Hazel Smith

haze2010Hazel Smith is a research professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. She is author of The Writing Experiment: strategies for innovative creative writing, Allen and Unwin, 2005 and Hyperscapes in the Poetry of Frank O’Hara: difference, homosexuality, topography, Liverpool University Press, 2000. She is co-author of Improvisation, Hypermedia And The Arts Since 1945, Harwood Academic, 1997 and co-editor with Roger Dean of Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.   She is co-editor with Roger Dean of soundsRite, a journal of new media writing and sound, based at the University of Western Sydney.

Hazel is a poet, performer and new media artist, and has published three volumes of poetry, three CDs of performance work and numerous multimedia works. Her latest volume of poetry, with accompanying CD Rom, is The Erotics of Geography: poetry, performance texts, new media works, Tinfish Press, Kaneohe, Hawaii, 2008. She is a member of austraLYSIS, the sound and intermedia arts group, and has performed her work extensively in US, Europe, UK and Australasia. She also had a previous career as a professional violinist. Her website is at www.australysis.com


Smoked mirrors

AJP Taylor thought Dylan Thomas was a charlatan because he replaced simpler
words with obscure ones. But then Dylan was his wife’s lover.

Technique, like misunderstanding, holds it head high, accused of decapitation.

Just as I think I will never hook an idea, that I will have to give the commission
money back, just as I have signed off, I know I will never write again, the surrender
of hope flames the messenger.

My father was a chain smoker and would light one cigarette with another. But he had
a cacophonous smoker’s cough. Its assault began in the morning, once he
started he couldn’t stop. Then one day he decides he’s giving up. Just like that. He never
smokes another cigarette again but the cough remains, every day that demented coughing.

Who is that young man my mother says, pointing to my father in a photograph. He’s
very handsome, as if adjudicating a stranger.

Perhaps she is slowly passing away the doctor says in her hearing. She is asleep but
her ears are twitching.

Meanwhile I decisively hit the keys and dispose of an ailing poem. But
the dead persist in listening, sometimes more carefully than the living.

Afterwards I spoke to my sister, who said that the doctor seemed a bit of an idiot.


the seasons are talking to each other
we pick orchids in the snow
as if the world’s thermostat
was programmed for cross-weathering

fairylights frame the Hindu temple
shops sell gift-wrapped buddhas
they gorge themselves on Christmas day
then purge at Ramadan

did you know that snowflakes are irregular?
that words shiver when they boil?
as the white wind fills its tiny lungs
it hears black trumpets blowing

shall we rewrite the brothers Grimm
so Snow White is mottle-skinned?
the reindeer is exhausted
the sun burns up the sludge