The second ever newsletter from Adam Ford's "world" of "poetry".
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Hello and welcome to the second instalment of Adam's Occasional Poetry News. I'm Adam, and this is what I've been up to in January 2016.
But first, for those of you who are time poor, here is the TL;DR:
  • What I'm working on: too many poems about old science fiction comics
  • Submissions & rejections: no news is good news, right?  
  • What's out now: Zoning out and Geological poetry zines
  • What I'm reading: McSweeney's, Victoria Chang and Arif Gamal
Now read on, if you dare!

What I'm working on

I've been working on a suite of poems about ROM: Spaceknight, a 79-issue comic from the '80s about a space cyborg fighting a race of evil shape-shifting aliens.

ROM is unlike many superhero comics of its time in that it had a distinct beginning, middle and ending. This is probably because a single writer wrote every issue, creating an atypically consistent tone and story. In superhero comics a different writer usually takes over every 20 issues or so, imposing their own ideas and interests, which often contradict or ignore events that have gone before. Also: giant silver cyborg teams up with superheroes to fight evil aliens.
I've been reading and re-reading these comics since I was 13. I always wanted to write something about them, and with the recent announcement of a new comic series featuring ROM, the idea to write a companion poem for every issue of the original series got into my head.

The plan is to publish a poem a day online for 79 days in the lead-up to the launch of the new series in early May. It's either the dumbest idea I've ever had or just another idea, but as I said to a friend last week, either way, at the end of it I'll be 79 poems wiser.

So far it's been an interesting exercise, giving me a close look at ways to tell a story in instalments. Hopefully by the end of this I'll understand a few things about writing sequential poetic narratives that I can apply if and when I ever get around to turning my abandoned novel into a verse novel.

The first poem goes online on 10 Feb at After that I'll publish one a day, which should take me up to 1 May, with a few days' wiggle room, by the end of the 79 poems.

I've got seven poems in the bag already and have been managing to write roughly one a day, so I should have at least a dozen as a buffer by kick-off day, which should let me hit that one-a-day mark in comfort.
Anyway, here's a sneak preview from what I've written so far (turn yr device sideways for the most authentic linebreak experience).


(Rom: Spaceknight #1, December 1979)
It's classic meet-cute. He's a seven-foot cyborg on
a quest to rid the galaxy of an ancient evil.
She's a small-town girl on her way home from work.
She swerves to miss him. He wrenches her back onto
the freeway. Stands there statuesque in
silver wetsuit and thigh boots, engine block strapped
to his chest. Boxy head & shining red headlamp eyes.
He shines a light on her and flies away.
Later that night, in front of the Bijou, The Creature
from Space on the marquee, he turns two guys to piles
of ash like chalk outlines. Everyone runs
but her. He flies her to the outskirts of town, tells her
about the war in space. How he signed up for the cyborg
army. How her high school buddies are
shapeshifting sleeper agents hiding in plain sight.
The National Guard cuts in. He chucks around some tanks
and jeeps. Ignores the bouncing bullets and
the flicking of flames against his armour. Turns the Sherrif
and the local barber to ash, then flies away again, leaving
the survivors to tell the tale of his arrival. It's
They Live meets When Harry Met Sally. It's a hell of a first date.  

I submit!

Not many submissions (or, thankfully, rejections) this month, but there's still about a dozen of my poems (and one manuscript) out there waiting to be accepted or rejected.
I found a few more interesting places I'd like to submit some poems to, like US online journal The Mondegreen, and Brisbane-based SCUM MAG, but with a dozen poems already "out there", my focus on "POEM: SPACEKNIGHT" (working title), and working up an entry for the Josephine Ulrick poetry prize, I haven't actually had anything to send to them yet.

Read my stuff!

Zoning out

I had another article published by the folks at Writer's Bloc. It's a consideration of writing outside your comfort zone in the hope that you might a) get published or b) learn something new about the craft of writing.
Here's the link:


My free geological poetry zine is still available to pick up at the Anticlinal Fold on the corner of Lyttleton and Urquhart Streets in Castlemaine. It's also now available at the Sticky Institute zine shop underneath Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. Ask for it by name!
As of this writing about 20 copies of the zine have been taken from the dispensary at the Anticlinal Fold. I'm pleased to say nobody has stolen it or smashed or torn it into pieces. Which was always a risk. The rain doesn't seem to have damaged them too badly either.

What I've been reading

Anna bought me a subscription to the McSweeney's Poetry Series for Christmas and my four bonus back-catalogue books arrived a week ago. I've already devoured two of them. These are some very beautiful hardback book objects, so if you're a poetry reader with cash to splash, this would be an investment you would not regret.
I read Victoria Chan's The Boss in a day and a half, which has never before happened to me with poetry. It's a slim volume, yes, but also compelling in its accurate encapsulation of workplace anxiety and the resentment that comes from the arbitrary power hierarchies of large office workplaces. It's written in a neurotic, abstract and repetitive stream-of-consciousness style that is funny and painful and very, very real.
I also read Arif Gamal's Morning in Serra Mattu: A Nubian Ode, an autobiography about Gamal's family, focusing on his father, who was a Sudanese ambassador in the 1970s, and the family's experiences, both micro and macro, in the time of the creation of Sudan and the effect it had on the people who lived in that part of the world. At times it reads like a series of genealogical anecdotes, and at others it reads like a political and environmental critique. Both elements blend seamlessly together to create a gently told but nevertheless urgent story.

I've also discovered the Australian Book Review's Poem of the Week podcast, which is a good Australian counterpoint to the New Yorker Poetry Podcast, though I have to say I much prefer the informal, conversational format of the New Yorker over ABR's overly formal and stilted presentation, which feels. like. the. poets. are. reading. carefully. from. a. page. which. might. be. okay. for. the. poem. itself. but. really. drags. for. the. introductions. It's great hearing these Australian poets read and talk about their own poetry, but it would be a jollier listen all round if it had less of the written panel presentation and more of the chat about it.

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