Kit Kelen invited me to have a ‘public’ conversation with him for his Daily Kit blog. We ‘spoke’ in verse, responding to one another’s poems, over the period of a few weeks and you can see the results, which covered the making of art in dark days (particularly through Covid-19 isolation), gardening (especially pumpkins), on feeling grateful, our parents and grandparents, and a whole lot more. You can check it all out, as a series of works in progress, and possible even a future collaboration in progress, here: https://thedailykitkelen.blogspot.com/2020/04/a-conversation-with-magdalena-ball.html
It seems like a long time ago that we were battling bushfires in our backyard. Though we evacuated twice, we were lucky, and well-protected by our incredible local fire brigade – mostly volunteers. As part of the #authorsforfireys fundraising effort (which raised nearly $500k!), the wonderful people at Westerly have put together a bushfire themed issue in which they both paid authors and donated generously to a registered charity of the author’s choice. I asked for a donation to the lovely Little Oak Sanctuary because small sanctuaries were doing it tough, and continuing to do the critical work of caring for a growing number of injured and orphaned animals. This is a special issue indeed, and my poem can be read here: https://westerlymag.com.au/ash-forest/
I love Plumwood Mountain and am so pleased to have 2 poems included in their stellar “Plant Poetics” issue. About the issue John Paul Ryan writes (in his editorial): “I am intrigued by the range of techniques and strategies adopted by contributors. Several poems invert the human-plant hierarchy with which Western societies have become so comfortable by narrating from a vegetal perspective. Such a deceptively simple move in fact constitutes a powerful means for reimagining relations between plants and people in an era of ecological collapse.” Of one of my poems, “Signals in the Wild”, Ryan says: An unresolved longing for a common language characterises Magdalena Ball’s ‘Signals in the Wild’. However, it is inevitably the human tongue that is deficient in ‘the ability to detect / volatile compounds in the air’. Ball’s poem provokes us to rethink polylingualism in terms of the languages of plants expressed organically through electrical signals, volatiles, ‘heavy metals / pathogens, gravity, heat’. These poems and others indeed coincide with emerging scientific conceptions and therefore encourage a rapprochement between ways of knowing plants. Check out the issue here: https://plumwoodmountain.com/plumwood-mountain-volume-7-number-1/ My other poem, titled “not all invasions” can be found here: https://plumwoodmountain.com/not-all-invasions/
I’ve been in conversation with the wonderful Joan Schweighardt over at Occhi Magazine. Joan and I talk about many things, including why I started Compulsive Reader, my books and their themes, my day job, and even which of my novels would make the best film (I’m afraid I went so far as to cast the protagonists), and lots more. Check it out here: https://occhimagazine.com/occhi/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Logo-BG-1.png
My poem “Technological Singularity” from Repulsion Thrust was one of three highly commended entries in the Inaugural Published Fantasy Authors Competition. The winning poem will be set to music and feature on The Lost Codex of Avalon album, which can be pre-ordered at: davidyardleymusic.com.
My piece “Earth Scars” was a finalist in the 2019 NWF/joanne burns Microlit Awards! The piece will be published, along with the two winners, KA Rees for her piece, ‘No White M&Ms’ and Hunter category winner Shaynah Andrews for ‘The Ocean Has Made Promises’, and many other wonderful pieces by fellow finalists and commissioned authors, in the anthology Scars, The anthology will be launched and winners presented with prizes at the award ceremony and panel event at Newcastle Writers Festival on Saturday 4th April, 2020, 3.00pm-4.00pm , Wheeler Place Marquee.
A new poem of mine, “Borisov” has been published in Cordite 95: Earth edited by Maria Takolander. This is such a wonderful, very relevant issue (although Cordite is always wonderful to be honest – every issue is beautifully curated). To quote from Maria Takolander’s editorial: “Why ‘Earth’? Because we are of it, because we are destroying it, because there is nowhere else. Because to think about anything else right now feels like dissociation.” To go directly to the issue, click here: http://cordite.org.au/content/poetry/earth/. A link directly to my poem is below. Note that Borisov was the first observed interstellar comet and the second observed interstellar interloper after Oumuamua.
Brianna Bullens has written a terrific review of High Wire Step at the wonderful Plumwood Mountain: “It is a collection full of radical empathy, understanding a shared vulnerability with each other. It claims multispecies alignments with animals—bees, cats, wolves, pigs, chameleons—and with our environments, in the precarious conditions created through the Anthropocene.” Read the full review here: https://plumwoodmountain.com/brianna-bullen-reviews-high-wire-step-by-magdalena-ball/
Beth Spencer’s wonderful review of High Wire Step has been published at Rochford Street Press: “So how might a personal approach to re-imprinting our past apply then to the planetary Anthropocenic grief? This is a question raised for me by this intricate book with its folding and refolding of time and memory and experience and life. How can honouring our past — every bee, plant, microbe — witnessing — affect our future?” To read the full review visit: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2019/11/29/beyond-the-culturally-scripted-response-beth-spencer-reviews-high-wire-step-by-magdalena-ball/
The wonderful Beth Spencer interviews me about my poetry book High Wire Step for the Climactic Network’s new Artbreaker show. You can listen or download the show, which includes me reading several of my poems, talking about writing through the Anthropocene, art as activism, and a lot more, here: https://www.climactic.fm/94