In an alternate version of 2006, the posthumously-published works of little known poet Jason Silver caused a minor sensation on the Adelaide literary scene. His surreal, image-laden writings offered a raw, confronting portrait of his struggle with bipolar disorder – the illness which, many said, also drove his creativity.
Sensation turned to scandal when a hapless biographer accidentally unearthed the truth: there was no Jason Silver. He was the fictional creation of three living poets – Pete Lind, Shannon Woodford and Angie Rawkins, also known as the Red Lion Poets. The Jason Silver poems were thereafter disregarded as meaningless twaddle, as were all of the Red Lions’ other writings…
Inspired by the Ern Malley affair, Sound and Bundy takes a new approach to the verse novel format. Presenting the works of four fictional poets in anthology form, it invites readers to draw together disparate accounts and to create their own conclusions as to what “really” happened.
Amelia Walker has published two previous poetry collections: Fat Streets and Lots of Squares and Just Your Everyday Apocalypse. She has also written three books of poems, worksheets, games and lesson plans for the primary school classroom. These are part of Macmillan’s All You Need To Teach series. Amelia is currently working on a fictocritical thesis about poetry for her PhD studies at the University of South Australia.
Sound and Bundy was written as the artefact component of her Honours thesis.
ISBN 9781921869365 (PB, 106pp)
140mm x 216mm
ISBN 9781921869372 (ePub) – release date 15 Feb 2012
"Amelia Walker has imaginatively approached the theme of the stories behind fake poets with Sound and Bundy, a collection of poems by three fictional poets and their collective, doubly fictional Ern Malley reincarnation named Jason Silver. Peter Lind, Shannon Woodford, and Angie Rawkins are the three protagonists in this very convincing work of fiction by Walker. A story emerges about these three poets who wrote together under the guise of Jason Silver, and the ways in which their lives and poetries intertwined. The result is something between an alarmingly realistic (but fake) anthology and a verse novel. It effectively sucks the reader into its reality – suburban Adelaide in 1998 until 2006 when both one of the poets, Lind, and the Jason Silver moniker commit suicide.
It is a special, unusual, and highly satisfying read.
Walker creates the three characters by giving each of them distinctive poetics, adding only short introductions to each poet at the beginning of each section. It is up to the reader to find correlations between the poems to work out the nature of their relationships and the incidences leading up to Lind’s/Siver’s ultimate suicidal end. This is a unique kind of story-telling through verse. Walker allows the reader to enter the worlds of her characters without any discernible narration.
The character Peter Lind’s poems are captivating. They aren’t perfectly crafted. In fact, they’re a bit of a mess. The rambling stream of consciousness rant in Melbury Street, parts of which might otherwise have been cut in editing, illuminate the emotional and psychological complexities of memory and the significance of place.
This tension is sustained between the spoken and the real and the emotional truth throughout all of the Rawkins’s poems.
The contrast between the three poets is as undeniable as the connection between them. Lind is clearly the most careless of the three, both stylistically and in terms of his confessionalism; what is striking about his poems is exactly this: a self-destructive abandon, a sense of hanging from a cliff’s edge. Rawkins doesn’t hide behind her unconventional orthography. Instead she uses it to tame the beast that makes her so likeably wild. And Woodford is the mum of the group, the one who’s trying to keep it together between all the mental illness, the heartache and the supermarket trips.
The most marked contrast actually stems from the crux of the whole anthology, which is an examination of the Ern Malley-esque ‘Jason Silver’, the joint persona of the three poets. Whereas the three poets individually are stylistically distinct, the Jason Silver poems are devoid of a strong voice. They are experimental, to be sure, but experimental without a sense of purpose. And this is to Amelia Walker’s credit. She has captured the hollowness of Jason Silver, and the way he benefits from the democracy between his three creators beautifully.
What makes this anthology cohere is the enigmatic story of Jason Silver, the coming together of the three poets and the ways in which they identify as part of a whole, and also as separate from one another. Walker has managed to capture three very distinct poetic voices in her exploration of this implied narrative. The reader can lose herself in the lives of these fictional poets and easily forget that they are Walker’s creations. More importantly, Sound and Bundy offers a new way into using verse to convey story." - Tara Mokhtari, Cordite Poetry Review
"It's that rare thing, an entertaining, enjoyable book of poems. To create four fictional poets, each with a separate voice, is an enviable achievement. If writing is a performance, and all performance is a form of showing off, then the showing off here is impressive: the poems are verbally inventive, playful, some formally demanding (one of the poets has a predilection for Villanelles, Sestinas and other forms of self torture) and the four voices emerge successfully. Each has his or her own syntax, diction and form.
