Sydney launch speech …
Here is the text from COD founder David Prater's speech at the Sydney launch of “OI”.
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today to the salubrious environs of the Hollywood Hotel in one of my favourite parts of Sydney, Surry Hills, for the launch of both a new poetry press, COD, and its first title, “OI: poewemz bii tom see”.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is David Prater. I'm your designated MC for this afternoon. I guess you could also describe me as COD's founder. Before I introduce our guest speaker, Adrian Wiggins, I'd just like to say a few words about the COD philosophy.
COD is an imprint of an Australia Council-backed Internet journal, Cordite Poetry Review and we hope it will survive long enough in the wild to become Australia's finest poetry-only publisher using cutting-edge graphics, layouts and printing processes, such as print on demand, to produce books with real character.
In that sense the name COD (though it connotes Cash on Delivery or for me anyway the ingestion of Cod liver oil) alludes to the On demand part of Print on demand or Pod. Cod stands both for Cordite On Demand and an extremely friendly fish.
A quick scan of some internet resources shows that there is a lot of literature about and cultural meaning ascribed to the humble cod in Australia. Prior to European occupation of the continent, for example, the Murray was positively chockers with cod. The fish (also known as a “perch”) thus holds a special place in local indigenous culture and stories. Unfortunately, over-fishing has led to a serious decline in cod stocks.
Let's hope this changes for the better in the future.
COD as a new press will cast a wide net, presenting high quality collections of poetry by young and emerging Australian writers. We want to challenge traditional notions of how poetry is presented. COD will not bait readers with the usual mix of boring formats, bad typefaces and tacky graphics. We want our books to truly reflect the individuality of our authors.
The rationale behind this new initiative therefore is a feeling that at present too few Australian publishers are willing to reflect the individuality of writers in the presentation of poetry books. In short, monotonous poetry titles will not be COD pieces.
COD's first title is OI: poewemz bii tom see. OI aims to be easy on the eye, with a simple illustrated layout, but demands a lot of its readers. The illustrations have been provided by tom's co-conspirator, Charles Lake. The book is a limited first edition and will be available for sale today for $15. From next week it will also be available in selected bookshops. More details will be aded to the COD website ?± please feel free to take a flier or add your name to our mailing list.
So now I'd like to introduce our first speaker for today, Adrian Wiggins. I've known Adrian for fourteen years. Though we share the honour of having been born in Dubbo on the magnificent Western plains of New South Wales, I actually first met Adrian at Sydney University where we were both studying Australian Literature.
After graduating from university, according to his own bio, Adrian took to writing poetry and prose and hanging with louche types. His writing has since appeared sporadically in Southerly, scarp, Heat, Avernus, Off the Page, Mattoid, Redoubt, Slope and Jacket.
His first book, The Beggar's Codex, was published by Five Islands Press in 1994. Also in 1994, in a fit of Christmas vanity, he produced 25 copies of Sixteen by 7 on a photocopier for his mates. After that distractions set in.
In 1997, he was a founding editor of Cordite Poetry Review. And I must say that it was due in no small part to Adrian's determination and considerable skills that Cordite first gained its reputation and has since continued to flourish in the Australian literary environment.
Since 2000, Adrian has worked at Massive Interactive as a Web Producer on sites such as the superb Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race site. Would you please make Adrian very welcome.
I think it's fair to say that there is no one like tom see swimming the current poetry scene. That's why we had to reel the sucker in and put him in print. Tom's alter ego is Dr Tom Clark, a Monash University academic and dilettante steeped in bawdy Medieval literature. Clark's thesis, A case for irony in Beowulf, was published by the Peter Lang Publishing Group in 2003. We're very exscited and honoured to publish tom's book and now I'd like to invite tom to the stage. Please make him very welcome ?ñ
Finally I would like to introduce Charles aka “Chunderbass” aka “Chucky” Lake. Though I've only known Charles a short time I can see already that we have a lot in common. Charles studied architecture at the University of Newcastle and has worked as an architect in Sydney for the past 5 years. His interest in tectonic expression carries through into his architecture and art. Besides built work the illustrations in “OI” (such as the incredibly detailed cover image) are among his first published artworks.
Thanks to Charles, COD now also has its own logo. Our new COD logo fills us with joy.
Charles is a multitalented fellow and he will be joined on stage later this afternoon by the musical group Super Enjoyable Machine. Charles reports that he and the band intend to provide poetry fans with a series of “latin/funk/jazz combos, mixing myself on piano and bass and other dudes on guitar, drums, flute and rhythm, with ample space for jamming out a few of Tom's gems as well.”