During his time there, he developed a sequence of poems, images and sounds based on material in the Library, called How To Read. Much of the written work used samples of text such as library brochures, titles of books in particular sections of the library, overheard snippets of conversation, and answers to a questionnaire.
A new versions of two of Ian’s poems for the project have been published: 994.231 (General History / Australia / Adelaide) in Rabbit #16: Biography Part 2 (2015) and True Crime in Australian Poetry Members’ Anthology 4 (2015).
Here is an excerpt from 994.231 (General History / Australia / Adelaide):
When a friend fell off her bicycle on the foreshore at Glenelg,
everyone thought it would be the end of her. “Watch out for sharks!”
we advised, just in case she listened. “They love the smell of blood!”
Seagulls swooped for pie crusts, chip-squash, gravel-grazed gumdrops,
casual sandwich orphans, ignored furtive intercepting flight paths,
veered north or south or secretly seaward, to the west.
I remember the huge mahogany cabinets at my great-aunt’s farm.
Fairies danced behind a hidden upper shelf, saved us from tigers,
fork-tongued goblins, dragons hissing an excess of supremely evil plans.
She baked our favourite cakes, green cakes, purple cakes, reminded us,
implored us to keep our toenails clean, tie our shoes on tight, to stop
those jindy bugs gnawing into our feet, devouring our curdled brains.
Ian’s final performance included video versions of some poems. Here are a couple of them:
To see more of Ian’s work, visit his website: iangibbins.com.au