Sonnet month is here again

It’s November! My self-imposed month of blogging in verse has arrived. To see previous years’ mixed bag of efforts, click here, or you can buy the vanity publication of all 28 sonnets, plus my versification of Alan Jones’s epic ‘apology’ press conference, ‘The Apology, or Manning Up’, here:

NsopI may not stick to sonnets this year, but for tradition’s sake, I’m still calling it Local Sonnet Rhyming Month – LoSoRhyMo (as distinct from the much more demanding NaNoWriMo.)

Because it’s the start November, it’s also the last days of Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi. First some snaps:

Sonnet 1: Sculpture by the Sea again
We hear of artists living hand
to mouth, yet paying vast commissions
if they exhibit on the sand
or rocks near Bondi. Yet their visions –
moulded, cast, carved, planted, hung –
transcend commerce. They give tongue
to joys and sorrow, shape to fear
and hope and meaning year by year.
Cord and bamboo help us grieve.
Plastic cutlery cries, ‘Think!’
Glass, stone and steel forms bid us drink
their beauty, help us to perceive
what lies around us, and within.
To rip them off must be a sin.

The handful of sculptures specifically alluded to are:

  • Cave Urban (NSW), Mengenang (Memory), an installation of 222 Balinese-style bird scarers, whose sound hung over the park midway along the exhibition walk
  • Roh Singh (Victoria), Spatial Memorial, a white cord strung at the height of the 11 March tsunami
  • Jane Gillings, Midden (photo above)
  • Too many pieces of stone, steel and glass to mention.

One last note: my companion pointed out to me that where it was indicated in the catalogue that an artist was trained at TAFE, the skill level was manifestly superior. Despite whatever the government’s advisers have been saying, there is a need for the skills taught in fine arts at TAFE.

3 responses to “Sonnet month is here again

  1. Thanks for the accompanying photos – a good chance I may not be able to see this year’s exhibition! Loved the Fred WILLIAMS reference (Tamarama Beach body-scape)! I always enjoy the provocation afforded by the artists. I lived many years in a western Japan city called Ube-shi (a sister-city to Newcastle in NSW) which has an important sculpture exhibition every two years – an officer within the city-hall responsible for this project (register that Barry O’F and your false black-hole excisions to educational and other programs for the citizens of this state) and set up on the southern shores/slopes of Lake Tokiwa. Several of the works each time are acquired by the city and eventually given a space somewhere around the city for permanent anchorage. Though some like to suggest the money should be spent otherwise (in all places such dark-hearted spirits exist) I felt I lived then in a city where there was much respect for the human soul and its capacity for renewal via artistic and/or aesthetic “challenge”!

  2. Your “Glass, stone and steel forms bid us drink” makes me think of the ubiquitous ‘sippy cup’. I reckon there was a latte vendor close by the exhibit & the bins were overflowing with those awful, plasticised vessels. Doesn’t anyone know about the toxic chemicals lining those things?

  3. Jim: I didn’t know about Ube-shi, but I have been to Naoshima, where there is a similar biennial art event, and a number of houses permanently converted into artworks. That was just wonderful to visit.
    Trevor: The joys of enjambment!

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