Remembering Paul Squires

It was this week last year that Paul Squires, that great poet from Australia, died at the still young age of 46.  It’s hard having to remember this fact, that Paul is no longer in this world.  However, his poetry still lives at the site he created Gingatao.   And what can be said now in remembrance?

“And feels his forehead touch the emptied sky/Where all antinomies flood into light”  — Irving Layton

“About him the air felt sweet with singing/Heard waves beat on the indestructible core” –Vernon Watkins

I had started reading poetry again in the wake of Paul’s appearance in my life.  He became my teacher.  I am still his student after his passing.

… And though you may close this book forever and never read another word, wordless the world will come to you and reveal itself to you and there is no other proof that you exist but this, that you are beloved of the earth and the creatures around you, insects and stars are quietly harmonising with your breath and the rhythm of the ocean enlivens us all….  Click on these words and read the whole amazing thing he says.

I am still his student and would that I could make others students also — or readers or friends — in a friendship across time and space.  Paul is among the great poets now.  Truly he is among them.

The Koi Poetic

Australian poet and blogger friend Gabrielle Bryden has written a poem about my koi and remembers our mutual friend the late Paul Squires in whose poetry magic got caught using words.  I feel very honored to have my koi swim in a poem, and when I tell the koi they will be splashing.  Read it, experience it,  here.

It’s already tomorrow in Australia

Orchids for the Orchid Room.  November 19, 2010 would have been the 47th birthday of the great Australian poet Paul Squires who left us so suddenly in July of this year.  The poem below revels in the interconnected, bloggy-thingyness of Paul’s creativity:  words, links, sounds, performance.  Vintage Paul.  Gingatao.

Australian sentences #who’s counting

December 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 19 Comments
Tags: , , ,
If I want to I shall write a life-times worth of poems about dogs and love, frogs and fish and how amazingly beautiful my wife is. In Australian pubs we used to turn the empty glass upside down and slam it on the bar. In the bad old days, that was, now of course we politely request a quick phone call to our lawyer.

It’s a hard life being famous and poor, I tell ya.

READ the rest here.
(this piece has been podcast here, with all the linked poems)

black lines and the white of the paper

I’ve thought sometimes that I ought to write a whole post in “tags,” or to put it another way, I’ve thought that writing the tags that are supposed to gain you traffic sometimes turns into an exercise in automatic writing or in free association.  Sometimes it happens that I like my tags as well as the post and secretly hope that others will notice them.  Paul Squires, that great Australian poet, was a great connoisseur of tags.

You can draw in a haphazard way, thinking idles line-thoughts to yourself, drawing  reflexively.  You can dream in line or can, daydreaming, draw things that are not there, but are there.  Wool-gathering the velvet ink path, scribbling, doodling, improvising a black line riff in a minor key (whose sadness is permanently mysterious) (Paul smiles).  Watching the beauty of the black ink line as it flows away from the pen nib and seeing the white of the paper grow luminious as lines create dark.  The smoothness of the paper, the fineness of turning pages, the simpleness of handling the pages of book.

Wild flowers growing indoors

I was going through a pile of drawings at the secret bunker when I rediscovered this one.  When my daughter was a crawler, she often scribbled over drawings as I was making them.  I drew on the floor so that we could work “together.”  Or else I taped my paper to the wall at a level she could reach.  Lots of drawings on the floor we made during that all to swift and brief season (she’s almost a teen now).  I think her scribbles always livened things up.  Sometimes it seems like they were the best part of the drawing.  And not in an “abstract” sense — not at all.  Her scribbles had the force of real ideas to them, which is very different from adults trying to be “random” or whatever.  It’s just that these were two-year-old’s pre-speech rigorous gestures and their meanings are rather opaque though forceful in grammar.

I was reading another of the late Paul Squires’s poems and it fits this picture so marvelously well that I republish it here, though you can find the original at Paul’s gingatao blog and get the total Paulesque experience.


Those who say that flowers have no sound have never heard the generousity of tulips in your smile nor watched the synchronicitous flight of gulls like white orchids at the whisper of your touch. They have not been released into the world of sunflower splendour or tiny blue delphinium delight nor set the direction of their dreams by the scent of apple blossom on a chilly night. They doubt the giggle of gardenias when I demonstrate my geranium brain again and are blind to that outrage of yellow hyacinth in the corner of your eye that warns of lightning strikes. I thought of them again this morning when I heard you laugh circus pink camellias into an azure sky and I hope that if they are reading this they experience now as I did then a truly gypsophila anticipation.

Paul was not afraid to depict beauty, as you can see.