On Goolwa Beach (audio / visual)

(if you are reading this in your email, you may need to click 
on the title link above to play the video on the web).

In 2010, I wrote the poem “On Goolwa Beach”. I’m fond of this poem, because it captures, for me, my experience of swimming, walking, relaxing there. Goolwa Beach is a sensational, long sandy beach near the town of Goolwa, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, in South Australia.  The waves on the beach are relentless.  Great fun if you’re a reasonable swimmer, and if you like body boarding. I’m not a surfer, but there are plenty of people who surf there too.  The poem is all about waves, but the word “dogged” came to mind, when I was thinking of ways to describe those waves. Hence the dog metaphor used throughout in the poem.

On the page, the poem is set out to vaguely resemble a seated dog. (See below). At least it does to me.  Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the publishers of “New Poets 16” (in which the poem was published in 2011) were unable to replicate the formatting. Don’t ask me why. I wouldn’t have thought it was that hard. It ended up looking more like something a dog left behind, than a dog.  So I’ve always felt that the poem never got its just deserts.

I’ve been thinking of experimenting with audio / visuals to accompany my poems.  Rob Walker does some great musical stuff with his work, which has always impressed me (see robwalkerpoet.com).  So I’ve had a go at putting some sounds and images with the words of “On Goolwa Beach”.  I’ve got a bit to learn in this area, but its a start.  Let me know what you think.

Here’s the video:

And here’s what the poem SHOULD have looked like in New Poets 16:

On Goolwa Beach

18 thoughts on “On Goolwa Beach (audio / visual)

  1. Mike, Mike, Mike… Do I have to edit your posts now too? “…its just deserts”. Gobi? Simpson?

    So now I see – the *real* reason you created a blog: to finally get this right (if you want a job done right, do it yourself).

    I like the video thingy, adds to the poem, but ironically loses something as well – the shape!

  2. Hi Mike

    Love the idea of combining visual with audio. I’ve been wondering about animating some of my poems although, having no animation skills, this has yet to occur. Since your poem has a lot of energy and movement in it, I think it would work well with a video of waves in motion rather than stills.

    And BTW, what’s all this talk of deserts/desserts? If someone’s catering and there are “just desserts” on offer, I’m not complaining 😉


    • Yes, I could try video as well. Although it’s not that complex, it’s still a question of learning the various software packages. I used Windows Movie Maker to do this one – it supports video as well as stills. Don’t really have any suitable videos of my own, so might take some next time I’m in Goolwa, which is later this month. Not sure if it might be a bit too “busy’ with text scrolling up over video. Sort of thing that might make me seasick with my dizziness issues!

      I think there are some coffee shops in Goodwood road that serve just desserts.

      • One idea is to intersperse the moving waves video part with sections that are just the black screen with the words appearing, then cut back to more video of waves or dogs then fade to the black screen/words again. Ooh! I know! The words could surge across the screen. Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away, but I think there are a lot of possibilities here.

  3. very fine writing ibdeed, Mike; I love the canine metaphors piling on top of each other; perhaps the best poem I’ve read this year 🙂

  4. I like the poem Mike, obviously, as a dog person, I was bound to at least like it, but having seen it all, and read about the processes involved, I adore it.

    Obviously I need to step up my game if I want to achieve Mr Malone’s cherished ‘best poem he’s read’ award!

    With my month of poetry for January, surely I can get close… Well, perhaps not, but at least I have something to aim for. Do you like dogs Mike?

    • Thanks Carolyn. I’m not really a dog person, though I’ve had phases. I owned a dog when I lived in Zimbabwe, and was very fond of her. In Australia, we ‘fostered’ a dog for a while, from a shelter. Eventually let her go to a permanent home – she was a royal pain in the a**e. Lovely dog, but always escaping (no matter how high we fortified the fences), digging up the garden and generally being difficult – presumably behavioural problems from being abandones as a puppy. So we’ve never experimented again.

  5. Ah, those escape artists are a heart breaking challenge at times. We’ve had many dogs over the years, my husband Graham and I. We showed and bred schnauzers for about twenty years, and then pharaoh hounds. We still have one schnauzer, and three pharaoh hounds, but our showing days are done.
    The schnauzer likes to go check out the front yard if she gets the chance, it seems to be an innate habit for her. I remember Nena as a tiny puppy. The other pups would be romping and playing together, and she’d be patrolling the perimeter.
    At least she comes when called. The pharaoh hounds wouldn’t do that, they find something to chase and just go. Different breeds, different habits. It’s genetic, that’s how it seems to me after living with the two breeds for more that ten years.

    • I have to say thank you Mike, this blog post, and my comment after reading your comment ended up with a new poem for me, which I’ve now posted on my blog.

      I love these random inspirations, so cool!

  6. Great poem & clever production, Mike. Now that I have ADSL here I’m gradually working my way back through all the stuff I missed earlier! Thanks for your kind words about my stuff too.

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