Letter to a young poet.

April 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Posted in australian poetry, memoirs, sheer selfindulgence | 12 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

With all due respect and so as to bury the point deeper under unnecessary verbiage.

How to make a magazine.
Pick a name, Jacket or foam:e or Cordite. Maybe not them, I think they are owned already, then select a template, find a techie who loves to fiddle with computers if necessary or just start with a free wordpress blog but spend twenty bucks on getting the dot wordpress removed. Ask your friends who presumably can write for submissions and throw links. Ask them to write cool stuff about how hip your magazine is and how cool it is to be in it. Silliman is only famous because he and his mates namipulated the grooogel algyrhythm. It works by weighting links, not the traffic that goes through them. A good internet writer can write good links. And what a cool job, man. Wherever you are bash out a bit of citizen journalism or poetry or plain old fashioned bullshit, like Silliman whilst sitting on a beach drinking beer anywhere in the world. You are all too prissy and poetical.

Haha, Friday night. Anyway staplers and photocopiers are dangerous and when a kid wants to know something about poetry he googles it. Create your own careers you lazy cynical bastards. What do they teach at universities these days. Did you see Tao Lin, selling shares in his publishing future? Haha. It’s not hard but you gotta be smart, smarter than me cos I am too honest. Have fun. It’s the only thing that works, my friend, if that is  not a premature assumption. Oh, and write everyday if you can and put it in public, it is good for your writing.

How much did Goethe write, by candlelight,
(A response to this brilliant piece of writing by Derek, Mr Motion.)



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  1. You know, I’d never heard of Silliman til I read your post, and I’ve just wasted at least half an hour of my life looking at his blog that just goes on and on and on and on…!
    And while I’m at it, they didn’t teach much at University in my day… in third year poetry class we sat under a tree and read our poems aloud while everyone nodded sagely and had no idea what anyone was talking about… Is that how it was for you??
    Oh no, sorry Simonne. My advice is everyone ignore Sillyman, I didn’t mean to send people off chasing him. I had fun in my Uni days except for the breakdown.

  2. i hadda laff at the name. but i dont know anyone anywheres, still i enjoyed reading this, it was fun!
    Perfect, thankyou Tipota. Fun is the name of the game.

  3. you are on a serious run these days, my friend. all the bits from the last week, be they poetry, prose-ish or commentary, are gigantic. impossible to ignore.
    Thanks, Jason. One of the wierd changes in language these days is that adding fullstops and capital letters makes it seem louder. Very strange.

  4. Thanks…important stuff.
    You’re welcome, Tina. Your latest poem is perfect.

  5. hey, maybe if we say ‘silliman is a fucking idiot’ enough here, he’ll find this page, & start legal proceedings against us? that would be cool. we could cash in on the publicity. poetry big-wig tries to shut down young independent voices of aus poetry. etc.

    do you have a google alert on your name paul? i do. it’s the sort of thing one must do these days. it’ far more important to monitor your own cyber-presence than to monitor the cultural goings-on. if someone calls me a fucking idiot on a blog i sure want to know about it. rather than write a poem, i would then spend an hour or so plotting a well thought out comment of vitriol & indignation.

    silliman once linked to an essay i wrote. & i am on his page along with a few thousand others. maybe you should add that to your ‘how to make a magazine’ guide? create magazine. send details to silliman. get it linked on his site. watch traffic flow in. sign 6 figure book deal with leading international press. i could go on.
    Cool that sounds like a plan. I’ll stop telling people that Silliman is aptly named and then all we need is some motive force other than our own personal fame.

  6. Have fun it is, amen :)!
    To the ancient and noble philosophy of hedonism, Ms Mist! Shalom, lochaim and so forth, clink,

  7. two and one-half years of “higher education” here,
    sans degree,
    “cest la vie and all that cockypop,” i rationalized…

    it was first time i realized: “there’s really nobody out there who can help me…this is a private journey i’m on…”

    so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

    Hoist the mainsail, Chico, let’s get this show on the road,

  8. See, I fundamentally disagree. University is no compensatory experience for the act of writing poetry and raw talent, but for the chance to learn from other poets, exist among them, and get real-time feedback that helps you improve as a poet, and a piece of paper at the end of all of that that can help you get into a field of work (teaching) if you are interested…that’s the upside, Paul. It doesn’t make me a better poet by any means, its just a path. Until I started blogging two years ago, and until my first poetry workshop about a year ago, the improvement in my poetry is phenomenal. It is not a guarantee for success, only a state of being. The astute feedback I get from you and from Narnie (specifically Narnie simply because she has the ability to give specific constructive advice for improvement) in a very real way is what prompted me to seek out feedback on a regular basis.

    Again, maybe I feel a bit put down by your comments because you are a friend and I have decided to study poetry in a university setting- and I feel that my decision, for me, was the right one.

    Cheers! Oh I don’t mean to say that studying poetry at University is wrong for everyone, Harmonie. I try to avoid generalisations, everyone has their own path. And the wonderfulness of your poetry is evidence that you have made all the right decisions.

  9. Well don’t I have my defensive claws out tonight, don’t I?

    cheers again 🙂

  10. Paul, I really enjoyed reading this.

    “when a kid wants to know something about poetry he googles it” – I do fear on some level that the ‘net has really taking something away from poetry in that you don’t have to struggle or work for the meaning any more, at least with the “classics.” All you do is Google the poem and then you get a line-by-line breakdown of every possible meaning and metaphor. I’m thinking more of the young students who are just beginning to be exposed to poetry. Then again, that is not necessarily true for the poetry that the bloggers post… because you won’t find very many “breakdowns” of what those poems mean.

    “Oh, and write everyday if you can and put it in public, it is good for your writing.” AMEN and BRAVO. This is the key, the sweet nectar, the secret of life. This is the flip side of the evils of the Internet. I feel like by putting stuff out there for anyone one to read, you instantly become, well, something to someone. You create an existence for yourself on another plane and on another level. Even if one person reads your work who wouldn’t have otherwise, you’ve succeeded. Since I’ve been posting, my skills have improved. It’s been like a nine-month-long crash course. You’ve been a huge part of that for me.

  11. I’m still young enough to take a few pointers. Here’s to having fun with it!

  12. […] would be good for my writing if I could put every day into the public arena or so I have […]

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