My notes for the remainder of this response continue for several pages. A loose-leaf file of notes and photographs is, it turns out, far harder to summarise than a traditional story.
…it is curiously simple, in many ways, it doesn’t hurt, not in the usual way; perhaps I am jaded, perhaps I am accustomed to being flayed to pieces.
From the outset, the cryptic explanation at the front of the book has me thinking in problem-solving, puzzles, codes. What links to what? What isn’t what it seems? What does it seem?
Each poem is exquisitely layered as things are held at arm’s length, obstacles loom, the real world intrudes bright and harmonic, words are lithe on the line.
When Chris asked me to guest edit Minarets my first thought was that I was not “cool” enough to edit a journal which I’ve always seen as a place for young and experimental poets.
Murray’s fluctuating rhythm and rhymes are like shifting river currents, his poem a river poem carrying the debris of story, hand-me-down anecdote.
A chilled evening in August seemed as good a time as any to raise the dead, and thus we catapulted the special “exquisite corpse” Issue 9 of Minarets into the world on National Poetry Day 2018.
The concept for this issue was to create a forum for an absurdist, collaborative experiment, roughly based on the surrealist Exquisite Corpse experiments from the 1920s.
I am thinking of creating (private) lists of books to read in particular circumstances. For example what to read when you have no power or running water and can only read by candlelight after a day consumed with slow-paced domestic chores.
Beyond the paradise of product lines, through an economic wilderness of hollow olives & glycerine drinks, past the invisible homeless & the ghost of Ralph Waldo Emerson (his mum bringing him clean laundry), up a steaming track covered by vaporous cloud—a man with a cowboy hat will lead your pony on.
A lot can happen in a month, & a lot can happen in 3 years. Whenever something goes on hiatus, I feel like there’s often a large chance it won’t resurface again.
“In the future (which isn’t too far off now, about fifty years or so, I’d guess), the scientists of the world will study love. Love will be the only science left to discover anything new about. The oceans, space, time, all things macro & micro, will have been measured & graphed, understood to the nth degree. But love will still mystify. Carolyn DeCarlo & Jackson Nieuwland are (will be?) two of those scientists.”
Compound Press published Fiddlehead, a long poem by Steven Toussaint, late in the Southern Hemisphere Summer of 2014 (April-ish). It has now gone out of print, but a really wonderful recording has been made of Steven reading the work in its entirety. This is great news for experiencing this poem, because one of the most compelling features that made the manuscript stand out to us was the presence of a refrain, repeated like semi-regular clockwork throughout.
We had small little reading in the crisp Autumn outdoors in order to celebrate the release of the 6th issue of Minarets, and an end to the second volume.
In the shade of Auckland’s Mount Eden volcanic cone, the Louis Adolphus Durrieu Reserve provided a quaint miniature amphitheatre setting. On account of the 24-hour liquor ban in all public parks, thermos flasks of tea & coffee were passed around, instead of the more customary ‘reading wine’.
Minarets Journal was initially conceived as a print publication. The first four issues, comprising Volume One (2012–2013), were released as small perfect bound books in limited editions. Issue Five was the first to be produced in a web format, due to a mix of economic pressures & convenience. This month has been spent digitising the four original print volumes, which can now be browsed on this website, so now everything is happily all together.