The book playfully asks questions of itself and poetry and poetic reception: would our four fictional poets rate publication if they were real? Would we remember the Ern Malley Poems if they had simply been published under the name of Bill Smiggens in an obscure literary journal with a less memorable name? Anything fixed or certain starts to slide in the general playfulness. I think I've met the poet, but then people thought they'd met Helen Dimidenko.
Whether the book's blurb is part of the game is another interesting question. If it is, then I suspect calling this a verse novel is deliberately misleading. Whether there's enough information to make out "what really happened" as the blurb suggests the reader could do; enough information to actually map out a plot line for a verse novel (whatever that useless phrase means), is going to be up to the individual reader: so my recommendation would be buy the book and take the ride." - Liam Guilar
I am not a poet.
I’m just a guy who writes poetry, got it?
I can’t stand poets,
the way they stare
out of books, yellow and sour.
As people they might have been okay,
good for a drink and a laugh.
Poor sods, getting turned into poets.
And thank God I am not one!
If I were I’d have to wear black
and speak strange unto thee
and shove my head in ovens
because I would hate myself
for being a poet,
Lucky, then, I’m just a guy,
a guy who works,
who comes home
and goes out,
good for a drink and a laugh,
a guy who eats and shits
and sometimes can’t shit,
who watches too much TV and doesn’t care,
just like any guy
who, it just happens, writes poetry.
Threw the Looking Glass, 1997 (Villanelle) [Shannon Woodford]
Here in this city of stick-on stars,
this city of corners and concrete trees,
i went and threw the looking glass
at all of the faces in all of their masks
leaping shop to shop, ravenous fleas,
here in this city of stick on stars.
Seven years’ bad luck. (Stick that in your farce.)
This maze is more than wine and cheese.
That’s why i threw the looking glass...
...and Oh! How lovely, a big fat blast:
billboards quivering, down on their knees,
here in this city of stick on stars,
this city of slow deaths that pretend to be fast.
Nothing is everything is never always as it seems
and me i went and threw the looking glass
because if this is The Answer i want questions. i pass!
i’d rather my sadness, my nightmares, my dreams.
Here in this city of stick on stars
i went and threw the looking glass.
‘I’m Not Gettin’ On That Bike Wiv You’, 1997 [Angie Rawkins]
I’m not gettin’ on that bike wiv you / That’s right, you,
wiv yr greasy hair, yr green eye glare, & that tatt
ov a dragon I havn’t seen / don’ wanna / don’ even know
it’s there (where?) ’cause nuh-uh / no way /
you don’ do it for me
in th slightest & Yes Sir I said No Sir-E-for-ever-and-everamen
/ Need I say it again? I’m not not not
not gettin’ on that bike wiv you.
& I’m not ridin’ out to sea wiv you /
not gonna taste th salt air / nor th sweat
inside yr spare helmet / not gonna wonder
if it’s yours, or... No / I’m not
gonna swim inside yr jacket / th leather so soft
yet so strong / not gonna hold on
to you for dear life screamin’ little deaths
’cause there’s a church tower between my legs
& it’s ding dong dingin’ kingdom come & I am
over/come/in’ / synapses thrummin’ / amped up
like a fat black bass guitar / baby / play it /// play it!
GRRRRRRRRRLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Th streets unfurl
as our bodies fall into one rhythm / one engine
as we sway together / stay together / thru all th soft sharp
grooves ov gravity & it’s prob’ly not quantum physics / but
I don’ care what is,
’cause right now th whole universe is all systems
GoGoGo! /// I mean NO
/ no / no / I’m not gonna go /
I’m sure as hell
/ not /
gettin’ on that bike wiv you...
subtopia, 2001 [Jason Silver]
a black snake swallowing its own
mornings: the dull clatter of a truck gobbling
the innards of bins: garbage, green waste
a DJ’s remix
all the same old songs just the order changes
like a game of cluedo: whodunnit? where and how?
drag races: revving engines
a baby’s cry
my mortgage my mortgage my mortgage my
mortgage mortgage mortgage – my!my!my!
a baby’s cry
an invisible black
swallowing its own
snake: remix: mortgage: morning: clatter
a baby’s cry
whodunnit? where and how?
the innards of bins: green
waste / garbage
recycling a DJ’s drag race
secondhand sofa: black snake