10 October 2012

A poem for my mother

My poem Mama (Nusya), was chosen for Offset Creative Arts Journal (Victoria University)

The poem is really about migration, assimilation and the generation gaps within families. My mother was born in a village in northern China, a village that didn't have paved roads or motor vehicles in the 1950s. In comparison, I was born in the western suburbs of Melbourne back when Billie Jean was in the charts and the Clash was rocking the Casbah and Prince was in his Little Red Corvette (god that makes ME feel old).
The western suburbs today are still home to migrants and often, homes in which people play '80s music.

Our neighbours come from countries as far-ranging as Vietnam and Ethiopia -- so many people have compelling and heartbreaking reasons why they can't stay in their homeland.

My aunt, who works for Queensland government, had this to say. 

It is also good to make people think of what new comers go through during the adjustment period. I still remember traumatic moments of disillusionment and I was only 9!

02 October 2012

small things

I miss those summer holidays, somewhere on the south-east-coast-to-nowhere (for me, a hamlet called Currarong about 3 hours south of Sydney) where time comes to a virtual standstill of sun, small moments and sea water. The sticky night air, on a balcony, with thoughts/songs/voices, laying on wooden slats, crickets, grass itch from earlier......mozzies........aeroguard. Bed then morning coffee, stretch, kookaburra, parrots, bathers, seeing the sun through the underside of a wave. The ocean changing colour with weather and time of day until you are in it, a mood ring, blue for in love, the negative ions in saltwater charging you up like a liquid battery. When summers were so slow you could look at small things like the ends of your hair or mosquito larva in a puddle, the slow arc of the sun, silhouettes. And you forget to appraise yourself, freckles, beach hair, same shorts because you have only time for truly small things and grand things... and grand dreams. 

summer. Vintage good. Vintage bad.

Vintage good. 

On the topic of bikinis and all things summer, this little number from Le Meow is adorable.

And here are some freaking hilarious home interiors I found while searching for my dream home in Castlemaine.

Vintage bad. 

AGENT ORANGE. Yes to Elvis, hanging there like a communist leader. No to the orange being the only element tying this room together. Yes to the wallpaper photo - again, a mainstay in Eastern bloc apartments. And definitely no to the bedspread and Franco Cozzo faux Baroque stuff, including the pompous little legs on the bedside table.

MAGIC CARPET RIDE. Won't take you places that aren't in your own head already.

17 May 2012

April Gertler

Sandra loved her salami.
A5, found photographs, graphite
©2009 April Gertler
I love April Gertler's collages. There is something wildly funny and a little unsettling about them. She's a German born, California-raised Berliner, and she's got a deft touch with a pair of snippers. I think it takes cohones to rip into an old photograph (found or inherited) and subvert it like this.

Emerging Writers' Festival

Gearing up for the Emerging Writers' Festival. I've been calling it my 'coming out' as a poet.
You can see me perform alongside Matt Blackwood and Sophia Chapman.

16 May 2012

time capsule

A time capsule letter, sent to me a year after I wrote it at an exhibition at Abbotsford Convent. I struggled with the mechanics of the wilful typewriter. I'm not sure which personas I am inhabiting here but it made me guffaw and sigh by turn. I hide little keepsakes to find at later dates. There is one cheap envelope with 'Open in year 2000' on it. It contains a lock of my hair from when I was 12. I keep everything like this locked up in a red Samsonite suitcase from, me thinks, the '60s.

My very best love dove, Wanda, is away in Paris for two months. She has a residency at the Cite de Arts. I am not kidding you, her apartment has a view onto Notre Dame. I lived for two weeks in a 16 euro a night hotel in Montmatre when I was 20. I had a view of a brick wall and a communal shower/toilet block, and still I felt like I was somewhere. 

As summer approaches the northern hemisphere, I get melancholy remembering some of the dream bright excursions I have made abroad. Sometimes, just quietly, Australia feel so so small and fragile. You have to keep everything the right way up or it will tip over and break. 

06 May 2012

Melbourne poet society

Since their inception, cafés have been meeting places for scheming revolutionaries, rendezvousing lovers and the creative avant-garde alike.

   A great café is more than the sum of its parts - a cup of coffee, a hot meal and a place to consume it. Whether it’s the décor, the ambience or something intangible, like the idea that we are more than what we eat, we need places that nourish our minds – not just our bodies. Thanks in part to the caffeine and people-watching opportunities, cafés are also stimulating places to work. 

                  I came to The Moat Café as resident poet. Australian Poetry decided to give me the opportunity, over six months, to pen words at The Moat and mingle with the public (in an official capacity of course). The Australia-wide Café Poet program is doing its bit to reinstate the idea that cafes are important cultural meeting places. 

                  The Wheeler Centre, which houses the AP office and The Moat, is a handsome 19th-century bluestone building. Sitting just above subterranean level, The Moat has romance - between the red walls and their slight revolutionary wink and the overall nod to nostalgia. If I squint, (and I may be taking a bit of poetic licence here), I can almost see the Stray Dog Café – a St Petersburg institution that hosted the Acmeist poets.

To read the full article - stay tuned for the launch of Essentials Magazine iPad app... it's pretty sexy. 

Varia Karipoff will be the resident Café Poet from June through November.

May 30, 2012, 3 pm

The Moat Cafe
The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Australia, 3000

Come along for a relaxing afternoon in The Wheeler Centre’s Café, The Moat.
Current cafe poets will talk of their experiences and read poetry, and we launch a brand new cafe poet at the Moat.