In April this year, at La Mama Theatre, and then this week, during the 2009 Overload Poetry Festival, I performed alongside Rachael Guy and David Churchill in a piece called “Ambiguous Mirrors”. It’s a 12 minute collaborative piece, combining puppetry and poetry, with live cello and voice. I talk about my father, Norman Charles Jackson, born 1926, died 1973, of complications from the same genetic condition I have. The poem is a blur of my searchings for him – sincere, complicated, clumsy and fated searchings. The puppet is me, and echoes of him.
With any luck we’ll do it again sometime. Last night we were awarded Overload’s “City of Yarra Award for Most Innovative Work” (in a festival that was full of originality, I felt, so this was quite an encouragement). It’s exhausting to perform, in a way – little barbed tears tend to well up no matter how cold I feel. It will get easier, I’m sure. Performance is, I suspect, a kind of doubling – being present and detached simultaneously – while poetry, traditionally, for me has meant pure autobiographical bodily communication, presence.
Enough. Anyway, thanks (as I hope I said on the night) to Rachael for her exquisite puppet and voice and performance, and to David for his sheer unshakeable tones. And to Kate Hood, who provided sensitive and intelligent direction. And thanks to the City of Yarra and Overload.
Overload highlights? Ali Cobby Eckermann, Maxine Clark, Lewis Scott, Barry Dickens… and the fact it only went for 10 days. You can have too much of a good thing. I feel tired, but fuelled, excited to get back to the page.
I’d like at some point to post up a few ghazals, and some thoughts on form. For now, let’s just say, I’ve written two dozen ghazals, felt their concise, disorienting, rhythmic textures, become addicted to the stitching together of loosely-connected couplets, grown a little fatigued of the close-up editing required, and now itching for the horizons of free verse again.
Next time, not so long between posts…