Sunday, July 02, 2006

Christopher Kelen

on five acres

dawn is all travels
night's snout had at ground

last of frost
dawn's glint fires paddocks
brings the Myall to light

see timber
crouched in cold
piled cut
the lizard already begun

setting out by breath alone
I stand in weather
the odd man tinkering breezes

o how may I be lost as them?

o thanks you gods I am


the wild winds
prefigure spring

birds sing in my chest

go out walking
and the grass gets deeper

after a while silence falls in
gives its rhythm
ambling day

forest falls
foot after foot through me

hides like a hammerstroke
in distance cleft
sun shelters from sight

fence says
climb under
climb over
climb through

ducks rise at my passing
by this means I hail them

when the tracks grow thick
to vindicate making
puzzle a way in my limbs
as roos do

birds half bright half dull
make my circle

a track says
and this way
and pause
tune an ear to this silence

green and yellow among
grey over

every creek I pass
keeps time

sky full of it

always beginning
tapping a way blind over roofs
to come clean

it hears itself
paints over the land
runs ink out of meaning
shines me once
for luck again


between it
I smell the ants working
sense dark structure to the day

leaf and tip and horded light
green hive of a home soaked still

cheers the frogs
till the prayed for sun
taps on my shoulder
the argument leading
down to the lowest

trickles down
good fall in which are voices lost
like rat's feet over what was to sustain me

Christopher Kelen is a well known Australian poet whose works
have been widely published and broadcast since the mid seventies.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes Kelen's work
as "typically innovative and intellectually sharp". Kelen holds
degrees in literature and linguistics from the University of Sydney
and a doctorate on the teaching of the writing process, from UWS
Nepean. Kelen's first volume of poetry The Naming of the Harbour
and the Treeswon an Anne Elder Award in 1992. In 1988 Kelen had won
an ABA/ABC bicentennial award with his poem "Views from Pinchgut".
In 1996 Kelen was Writer-in-Residence for the Australia Council at
the B.R.Whiting Library in Rome. In 1999 he won the Blundstone
National Essay Contest, conducted by Island journal. He also won
second prize in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Award that year. In 2000
Kelen's poetry/art collaboration (with Carol Archer) Tai Mo Shan/Big
Hat Mountain was exhibited at the Montblanc Gallery in Hong Kong's
Fringe Club. And in 2001 another collaboration (essay and
watercolour) titled Shui Yi Meng/Sleep to Dream was shown at the
Montblanc Gallery. Both exhibitions have been published as full
colour catalogues. Kelen's fourth book of poems, Republics, dealing
with the ethics of identity in millennial Australia, was published
by Five Islands Press in Australia in 2000. A fifth volume, New
Territories "a pilgrimage through Hong Kong, structured after
Dante's Divine Comedy" was published with the aid of the Hong Kong
Arts Development Board in 2003. In 2004 Kelen's most recent chapbook
Wyoming Suite "a North American sojurn" was released by VAC
Publishing in Chicago. In 2005, Kelen's long poem "Macao" was
shortlisted for the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize and a
re-edited version of Tai Mo Shan appeared in Southerly. Apart from
poetry Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas including
writing pedagogy, ethics, rhetoric, cultural and literary studies
and various intersections of these. Kelen is an Associate Professor
in the English Department at the University of Macau, where he has
taught Literature and Creative Writing since 2000. Kelen is the
principal investigator in the University of Macau's "Poems and
Stories of Macao Research Project" and the editor of the on-line
journal Writing Macao: creative text and teaching.

Christopher Kelen Ben Kemp Christopher Barnes Kenji Siratori

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