Apr '14 24

Silhouette Swan. Photo by Robert Rath from Robert's website.

The inspiration for today's poem is two literary hoaxes; one in Colombia and one in Australia.

Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist and winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, died last week (17 April). Back in 1999 he was treated for lymphatic cancer. On 29 May 2000 a farewell poem, titled 'La Marioneta' or 'The Puppet' and supposedly written by him, was published in the Peruvian daily La Republica. The poem was in fact written by Mexican ventriloquist, Johnny Welch, for his puppet sidekick 'Mofles'. Read about it here.

The Autumn 1944 issue of Australian avant-garde magazine Angry Penguins published a set of poems by Ern Malley. They turned out to be hoax poems written by poets James McAuley and Harold Stewart as a "literary experiment". Read about it here.

Dymocks bookshop in Adelaide is hosting an Ern Malley tribute reading this evening at 6 pm.

For today's rescued poem (you can read about that process I've developed here) I used two source texts: the first is the actual poem, 'The Puppet', purported to have been written by Marquez. The second is the text of the preface and statement to the Ern Malley poems (collectively called The Darkening Ecliptic.) The poem title is a combination of two interesting images I chose from the poems: 'black swan of trespass' and 'trembling intuitive arm'.

Trembling black swan

Sleep light and dream of cream things
wait for the genuine moon
to serenade the stars;
let each line loiter, knowing
that wings teach man to walk
all the way, exposing
him to tears and sun
and poems; he will live
his tiny span of life
and at a certain dying moment –
when his little rag
of soul is falling, falling –
he will fly.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Apr '14 23

Pixellation. Photo by Robert Rath from Robert's website.

Today I was browsing the book Adventures in Form for inspiration for today's poem and I came across a footnote which said that Reginald Fessenden broadcast the first human speech over a radio with the message "1, 2, 3, 4. Is it snowing where you are, Mr Thiessen? If it is, telegraph back and let me know."

So I fell down another rabbit hole and found this article about him .

I decided to write a 'rescued' poem (you can read about that process I've developed here). I rescued today's poem from the IEEE article and a Wikipedia article about snow.

This rescued poem is different from most of my other rescued poems in that the subject doesn't deviate significantly from the original source texts; that's probably because I was intrigued by Mr Fessenden the innovator and how unacknowledged he was/is.

Is it snowing where you are, Mr Thiessen?

The voice he heard was crystalline and thin
like the air of thundersnow and cloud
through which the waves of sound were broadcast.
Mr Thiessen was indeed astonished
by the miracle of wireless speech:
prescient question about that stormy coast
and its thick and frozen landscape; acoustic echo
from the gifted Mr Fessenden.

And a man's own story is like snowflakes:
unique and thin words wafting in the ether
trapped in a transmission atmosphere
settling onto giant private icebergs;
or even snowflakes hardened into hail,
crushing and dampening a private dream.

Posted by Jennifer Liston