Shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award 2018
'This collection is a fine example of Pam Brown’s larger project, to write a poetry that maps the edges of thought, or—in her words—to think ‘what cannot / be thought’. click here for what we do brings a clarity and precision to language that refracts the everyday into a strangeness with which to examine what we thought we knew. Disjunctions between objects, and the words used to describe them, comingle into a delightful study of the paradox and power of poetry. Like ‘a shimmering mirage of flame’, the extended lengths of these poems, and their short, fragmented lines, suggest that the border between spoken language and poetry is a lot hazier than we might otherwise think. However, Brown’s tremendous skill ensures that, no matter how relaxed, the poems are at once comical, satirical and thoughtful; if the poetry feels ‘as ephemeral / as instagram / as a whisper / as a wink’ is it because Brown knows how to find the most innate structures of poetic expression. Leaving traces of disquiet through extended meditations and wry observation, this is a poetry of movement and stillness, a lived document examining contemporary life in real time, in all its banal glory.' (From the judges' report)
Click here for what we do is a cluster of four loosely connected poems that are not only sceptical of the status quo's serial mendacities and hype but, in a way, they also attempt a coming to terms with the erosion of the idealistic conditions that once made non-mainstream culture, including poetry, so viable and, even, necessary. For Pam Brown writing poetry is a habit, a disorganised ritual. Her poetic inventories begin in everyday bricolage. Real things interrupt the poems the same way thoughts and phrases do. She dismantles monumental intent and then, by mixing (rather than layering), splices the remains into a melange of imagery and thoughtful lyric. Hers is a friendly intelligence that clues in connections to the 'social' as the poems make political and personal associative links. Spurning any lofty design these poems debug the absurdities of contemporary materialism with surreptitious humour. Though disquiet is present it's usually temporary. Here, thinking about the future can be 'trickgensteinian' and yet Pam Brown's poems offer a circumspect optimism.
Pam Brown's many books of poetry include Text Thing, Authentic Local, Home by Dark and Missing Up (the latter published by Vagabond Press in 2015). She has been writing, collaborating, editing and publishing in diverse modes both locally and internationally for over four decades. Pam Brown's collection Dear Deliria (Salt, 2003) received the annual New South Wales Premier's Award for poetry. She has earned a living in a range of occupations. Her website is located at pambrownbooks.blogspot.com.au . She lives in the perpetually reconstructing city of Sydney.
Pam Brown, Click here for what we do.
2018. 133mm x 203mm. 150pp.
Release date: April 2018.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.