Monday, 10 March 2008

Mirabeau Goat Poems

A chance mail from Rob Smyth brought to mind this decidedly low tech stapled and gestetnered magazine from 1968 called Mirabeau Goat Poems. It appeared from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and Rob and, I think, Colin McDowell were the editors. Its title came partly from Apollinaire, partly from some other source lost in the mists &c. There was only one further issue with different editors in 1969. I had poems in both of these productions emanating from our 'Literature Club' (which folded after 69 when many of the people who read at our monthly sessions were no longer around). Monash was a little hothouse in the late 60s in an otherwise unfriendly environment. John Scott and Alan Wearne were both participants in the readings though John's work doesn't, if I remember rightly, appear in the journal. Elsewhere in Melbourne were the poets centred around La Mama theatre in Carlton who, at that stage, were more interested in beatdom and performance, and there was an established school of 'academic' poets centred largely around the University of Melbourne's English Department. We were too 'intellectual' for one lot, not witty or knowing enough for the other. In those years the poetry world seemed tied up in one way or another and it was impossible to get your work published unless you went and did it yourself. In 1971, my last year at Monash, I co-edited a one-issue mag called Leaves with Philip Chubb, later to become a journalist. I wouldn't urge anyone to hunt for these publications though they are not without their charms. They are snapshots, I guess, of a moment.

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