So I finally finished Peripheral Light a couple of days ago – obviously it’s taken a while if you look how long ago the first Kinsella poem was posted on this blog. The poems in it aren’t always easy to love, but the highlights are real highlights. I came across a quote from Coleridge today, on the aim of poetry, that seems to sum up the below excerpt: “The best words in their best order.” New Norcia is near Perth; I have no idea what the miracle there might have been.


gaze upon this phantasm, doctrinaire line

months in getting back, against this house freed
from Satan’s urging towards it, as we retell
it, as part of wheatbelt miscellany, our greed

for crossover myths and stories, hard sell
prayers that play their politics, right-wing
politicians on display in the roadhouse, the hotel

with its cells under new management. Sing
psalms to olives and scrub, the blistering heat–
the searing kind that gets under skin, cauterising

and lifting like paint, art patron; that will entreat

[Read in Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems, published by Norton. The full poem can be read here:]



(To a Black Dancer in the Little Savoy)

Of the jazz-tuned night
Sweet as purple dew,
Like the pillows of all sweet dreams,
Who crushed
The grapes of joy
And dripped the juice
On you?

[Read in Vintage Hughes. Ripped from]

occupation, by Joshua Ip

21 November 2012

A poem as something to accompany (either corroborate or refute or problematise) a news story from today: “Singapore is world’s least emotional country, poll finds”


protesting you, i’ve occupied myself
with nothing much at all, i’ve pitched my tents
across the pathways of my common sense.
i pose a public threat to my own health,

not bathing, eating, sleeping. i’m revolting
against your brash takeover of my mind:
i hurt myself, and you respond in kind,
by leaving me alone.

————————–before assaulting,
the cops of my subconscious will attempt
to warn me of the errors of my ways.
i am unlawful – my nonviolent
protest endangers me – the experts say
this will all end in tears – it’s just a temp-
orary irritant – like pepper spray.

[Read in Sonnets from the Singlish, published by Math Paper Press.]

Pat Rafter, saviour of Australian tennis,
mantains a comfortable existence on Bermuda;
the flight of balls determined by the weather
which island-culture makes more tropical
than it should–the concentration of emptiness
and expectation like nationalism postponed
and sent offshore–the Queen’s English
an experimental turn of phrase on the front
doorstep of liberty, the fraternal vanishings
of flight on flight of the right stuff, as if play-
station IS living, as if a package holiday
has you hungering after the wealth
of the pyramids, concentrated to an echoing
point of ambiguity, like the limitations
of radar,and re-runs of The Day the Earth
Stood Still–remaining black and white
as childhood–making an ocean of the river,
the bright ship whispering through the ever
widening hole in the ozone layer.

[Read in Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems, published by Norton. Ripped from]

k ge zhi wang attends a poetry reading.
he’s bored. they really are just reading poems.
the title’s not the slightest bit misleading.
where’s the performance? he wants to go home.

in karaoke, in his element,
originals are shunned. one is expected
to perform the standards before vent-
uring into new tunes. it’s called respect:

to the k gods, who echo in the ether;
to captive audiences who retain
the option to join in at the refrain.
he has the following feedback for the reader:

   read me familiar stories, stanzas, quotes –
nobody wants to hear what you just wrote.

[Read in Sonnets from the Singlish, published by Math Paper Press. ‘K ge zhi wang’ is, literally, ‘karaoke king’.]

He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on —
He stuns you by degrees —
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers — further heard —
Then nearer — Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten —
Your Brain — to bubble Cool —
Deals — One — imperial – Thunderbolt —
That scalps your naked Soul—

When Winds take Forests in their Paws —
The Universe — is still —

[Read in Everyman’s Selected Poems. Ripped from]