Stuart Cooke’s Opera is one of those books that’s changed my understanding of what a poetry collection can do. (It also includes one of my favourite poems, An Overcast Day in Another Part of the World.) In this interview I get the chance to nerd out with Stuart about how he wrote Opera and the poetry that’s been important to him.
Talking with Ed Tato reminded me how many rooms there are to discover in the house of poetry. We go from Ulysses to Kansas to a workshop with Mary Karr, wondering about categorisation, why certain writing resonates, and returning to the fact that some poems demand to be spoken aloud.
After finally getting up to read at Owl and Cat, I was lucky enough to have Amanda Anastasi around to chat about all things open mic, the highs and lows of being a poetry gig convenor and her own approaches to getting something down on the page (in between gigs).
Dave Drayton joins me to chat about his recent book P(oe)Ms, the role of constraint, productive and preventative barriers in writing, and some of the poets who inspired him to try new things when performing his work. We also get into the fraught area of ‘networking’ in the poetry community – is it all just about who you know?
I’ve gradually discovered that Great Uncle Jack Blight was a poet with something to say (and more than a few books under his belt). I delve into his 1965 lecture ‘The Shaping of a Contemporary Poet’, share his advice for other Australian poets (most of which still stands up) and take a few detours into family lore.
Set up your tea/biscuits/wine/other treats because this chat with Melinda Bufton is cosy and joyful. Within the first 10 minutes we’ve covered performance, lyrics, the page, the lyric I, rhyme, feminism and constraint. It gets even better from there.