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ADAM FORD'S
IRREGULAR
POETRY NEWSLETTER

Greetings from the abandoned goldfields of Central Victoria.

It always seems to be the way that I have not much to report about my writing activities and then a whole bunch of stuff happens in a very short period of time.
 
Which is to say I have done some things of late and I have written about them below. They are:
 
  • I did a test-run of my geological-historical-poetical walking tour
  • I wrote a bot-poem for Going Down Swinging’s Bot-Tober
  • I have a poem about Rom Spaceknight in Going Down Swinging 37
  • I have two poems about Rom Spaceknight in FreezeRay Poetry
  • I read a poem about cybermen and jazz for a Doctor Who podcast
  • I made a new Instagram account for all of my action figure photos
  • I read some great books about telepathic elephants and biochemical patent-pirates and robot dinosaurs
This newsletter was written on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. I pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

We Danced to the Anticlinal Fold


On 12 October I and my collaborators Robyn Annear, Clive Willman and Uncle Rick Nelson did a test run of a sample from my forthcoming “Dance to the Ancilinal Fold” show as part of the Artlands Festival.

It was awesome to put the theory of the show into practice in front of actual human beings. I thought it all went swimmingly, and the scuttlebutt from people who came to walk with us along a short stretch of road while we told them stories and poems about history and geology and funny curved rocks sticking out of the road was that they had a nice time. Which is what you want to hear, really.
 
I’ve spent a long time carrying my fascination with the Anticlinal Fold in my head, so it was a little disorienting and nerve-wracking to stand in front of other people and ask them to share in that fascination. But you know? I think they did. My favourite part of the three showings we did was that at the end of each of the shows, when I finished with the lines:
 
We move with the anticlinal fold
We dance with the anticlinal fold
Put your hand on it – you can feel it in your bones

 
and then asked people to actually put their hands on the Anticlinal Fold, they did. It was fabulous to see them all standing there, hands resting on the afternoon-sun-warmed sandstone, murmuring to each other in appreciation. Nice rock. Good bendy rock. Good rock.
 
The full show will be happening next March as part of the Castlemaine State Festival. Stay tuned to this newsletter or theotheradamford.wordpress.com for details as they emerge.

I got botted

 
The folks at Going Down Swinging commissioned me to write a poem using a predictive text program that had been stuffed with stories and poems from previous issues of the magazine.
 
The deal was you had to write a poem by selecting one word at a time  from a grid of nine words, each set generated algorithmically in response to the previously chosen word. I set myself the extra restriction of only using one-syllable words, just for shits and giggles. The end result was “A New Route”, which appeared on the GDS website accompanied by a sweet animation by Maeve Baker.
 
I’m never 100% comfortable with the letting-go necessary to automatically generate poems. Make of it what you will, but I always feel the need to reassert control with a fair bit of editing after the original text has been created. This time around, it was the additional syllabic constraint that helped me gain my required minimum sensation of creative control over the process.
 
I guess I like the places that surrendering to randomness can take me as a writer, but I still like to describe those places in my own words when I get back.
 
Anyway. You can check the poem out for yourself, as well as one by fellow botpoet Emilie-Zoey Baker, and see the sweet little animation here.

I got pigeonholed

 
I also have a poem in Pigeonholed, the nom-de-guerre of Going Down Swinging's latest print issue. “As I Lay Dying” is another poem from my suite of poems about 1980s comic-book cyborg Rom Spaceknight. It’s about a small-town mechanic trying to fix a broken cyborg with the tools at his disposal, and as a bonus it’s been illustrated by the supertalented Bren Luke.
 
I should give major kudos to outgoing GDS editor Megan Anderson, who worked closely with me in a flurry of back-and-forth emails to refine the poem’s language and help to clarify the actions being described in the poem.
 
It’s a rare thing to work so closely with an editor on a single poem accepted by a journal. Usually poems are either taken as they are or rejected. The chance to hone my writing alongside an intelligent and insightful person is always something to be cherished.
 
