Clare Havens

'The streets were dark with something more than night…' Raymond Chandler


January Newsletter – excerpt

I saw a marvellous installation recently at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. Philip Worthington’s Shadow Monsters. This incredible exhibit manipulates one’s silhouette, adding fairy tale/Brothers Grimm-like embellishments to arms, legs and heads. It reminded me of the tradition of oral story telling, long before the written word, mentioned in Jan Hirshfield’s Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of PoetryThe shadow effects made me think of silhouetted figures recounting tales, the speaker’s form flickering in the firelight – taking on phantom shapes in the imagination of the watcher/listener. A must-see/do if you are in Melbourne.

For readers of my free monthly newsletter – since hitting ‘send’ yesterday I found this terrific poem in the book I mention in the newsletter Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry by Jan Hirshfield. The poem evokes for me what Philip Worthington’s Shadow Monsters does, that sitting around a fire, listening and watching. The poem is by ninth-century poet Kukai and is translated, I believe, by Jan Hirshfield.

Singing Image of Fire
A hand moves, and the fire’s whirling takes different shapes,
Triangles, squares: all things change when we do.
The first word, “Ah,” blossomed into all others.
Each of them is true.
Photo credit: Philip Worthington.

Leave A Comment