Friday, July 9, 2010

Jordie Albiston -- structure behind the writing

       I love sonnets and the one below by Jordie Albiston is a favorite of mine.
     Albiston is an Australian poet with a sense of orchestration learned from music.  Her collection, The Sonnet According to 'M' recently won the New South Wales literary award.  In her words: 
I don’t think I’d write the poetry that I do write if I didn’t have such a strong background in music. And it’s more than simple metrical structures and rhyme schemes and that kind of superficial music, there’s a sense of orchestration that I think I’ve learned from music which has an almost three-dimensional effect when it’s successful in poetry. I do tend to think in musical terms rather than poetic terms. If I’m working with a triplicate kind of beat I won’t think of a dactyl or an anapaest, I will tend to more think of triple meter or some term from music.      
     Albiston is particularly interested in the form and structure of poetry.   ''It's always the mathematics, tectonics and architecture of the craft,'' she said, ''and I like to bend language as far as possible without breaking it.''  Here is one of Albiston's sonnets.

     math (after)

     first you get the number-rush as anyone
     might do      you watch your world turn to
     nought      put your foot upon the path re
     what cannot be said      I’ve heard before
     that ‘integers talk like god’      but if I’ve
     done my sums correctly      it’s physics
     like this      breed numb disbelief      as even
     the good book knows      o! that this great
     silence of the mind could only be benign!
     & the words unspoken that I’ve forgotten
     get themselves writ down!      we leaven
     our language & cross each ‘t’      (well v
     + y = z!)      till our final umms (yes! all 13)
     divide the very sentence      they fought in

From Albiston's collection The Sonnet According to ‘M’ (John Leonard Press, 2009).

1 comment:

  1. Poet Jordie Albiston contacted me with a bit more information about her poem: in the end words of the fourteen lines, find the number-words one through fourteen. Bravo, Jodie! And, thanks!