ASSOCIATIONS: an interview with Jeremy Balius

Posted on August 3, 2010 by in The Melbourne Review Interviews

“Jeremy Balius is the Black Rider. He lives in Western Australia with a wife and children. From there he produces The Diamond & The Thief, a revolutionary online literary journal. Balius also runs Black Rider Press, which recently released my first collection of poetry Music for Broken Instruments. I wanted to do a different kind of interview with the Black Rider.” Alec Patric

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We always get filtered through the thoughts of other people. Like right now, I’m writing, but you’re decoding, and there’s the risk of misunderstanding, (and the chance for understandings better than I intended). There’s always this kind of translation in our communication. Further still, when we transmit our thoughts for others to decode we rely on vast arrays of associations.

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Using a quote from a celebrity, tell me who your are:

Using a quote from a mathematician, tell me what your future holds.

Using a quote from your favourite poet, tell me the secret to your soul.

Using a quote from a historian tell me where you come from.

Using a quote from a film, tell me about how you feel about God.

Using a quote from a rapper, tell me how you feel about your wife.

Using a quote from an astronaut, tell me how you feel about the planet.

Using a quote from a writer you hate, tell me how you feel about politics.

Using a quote from Shakespeare, tell me how you feel about your children.

Using a quote from Music for Broken Instruments tell me how you feel about me.

Using a quote from the bible, tell me how you feel about yourself.

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There’s two things I know in life, I’m confident to say, two things.  One is coffee, the other, uh … I forget.  Hooha!

— Al Pacino

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

— Alan Turing


the dew






the boy’s soul

is luminous

the wisdom


from finger

through finger

the plant

makes its own little sun

for us

a big drop in the ocean

hope is a transparent mirror

— Amber Fresh, excerpted from It’s the same thing again

Strange enough without shadows.

— Amanda Joy, Vasilissa’s Doll

We bless your simplicity but do not envy your folly.

— Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

He helped Joshua fight the battle of Jericho.  He helped Daniel get out of the lion’s den.  He helped Gilligan get off the island.

— Reverend Brown (Arsenio Hall), Coming to America

Envisioning the hereafter, listenin’ to Stevie Wonder / On a Quest for Love like the Proceed drummer

— Common, Invocation

We’re not saying anything new here. We’re just saying the same things that need to be said again and again with fierce conviction.

— Deke Slayton, as Tom Wolfe attributed to him in The Right Stuff

Larmoyanz, wie wir sie als Systematische Larmoyantiker verstehen wollen, erhält ihre volle Kraft, ihre wahre Bedeutung erst in jenem Spannungsverhältnis, welcher mir von Vallejos Heute gefällt mir das Leben viel weniger / aber doch lebe ich gerne: ich sagte es schon bis zu seinem Ich werde immer gerne leben, und sei’s auf dem Bauch zu reichen scheint.

Larmoyanz, what we as Systematic Larmoyantics understand, receives its full strength, its true meaning, in that strained relationship, which seems within reach by Cesar Vallejo’s Today I like life much less / But I like to live anyway: I have already said it to his I would like to live always, even flat on my belly.

— Christoph Lebies, Of the practical implications of the concept Larmoyanz (quotes from Cesar Vallejo, Today I like life much less…)

More promising than a wild dedication of yourselves to unpath’d waters, undream’d shores

— Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale

I’m going to salute everyone old and ancient as though a veteran of Troy / I’ll insist they call me Achilles about to set out on wine dark seas

— A. S. Patric, A lover in Fortuna

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came forth from the fire.

— Daniel 3:26

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Photo by Danny Khoo