Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Poem - marsi (18 july 1959) by Jordie Albiston

marsi ( 18 july 1959)

kally told me yesterday some of her ideas
about 'writing':     paper by bed jot anything
down     organise!     simplify!     be clear!!!
she then lectured at length about polishing

the gem     but does it 'convey'    does it 'say'
what I mean     (this is where I am now)     no
writing is easy     but no sentence will stray
onto page until one picks up pen!     I know

themes are a problem     (and they may be my
biggest)    and so I have done some thought:
'housekeepers' / 'passers-by' / 'view from my
window' / a few 'historical sketches'     about

early kew     (anyway     to bed     for this is a
start     and then to wake up!     and be clear)

from Jordie Albiston, the sonnet according to 'm', John Leonard Press, 2009.

Jordie Albiston is a formalist poet working in Melbourne. the sonnet according to 'm' explores three lives; those of her maternal grandmother, her paternal great-great grandmother and her own in this poetry sequence. The voices are distinct, observant and restrained by history and beliefs. The 'marsi' poems written in the first person depict a middle-class woman struggling politely against the constraints of age and a predictable life and marriage:
...                                                    my new
brown and white dress was finished today
how many hours of my I wondered played
out in its work     just a few more than a few

tho what matters most is satisfaction in the

There's something I love about these women's voices - hopeful, resigned, desolate - but wryly so and, in the end, indomitable.

sonnets according to 'm' won the 2010 NSW Premier's Prize for Poetry. It is Albiston's fifth collection of poetry. Other collections to look out for include, Vertigo, Botany Bay Document and The Hanging of Jean Lee. You can read an interview with Jordie Albiston here.

Thank you, Jordie, for permission to post one of your poems as a Tuesday Poem.

Find more Tuesday Poems here.

1 comment:

AJ Ponder said...

a poem about poetry - nothing a poet loves more - "be clear!" "what does it convey" with these simple questions and directives this is the poem you want up on any "learning to write" page - and what a fun way to be mentored!