new zealand electronic poetry centre

L A U R I E    D U G G A N


the nathan papers: 4


the glare edging into summer. underbrush. what are the genes of words and
what structures are we condemned to repeat? the machines write poetry, the
poets build machines – or think they do. but the machines are smarter than
the poets.

a certain redundancy.


Noosa , or Style over Substance. though I don’t mind.
at least the shop music is better.

maybe not.

a man runs with a block of ice.

we will be leaving all of this behind.

green sail, white sand, blue sky.

mountains up north. this is the Coral Sea.

lawn meets native grass.

Sheoaks – trees that give no shade.
Moreton Bay Figs – trees that do.

a peninsula (the Head), rainforest in the dips.


the notebook as a record of failure. I mean in the sense that only a few words
of innumerable pages make it in any interesting way. not these.

what happened to the young man in that photograph? Petersham 1972.


the main problem for older writers must be boredom. But boredom can also
produce writing . . . though not if you’re bored by the writing . . .

the words ‘bored’ and ‘writing’ overheard from an adjacent table.


storms that skirt the city

people are turning into product. their organized (for them) soundtracks.
products that buy other products. capitalism would prefer a world of replicants.

the slight azure.

backdated milk in the common room.

the kookaburras are sated. and the shining owls have no effect.


Discussing poetry with W_____. His justification for writing it is – in a sense –
that it’s not poetry. But he still wants it to be judged as if it were. If it doesn’t
work in English he will say ‘but it’s not written in English’.


the differing textures of all these trunks. the strands and components of a world.


x & y, the pier
a screen of fish, a moon
over those washed-up planks
colour in a late sky
escapes edges of the paper


a tropic world
of night illuminations
as air is water
a searchlight swept through cloud
the landscape below revealed by lightning


misread: tall boy
for toy ball

there is too much philosophy

the language stumbles


already it’s summer. slight deformity of a crushed toe (impossible to ‘point’ on,
but I never wanted to be a dancer).


my Florentine notebook


‘The sensation of needing to construct one’s relation to the foreign reality is
one of the problems and pleasures of tourism.’   – Robert Harbison

(what have I learned on the weekend? the ‘Oxford comma’, before ‘or’ and ‘and’)

a crowd panicked by difference
no better than its perceived enemies.

the nathan papers: 6


a slight stain on the binding, possibly sun-screen.


In the 19 th century art became too self-important and we have to rescue
ourselves from this. It’s why there is always massive resentment towards it.
Yes, there’s money involved, but it’s never really enough to warrant the
detractors’ ire. It’s not the money so much as the rhetoric surrounding art’s
administration that causes the heat to rise. Even without money the early 20th
century ‘shock of the new’ came out of a sense that it was important for the
public to comprehend art. So a ‘horse’ that didn’t ‘look like a horse’ was cause
for complaint. When the avant-garde became respectable enough to be funded
by governments there was still a sense that the artists had social duties over and
above their practices; even if (in the visual arts) those duties were mainly ‘value
added’ ones. It became ok then to be ‘incomprehensible’ so long as you had
market skills. But all this leaves an art that plays with its own fragility without
much in the way of understanding or support.


flight details

pushing it


‘I didn’t sleep at all last night’ (Bobby Lewis)


dead wood cut down

odour of underbrush

designs on sleeves appear as tattoos


‘What landscape waits for is never eyes’ – Yang Lian, 2003


parrots in the rain


the whole thing unravels from the edges


The ‘I’ is a function. It’s the locus (almost wrote ‘locust’) of what purports to
happen. you could discover through research what kind of sandwiches I eat
(BLT today) but would it change your reading? If I were asked whether poetry
was ‘fiction’ or ‘non-fiction’ I’d answer ‘neither’.


Songs that don’t end; they just stop. Is this faith in invention? Or its opposite?


Our letters crossing in space. Civilization and its discontents.


It’s nearly 2pm Eastern Standard Time as I write this. Brisbane resuming its subtropical regime. Downpours at intervals (like ones I remember being drenched by, aged 16, when the trams were battleship grey – and still existed).


fake wood grain
the eyes of an owl


fretless music



Brisbane / Cambridge, April 2006



Last updated 23 April, 2006