Some fun follows.
Yesterday I spent most of the day at the University of Canberra, at a poetry symposium organised by UC’s new International Poetry Studies Institute (or ipsi for short). It was a very thought-provoking day with a number of papers addressing various aspects of ‘Poetry, Creativity and Knowing’.
In between taking actual notes and scribbling down ideas to chase up, I also composed a found poem with various phrases taken from the papers and from audience questions.
Given the poem’s title, you may wonder why we were talking about Whitlam* at a poetry symposium. Ah. That would be because one of the speakers, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, made a slip of the tongue for ‘Whitman‘.
As Whitlam wrote:
It goes without saying
I am going to offend most of the people in this room
I am a concrete, time-bound entity
I want to say something in favour of resurrection
Steady yourself against me here
To whom will I offer this witty little book ?
I acknowledge the elders past and present
I am what you say I am
I am, more often, not to be found
(These are not two stages, but one)
Everybody knows that in fact men think but rarely
Always first press ‘ESCAPE’
*For non-Australian, and younger Australian, readers: ‘Whitlam’ in the title refers to Gough Whitlam, an ill-fated former Australian Prime Minister. No, not the one who drowned, the one who was removed from office, along with his government, by the Queen’s representative, the Governor-General, in November 1975 – a dramatic event still known as The Dismissal. Hence his interest (in the poem, at least) in resurrection, stability, rarely-thinking men, and escape.