Gareth Morgan is a poet from Williamstown. His work can be found in Cordite and Otoliths, among others. He also co-directs sick leave, a monthly reading series and occasional journal.
Our Deputy Editor (Poetry), Zoe Kingsley, interviews Gareth about his work.
‘three vagabonds do williamstown’ is an homage to place as well as to a kind of Australian poetics. How do you view the project of this suite compared to other poems and writing you have worked on?
i’ve had this suite of poems, which is ongoing? for a while, but only recently became the big bastard prose poems that you published… it was fun to write without line breaks, for the first time really, because you think about breath more and less about being cute on the page, visually. and i felt i was imitating things about poetry that i like which i’d never imitated before. writing for pleasure seems like a good way to pay homage to place, especially a muse like williamstown or ‘the suburbs’… and tho i always write for the joy it brings, i found new joys here—how it feels to write on and on about a single thing, or maybe how it feels to vagabond, and to be ‘Australian’ about it.
You co-run a great reading series called sick leave. Can you talk more about sick leave and what the space means to you?
thanks for saying sick leave is great! I think it is too. Harry Reid, Ursula Robinson-Shaw and i put on monthly readings at the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood—it’s pretty scrappy, we’re not really professional, or tremendous planners, but we’re working on that. the idea is to have a reading that’s relaxed and just for the hell of it. Melinda Bufton said once, after a different reading, that readings are a bit like going to church, and then she laughed probably—but she was serious. i think sick leave is a little churchy, at least for me. we really love art and take it very seriously and we really want to make space for people whose work we like. it’s churchy because i said so, or Melinda did. (it’s a beautiful, dumb church) my / our hopes for sick leave are to bring in people who wouldn’t normally be at a reading, let alone on a saturday afternoon, because if the reading is like a church then more people should come inside, even if it’s just to see what the architecture feels like. we’re going to come up with new tricks as we go forward, including what i keep calling an ‘occasional’ journal. we’ve got two out and they’re full of wonderful stuff.
How do you feel about what’s coming up next? Any publications, events or things that have you excited and bouncing?
i recently saw Astrid Lorange post on instagram: Labour and Other Poems printed on some paper, which whatever it may be will be really good. Elena Gomez read from a long poem in the works a little while ago, which was incredible, and hopefully will be a book soon. i’m excited to hear more people read—Jason Gray’s HAUNT (THE KOOLIE) which Subbed In just published as part of their chapbook series and which i thought was really sick. I went to a really good art show the other day where Jack Shaw (Cooked With Jack) was pumping out food and pouring wine in the kitchen, as art? it was delicious and fun. more events like that i hope! and if art is to fail, School Strike 4 Climate and other upcoming, ongoing rebellions should get you bouncing in this insane country/ world!