There’s some amazing stuff in this issue that I am truly excited by and proud to stand between the covers with, including ’s Katherine Kruimink's Bladerunneresque dystopian scifi-noir "Electric Yuzu", Mira Scholsberg's dreamlike girl-meets-underwater-ghost fairytale "Kelp Body", and Andrew Roff’s "A Quiet Call", a dark spin on text-adventure games that goes places you kind of really wish it didn’t.
 
You can get your own freshly minted copy of Pigeonholed on the GDS website or at all good bookstores.

I got frozen

 
And the spaceknight poems keep on coming, with two more Rom poems accepted by the awesome FreezeRay Poetry. “Peril, Thy Name is Plunderer!” has a crack at combining Nancy Drew and Ted Hughes (and maybe The Police) references in a single poem, and “The Great Rocketeers Revival” is a flirty little number that considers how tight superhero costumes are (so tight!).
 
You can read ‘em both here – and while you’re there you should check out the rest of issue 16, with about Black Panther, The Iron Giant, Titanic, George Thorogood and My Neighbour Totoro.

I got jazzy

 
The splendid chaps from the Splendid Chaps podcast, which looks closely at Doctor Who and the historical climate in which it is made, recently recorded an episode about Peter Capaldi’s time as the Doctor. They also looked at the use of diegetic music in the show, and in keeping with this theme they asked me to perform my poem about Cybermen listening to jazz in the classic 1987 Seventh Doctor story, “Silver Nemesis”.
 
I was accompanied in this task by the improvisational fingertips of jazz-fusion polymath Adam Rudegair. Before the show, Adam and I had a lot of fun swapping notes about our deep love of all things Prince. At one point I tried to one-up Adam by saying my youngest daughter’s piano teacher was in a band called Lake Minnetonka, a deep Purple Rain cut that references a fairly questionable skinny dip scene in the movie, to which Adam replied, “That’s my band!” So I knew was in good hands.
 
It’s always fun doing poems to music, and I’m happy to report that I managed to resist the urge to reprise Mike Myers’ faux-beat poem from So I Married an Axe Murderer and concentrate on channeling the voice of a bemused, jazz-addled cyberman instead.
 
You can check out the episode, featuring Adam and fellow guest host Celeste Liddell, as well as regular hosts John Richards, Ben McKenzie and Petra Eliot, at the Splendid Chaps website, or search for Splendid Chaps on your favourite podcast app

I’m a double-grammer

 
You may be aware that I have for some time been delving into the world of action figure photography. In a gesture of some kind I have decided to separate my personal Instagram account from my dolly photos and have set up a new all-toys-all-the-time account at @adamfigurephotography, combining my love of standing up toys to take photos of them with original flash fiction that is very much in the vein of all of the above poetry about cyborgs and such. Here’s a sample, and if you want some more there’s plenty over on Instagram.

But enough about me


I've been reading and listening to some awesome stuff lately that I think you might like, like:

Brooke Bolander's The Only Harmless Great Thing is a heartbreaking novella that mashes the stories of the radium women with the final fate of Topsy the elephant into a beautiful telepathic, mythopoetic dystopia. If you need a reason to buy this, Bolander's "The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat" should do the trick.

Annalee Newitz's Autonomous is a deep-future take on genetic engineering and artificial intelligence from the perspective of a genetic code hacker-turned-pirate with her own submarine and the bounty hunters, one an augmented human and one a robot, who are both tracking her down and negotiating the complexity of their feelings for each other.

Poets Alice Allan and JoeI Deane recently had a compelling conversation about writing poetry and getting enough sleep and exercise on Alice's always great poetry podcast, Poetry Says.

I should also recommend Robot Dinosaur Fiction because it is an online journal of flash fiction about robot dinosaurs.

Housekeeping and such

 
You’re getting this because you signed up for it or I signed you up and you didn’t mind.
 
It would be awesome if you encouraged a friend to sign up for it as well, which they can do here. You can also read older issues of Adam’s Occasional Poetry News here.
 
More of my writing can be found at theotheradamford.wordpress.com.
 
Comments, criticisms and suggestions can go to adamatsya@gmail.com.au.
 
I sometimes tweet at @adamatsya and I'm on Instagram at @adamatsya and @adamfigurephotography.
 
Thanks again for reading,
 
Adam.
Copyright © 2018 Scientific Productions, All rights reserved.


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