Punch Lines: Poets Play Duchamp

Red Room Poetry collaborated with the Art Gallery of NSW to produce Punch Lines: Poets Play Duchamp for the Sydney Writers Festival this week.

The six poets did a superb job of writing and reading or performing their poems in response to the works of Marcel Duchamp displayed in the gallery. Poets featured were Pascalle Burton, Brian Fuata, Allison Gallagher, David Stavanger who cleverly incorporated a ball of string and Evelyn Araluen, whose content, flow and pacing were a highlight.

Chair David Astle, who is known and loved for his crosswords and Wordplay column in the Sydney Morning Herald also contributed poems. In fact, his introductions and interludes were poems.

David Astle with Nude Descending a Staircase

Nude descending a staircase 1937

Stare and the cels coalesce
into streaming nudeness, 
one staircascade
built of raw spilt, sprayed
into filmic chute, the fluming Muse, 
kinetic, prophetic: 
torso, gait, fluid gender
en passant as descender.

By David Astle

In response to Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Nude descending a staircase (no 2)’ 1912.

The art is on display until 11th August.


By the way, David Astle has written several books, including Wordburger (Allen & Unwin) for children. This book is subtitled ‘How to be a champion word puzzler in 20 quick bites’. It shows young people how to solve cryptic crosswords by exploring anagrams, pangrams, spoonerisms, tongue-twisters and homophones. Wordburger is good fun as well as instructive.

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