The City We Build

With every mile
Another piece of me peels off

And whips down the road
All down the road
Smog, “I Could Drive Forever”

Exactly five years ago last week I set off on foot from Cape Sata, the southernmost tip of Kyushu.

Six months later, I’d walked the length of Japan, and written a bunch of haiku.

Sometimes that feels like the last thing I finished, despite never writing the book I’d planned. These last five years have flashed and crawled and flashed and spat me out the other side as exhausted as I was when I staggered into Kyoto. Strange how getting halfway can be more exhausting than reaching the end.

City We Build2Well, not that strange.

Four months into 2013 I’m finally recovering from 2012, and the illness which has plagued me since the middle of the year, though not without several major casualties.

On the plus side, I’ve written a lot of poetry, some of which has seen or will soon see the light of day. Most notably, in February, my commissioned sequence ‘Fortitude Valley: Pasts, Presents, Futures’ was published in The City We Build: A Poetry Adventure, an enhanced iBook put together by the Queensland Poetry Festival and if:book Australia and launched at Riverbend Books.

Including sequences by Brisbane poets Julie Beveridge and Carmen Leigh Keates, audio of the three of us reading our work, and the photography of Cindy Keong, the book consists of three self-contained adventures in Fortitude Valley inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Like those books, it’s lots of fun to explore, and looks gorgeous. Poetry has a troubled relationship with e-readers, due to a poem’s uncompromising requirements, which is why the book is currently only available in the one format, on the iPad. But for that reason it’s great to be part of such a pioneering project — many thanks to Sarah Gory, QPF Director and editor, for getting behind it and making it happen.

You can get The City We Build for free here: For best results, take your iPad to the Valley and go exploring.

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