The Last Word with David Stavanger

Amanda Anastasi talks to David Stavanger about The Special.

Your collection is divided into five sections, Axis I-V, an axis being an imaginary line about which a body rotates. It strikes me that The Special is full of imagery of the body and opens with a poem (Optimism) containing the image of freefalling from a plane. What experience in your life came the closest to freefalling?

Two things come to mind. The first time I fronted the band I used to work with, Golden Virtues. Actually, every time. Not being a singer and not having a song, I felt a total lack of control (not the Tom Petty version either). It was like tripping into an abyss. Live performance always has an element of that for me, the fall in.

The other was last week riding a motorcycle in Bali without a helmet at night having never ridden one before.

What is a headline about yourself that you would like to read?

EAT PRAY BRAKE: Cult Singer killed on scooter near Ubud after hitting Julie Roberts body double.

One of my favourite lines in the book, from the poem The Future, is “danger is a door.” What else is a door?

The body. Travel. Sleep. Ovens. Music. Poetry. The Doors. Pretty much anything that opens and closes (except for mouths, they are more windows)

“My son walks a dead dog” is another line that stuck with me. Which line in the book are you the most glad you wrote?

These days, the last line ‘I wake up living’.

What is your favourite word?


Name the poetry collection you keep returning to.

The Wrecking Light by Robin Robertson

Poetic self-portrait: in no more than seven words, describe David Stavanger.

Cult Singer killed on scooter near Ubud.

David Stavanger will be featuring at La Mama Poetica on Tues, 24th February 7.30pm @ the La Mama Courthouse Theatre, 349 Drummond St, Carlton. His book ‘The Special’ is available at Readings bookst

First Time Reading

Words by Sil

There is something invigorating about reading poetry to an audience for the first time. As I discovered at the Dan, it’s like taking a plunge into freezing water. It’s nerve wracking. But what is so invigorating about it is the sense of accomplishment after you’ve finished reading out your piece and come to realise that, even though you felt like your piece was bad, you’re reading to a room full of like minded people, some of whom are probably just as nervous as you. And in some cases, likely just as mad.

This is what I discovered at the Dan. The first time I had ever been to a poetry reading, on the 7th of February, was a competition organised monthly by the Dan Poets who run weekly poetry gigs at The Dan O’Connell Hotel. It was sincerely the most unexpected experience I’ve had in meeting with like-minded people. Hosted by Libby, the group consists of authors from many walks of life. Some of them already published authors (A couple proudly read books they had just printed), while others, much like myself, were shut away writers who had decided to take the leap.

If someone who writes poetry were looking for a warm welcome, I’d highly recommend this meeting. No sooner had I walked in the door, I was met gleefully. (The fact that first timers get a free drink played no role… Ok, maybe a little). The readings themselves were fantastic; there was no holding back or no mind for what content was in the poetry. Some of it was quite comedic. All in all, most people had a lot of fun in their writing and the reactions they received.

Of course, when it came time for me to read, it really did feel like plunging into freezing water. I did have to inform the audience that I might stumble. And one point, I thought my leg would give out, considering how violently it was shaking. But I stood and read with confidence, met greatly with applause. The invigorating factor, for me, came in when people came to me and commente