Issue 4: Kate Fagan



Cento for Election Day

And I heard my Coleridge say, “I am

the patron saint of everyone who died

before you.” Had to carry a torch,

a hunger you’ll never show.

Under alien skin 16A and B

I bring my body through

this mortal world, American town

founded on a hologram. This matter-

of-fact free house, this one nightmare

reaching out to consume you.

Driving down Broadway

I told my child: it was never yours,

only a naming call, pitched their tents

& destroyed whole nations

eight miles from here. What?

We live in a burning sideline,

same old fetch. We do this landscape

crowned and slow. At the crossroads

I mutate into a flower that blooms

once every 25 years. Words

large enough to contain you: during,

pine, upend, the eating of men.


Cento for Michael Farrell

Has genius ever spoken to you

about accordions? Neo-classicism discovers

mice. Paroxysm makes a trust

of all artistic cheeses, brr brrrrrr,

hello honey this is cinema. Consolidate

the harvest of exact calculations.

Art-parrot-word replaced by the new old

Wilde = foil

orphan = sunlight

gate = that

suffering = all

I wrote some poems tonight to go

with adbreaks to go with good reason.

Clearly there’s an emergency, an Australian

treatment for belief. Why do we choose

such dark places for our books?

Fishing with artistic lines btrp fretc

rihh cantmmetr asot fipfthtngt

speaking from the depths what I heard

at the summit, my scarlet path

to infinite sainthood. Cue

Star Wars theme: dada dadada dada

dadada dada dadada da


Cento for Astrid Lorange

This makes no difference.

A sentence

the sentence

makes no difference between.

Array her in cloth of gold,

she does not remember any oranges.

No difference between

I’m over

I’m over

I’m over

I’m broken

Assemble moss roses

china lilies plants articles

and and and and moving

completely in every direction.

Dancing. Numb hands

climb into a coat,

figure wanders on alone.

The scene opens with a storm,

rain but no hail. There is history

moonlight in the valley

sideways to love.


‘Proviso’ samples Anne Waldman Chapters IV, VI, VIII, XI, XV, XIX, XXI & XXII from Iovis Book 1, Chapters V, X & XXV from Iovis Book 2, ‘Book of Events’ from ‘Alchemical Elegy’, ‘Rogue State’, ‘Rattle Up A Deer’, ‘Global Positioning’, ‘Pieces of an Hour’

‘Dadabase’ samples Tristan Tzara ‘DADA Manifesto’, ‘Proclamation without Pretension’, ‘Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries’; Johanna Drucker The Visible World; Michael Farrell ‘realm of humour’, ‘honeyimhotel’, ‘codas’, ‘sumumn’, ‘sprinter’, ‘after jim showed his bum the evening slid’, ‘writing 2nd ave pts 1 & 2’, ‘preludes’, ‘dream affect’, ‘fhue dahnn I’, ‘the orange household’

‘Cinematico’ samples Gertrude Stein ‘Patriarchal Poetry’, ‘Sentences’ from How To Write, Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, ‘Identity A Poem’, ‘Orta Or One Dancing’, ‘Begonias’ from ‘An Interlude’ in History Or Messages From History; UNKLE ‘Broken’

Kate Fagan’s books and chapbooks of poetry include The Long Moment (Salt), Thought’s Kilometre (Tolling Elves) and return to a new physics (Vagabond). Her work appears in Calyx: 30 Contemporary Australian Poets (Paper Bark) and The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry. She is a former editor of the US-based journal of innovative poetry How2 and works in the Writing & Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney. Together with John Kinsella and Peter Minter she recently co-edited a special issue of Angelaki on ‘Ecopoetics & Pedagogies’. Kate is from one of Australia’s pre-eminent folk music families, The Fagans, and her album Diamond Wheel (MGM) won the National Film & Sound Archive Award for Best Folk Album (

Copyright © 2010 by Kate Fagan, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.