Monday, July 12, 2021

Pam Brown, Endings & Spacings

it crosses my mind
that my poetry days
  are probably done

am i done with poems
are poems done with me?

more than half a century
making connections
through strings of words

not composed

mostly vertical

often meandering sideways (“( crossing my mind )”)

The latest from Australian poet and editor Pam Brown is the poetry title Endings & Spacings (Sydney Australia: Never-Never Books, 2021), a small collection composed in three extended sequences: “( crossing my mind ),” “( lingering )” and “( outer spacings ).” The three sequences of stitched lyrics in Endings & Spacings are composed akin to the late American poet Robert Creeley’s longer sequences: stretched-out accumulations of lyric fragments, hesitations and short phrases, one set upon another, furthering a loose thread as far as it might lead. She writes of memory, recollection and time, sketching her meanderings and meditations that seek out the proper questions. She writes of history, and what it teaches, furthering step upon step, one thought leading directly into another. As she writes as part of the third sequence: “‘the past’ / is an invention / that, / once archived, / destroys / the commons // (execrable!) [.]”

Assembled and accrued during the pandemic-stretch, Brown’s triptych explores the lyric, but a particular kind of exhaustion, writing of wildfires and funerals, and long stretches of domestic patter, as in the second sequence, “after months of dark & silent evenings […] what to do when we can’t do anything [.]” Brown’s lyrics keep to small, composed facing outward but low to the ground. These are meditations on anxiety, centred on and around such an uncertain stretch of time; not knowing when the tides might shift, and the uncertainties that pile upon each other through the process, as she writes as part of the opening sequence:

i don’t feel
authorized to say
i’m the ‘author’ of my poems

maybe i’m the image
my poems make of me     (not that)
or a sign      (not that either)

what does a poet

As the author suggests via email, given neither book nor press has a webpage, anyone interested in purchasing a copy can contact the publisher directly at:


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