Review: @darby_hudson

I first came across Darby Hudson outside the local real estate agent. After that first encounter I started running into him all over town. Each meeting was like a gift – sometimes amusing, sometimes joyful or heart-wrenchingly sad. Occasionally he elicited disbelief, but always awe at his sublime observations on life. Each utterance was food for the soul.

Over the following weeks Darby kept appearing by stealth, at bus stops, outside the Bendigo Bank, and leaning on a post out front of the opportunity shop. I’d see him when out walking my dog at all times of day and night, always stopping to absorb his words. Such beautiful, authentic examinations of life. Snippets of simple, crystal clear observation made by a guy leaning so casually on a post or a wall.

I imagined him slouching like that, one knee bent, foot against the wall, fag hanging from the corner of his mouth, fedora tipped slightly downward. And as the world rushed by in a spin, he was stillness, scribbling on a tiny note pad.

I was changed by each encounter. As if when I noticed him, he had gently peeled back his chest to reveal his heart. His repose imploring me to pay more attention to the world around me. I started looking for Darby everywhere. It was like a treasure hunt.

Eventually Darby disappeared from my town. I suppose he had moved on to observe other places and other people. So I bought his collection of poems Falling Upward to keep him close and remind me of him.

When I dip into his work, the chaos of the world falls away and everything makes sense. Darby’s words were like an elixir, I could not get enough. So of course I had to have his other works – 100 Points of ID and Walk. I sense I may be buying more to give away to friends who would also enjoy his pearls.

Images: @darby_hudson around Warrandyte

Cool rocks, where geology and literature collide

The poet Sappho, known for her word play and hyperbole, is said to have written about Selene and her longing for Endymion in the early 6th century. Selene is the goddess of the moon. She fell in love with the mortal shepherd, Endymion, and drove her moon chariot across the heavens to visit her love whilst he slept.

On 14th November 2016 I was on a surfing holiday at the most eastern point of Australia, Byron Bay, and witnessed the biggest super moon in almost 70 years rise over the ocean whilst dolphins and whales swum below the cliffs. This spectacular super moon is called a perigee, the name for when the moon’s orbit is closest to the Earth giving it the illusion of being enormous. I sat on the clifftop and was inspired. The poem I wrote is called Perigee and was the result of landscape, mythology and awe colliding with my pen.

My poem and one of the photos I took at Byron were selected for publication by Cool Rock Repository for their Luna Expo. Cool Rock is an online storage facility dedicated to literary and geological junctions.

Image: Sunrise and moon, Warrandyte

Meet The Creator…poet soup

Being creative nourishes the soul and gives expression to kaleidoscopic thoughts and feelings. When imaginative motivation wanes, creatives must seek small inspirations that will bring us back to our craft.

One of my habits is to leave books of poetry scattered around the house to scoop up at random and dive into. Poetry is playful and exploratory, it can spark ideas, deepen our understanding of language, make us better writers and help us understand the world around us.

Too many times
I find myself searching my poems
To see if they make sense

When will I learn
That joy has its own logic
Shaped like a sunburst!

Besteller, MTC Cronin

I first encountered MTC Cronin in 2003 when I came across her collection beautiful, unfinished. Her work is intelligent and thoughtful, and steeped in paradox and surrealism. I like the way she writes in fragments leaving plenty of space for the reader to fill in, or fodder to cogitate on. Her work explores and plays with the idiosyncrasies of language and breaks many of its rules. And Cronin is prolific, having produced more than 20 books, some of which are in translation – so there are plenty to choose from.

what if everything broke
in our world
and we just had to sit there
on the ground
until we were dead

excerpt from The questions I would ask & the statements I would make, My Lovers Back: 79 Love Poems, MTC Cronin

Dr Seuss and my father’s love of the limerick ignited an early childish attraction to verse and by age ten I believed I would be a poet. Recently, I stumbled across an old note book from my childhood containing my early poetic endeavours. My personal favourite is a piece titled The Man Who Brushed His Teeth With Paint.

As I grew up, encounters with poets and lovers of poetry stoked the flames of my enthusiasm. An adult who read one of my childish versus gave me a book called Poetry A Modern Guide to its Understanding and Enjoyment containing a message ‘to use when you are very much older’. I still have it. As a teenager I sent one of my poems to Nan Witcomb and to my surprise she responded to my letter with a note saying ‘I wish I had written it.’ Poets can be generous souls.

Sit awhile with time wasted
There’s solitude in every journey
Picking up what might be
and taking it to another place
Fire suspended
Knife attracting history
to its sharp blade

V, from beautiful, unfinished, MTC Cronin

Darby Hudson stuck samples of his poetry on poles around my local town a while ago and I got great pleasure from hunting for them on my morning dog walks. Small acts of inspiration or encouragement stoke the embers for the work and solitude of writing.

In June I received a random message via my website in which the sender asked if I wanted them to send me a book. I recognised the name in the email address and had a fan moment. A short exchange followed, then in September a parcel arrived in the post with three books What We Have: Except When We Are Lost; Bestseller; and My Lover’s Back: 79 Love Poems. What a feast.

Bestseller (2001), Cronin’s fourth book explores the life of the poet, poetry as a form of writing, making meaning, and communication. In My Lover’s Back: 79 Love Poems (2002) Cronin pays tribute to the insecurities of love, its ambivalence and disquieting qualities in all their technicolour. What We Have: Except When We Are Lost (2020) is a collaboration with Melbourne poet, lyricist and librettist Maria Zajkowski. A small book, a Fat lady, poet soup.

In poetry, evening and twilight balance perfectly.
Mystery balances with any word you choose to weigh it against.
Poetry, however, puts the whole world out of whack.
When you read it you drift up or down
while everything else goes in the opposite direction.

excerpt from The Imbalance, The Law of Poetry, MTC Cronin

I highly recommend any of MTC Cronin’s work for those who enjoy poetry that plays with language and makes you think.