2006 : 2016 (a ‘least worst of’)

The ego of it, right?

Of course there’s got to be at least some involved any time I post, since the very act of sharing my stuff implies that I think it doesn’t suck.

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 🙂

City of Masks/Between Giants&Old Stone Giveaway

Insanitek‘s book club are running a cool giveaway where you can win a print copy of both the City of Masks and my latest poetry collection, Old Stone & Between Giants !

bgandos(small)cityofmasks kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All you have to do to enter is spread the word a little – jump over here and take a look 🙂

You can also read an interview I did with Grace from Insanitek, which was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve done; we covered a lot of ground from Italy, tourism, poetry and fiction!

(I’m a bit behind in mentioning this – the comp has been open for a while but closes in 10 days!)

 

yellows

the city worries. its streets fill like ants before rain. shopping bags shackle. the wind rustles taxis. roads are liquorice chewed, spat into lines. wheels hijack space, stray leaves take on thuggish cigarette butts in gutters. ring-pulls hitchhike. twenty-foot women skyscrape, sell, sell, sell. lights remain tight-lipped. ‘closed’ signs are never circles. glass cools. silver sprinkles the hats, horn notes fight through the ragged tap dance of trams. alleys leak. fast food yellows everything.

 

 

(first collected in between giants in 2012)

old stone & between giants – print & ebook available now

Very pleased to announce that my latest poetry collection – a combination of two of my previous collections – is now available in print and ebook form from a variety of retailers 🙂 bgandos(small) Click on the image for some samples of the poetry and see below for a list of some of the outlets. Signed copies will also be available from me directly toward the end of the month 🙂

Ginninderra Press – print

Angus & Robertson – ebookprint

Collins the Bookseller – ebook

Amazon – ebook print

Barnes & Noble – ebookprint

Between Giants & Old Stone – Combined Edition

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know that Ginninderra Press is soon releasing a combined edition of my last two collections between giants and old stone: haiku, senryu & haibun in both digital and print formats.

Right now you can actually pre-order the kindle version for under five dollars – there’s over 100 pages of poetry in there so it’s longer than my usual collections. I’m very excited about this one – here’s the new cover and stay tuned for a print release, which should be around the same time as the June release of the ebook.

Amazon AU
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

bgandos(small)

 

 

March Poetry Sale (and fiction)!

Let’s have a bit of a sale!

For the rest of March, signed copies of all my poetry collections are on sale (and my fiction titles too) so if you’d like to grab some poetry for cheap let me know here or send me an e-mail 🙂

mountain0ash[at]gmail[dot]com

(that’s a ‘zero’ in the address)

 

 

P o e t r y

 

All titles $5 posted

pollen and the storm

pollen and the storm cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stepping over seasons

stepping over seasons cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

between giants

betweengiants(web)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

old stone: haiku, senryu & haibun

old stone - haiku (larger)2 - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$3 posted

orion tips the saucepan

orion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Years

7yearsPP(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F i c t i o n

 

$10 posted

The Fairy Wren

tfw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$15 posted

City of Masks (original cover)

CityofMasks(final)

between giants (a poem, not the collection)

I am slow of words
tired to speak them
mouth confetti-ed
making plausible
the unsurprising
with dull iron
wrapped, drawn
beneath eyes
no moondog, no
not at all, I’m thrilled
I’m thrilled and com-
pletely stopped
by his lament and
not even close to
keeping up with his
shadow, of course
I do not expect to:
I am rusted to chair
I am part of the class
I am between giants
I am lamp light
I am pots on ledges
I am blooming in-
doors with the scent
of rain crowding
glass and I am ever
having to repeat honey-
ed phrases to placate
tadpoles lining up
to be thrown into
the pond by my frail
hands.

 

(this one was going to be in the collection but I didn’t feel like it was strong enough to be the titular poem and so it never made it in at all in the end 🙂 )