I trust his opinion of my work?
And so I slowly stopped, just kinda gave up on poetry. Stopped writing, stopped sending it in to comps and mags, stopped reading it, stopped looking for it.
And like I said above, I now see it was stupid of me to tie my confidence up that way. I should have been stronger.
But thankfully, putting this ‘least worst of’ together reminded me that I had improved over the years. When I looked at stuff from 2006 and compared it my most recent work, I saw the change. And it reminded me that once upon a time, I’d push through all kinds of flat spots, all kinds of rejections, and just keep writing. My stubbornness would fuel me; I wanted to get better and for a while I think I did get better each year.
Back in Feb, I collected all the poetry I could find and announced what would “probably be my last poetry collection” rather dramatically, I guess. It seemed the right choice at the time, since my heart wasn’t in poetry anymore— not wholly — but now it strikes me as almost childish. And I’ve since realised that poetry really is Hotel California (and that’s okay too).
Now, I’m happy to say that I’m ready to push myself once more in 2018 and there’s gonna be fiction and poetry this time 🙂