This commentary is called Sydney gurlesques, no it's called Stewart and Gomez in performance, no wait

Emily Stewart at the Sydney launch of Knocks (Vagabond Press, 2016)
Emily Stewart at the Sydney launch of Knocks (Vagabond Press, 2016)

Female names dominate the dedications and acknowledgements of Emily Stewart’s book of poems, Knocks (Vagabond Press: 2016). The closing sentence of the acknowledgements section? “girl poets everywhere: this is for you.”[1] To read Stewart is to be in the company of women. The launches of Knocks have so far embodied this sense of a poetry girl gang. In Sydney, it was launched by Pam Brown, with readings by Elena Gomez and Holly Isemonger (August 14, 2016).

Habemus PM; or, irritation after the EU referendum

Naomi Schor:

Viewed as congenitally (rather than culturally) particularistic, the woman artist is doubly condemned to produce inferior works of art: because of her close association with nature, she cannot but replicate it. (11)

Wouldn't her time be better spent replicating human life? is the suggestion implicit in the ideology Schor is describing here.1

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers

“The fatal problem with poetry: poems,” says Ben Lerner (32). What he means by this is that each actually existing poem stands a monument to the unrealizability of the utopian hope that we call “poetry.”

Lerner has some interesting things to say about poetry and its relationship to work, the desire and the worry that writing poetry not be work. Poetry is utopian insofar as it seems to offer an alternative to “getting and spending,” an order of work that is also seamlessly a way of leaning and loafing at one’s ease; hence the defenses. That very utopian possibility also seems a monstrous indifference to the brutalities of being constrained to sell one’s labor in order to live; hence the denunciations.

15 Times

Maybe when time was and made me the time

many times could we and in time when the time came

noticed that and gave you the time of and left him the

left it open for any time and got back on time and how

the time he and served out the time and never noticed

covered up that time and said we’d see some time and kept


              The nights let us have leaves


                       we have them           the leaves have let us


"The sun's in my eyes …"



               Sun’s  in  my  eyes  and


Split Decision

My partner and I were hunting cougars in

Colorado’s Book Cliffs. Our hounds treed

a cat at dusk, but some were baying near

a cave. I leaned into cave and struck match

right in face of a bear. Though supposedly

hibernating, big bear and her cub were not.

Big one walloped me, nearly breaking my

The General

Later in secret

Later in secret the general

Bends to remove something

To lean against a fresco.

The rules which run

Around the walls

The walls of court

Determine a course,

Declare if he had not:



To range in the war was corruption, an error, a snow.

            A snow over Rome. Near the garage to sew and to

            sing — a crystal, inherent, and a wink to the


To range in the Roman manner was to manage it raw.

Guest Post: Brahim El Guabli introduces Tunisian poet Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed

Tunisian poet Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed

Special from the Maghreb

A recent issue of the pan-African literary magazine Chimurenga reminded us that "The Sahara is Not a Boundary." The 4th volume of the Poems for the Millennium project, on North African poetry, is one marvelous collection of work. This week the African poetry commentary series roars back to life with a wonderful guest post by scholar and translator Brahim El Guabli introducing one of Tunisia's most daring poets, Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed. If Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour have whetted your appetite, here's a chance to discover another voice from the Maghreb.

Poetics of Sedition in the Maghreb: Mohamed Sghir Ouled Ahmed

Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed (b. 1955) is probably Tunisia's most prominent Arabic poet today. His birth in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid, which was the breeding ground of the December 2010 Tunisian Revolution, further consecrated his status as Tunisia's contemporary, “conscience of the nation.” During his long career, which he began at the age of fourteen, Ouled Ahmed produced at least five collections of poetry: The Rhapsody of the Six Days (1988), But I Am Ahmad (1989),  I Have No Problem (1989), The South of the Water (1991) and The Will (2000).

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