The Alderman (upstairs)
134 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Friday 16th August, from 6.30pm
Launch by Cassandra Atherton – poet, novelist, critic and academic.
Lucy was the winner of the 2012 Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize. All welcome.
The Alderman (upstairs)
134 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Friday 16th August, from 6.30pm
Launch by Cassandra Atherton – poet, novelist, critic and academic.
Lucy was the winner of the 2012 Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize. All welcome.
A seed library, in Ohio. (No returns, obviously.) Via the Melville House blog.
Also from Melville House, here is a fine slide show of some old New York bookshops. The first Scribner's was astonishing, was it not?
This compelling eulogy by Joanna Murray-Smith for her mother Nita was published on the Overland website in early July.
At Cordite, Geoff Page reviews Chris Wallace-Crabbe's New and Selected Poems.
Expanding the canon after death doesn't just happen in writing. Scholars and performers have revived some sonatas Beethoven wrote when he was 12, and 20, and added them to the 'iconic' 32. What this achieves, I do not like to guess.
I’m not the sort of person who wishes things had stayed as they were. I like Tumblr and Twitter, etc., etc., and I’m interested to see what comes next. But I do feel a little wistful from time to time for the newness of the experience of typing some stream-of-consciousness thing like this — which is not at all what I was expecting to write when I opened up WordPress — and setting it loose into the world.
-Maud Newton, on what happens after blogging.
At Cordite, Jacinta Le Plastrier rereads Ariel.
Here, Ron Silliman links to a few recordings of Sylvia reading from it.
And it's GOODBYE GOOGLE READER. I am writing this links post with the help of the nifty Newsblur, which allows me to save stories in the reader. Pretty damn fine feature. I decided it was nice enough to pay a little money to use Newsblur properly, and so far they are managing just fine with all the refugees from Google.
So, in case you didn't know:
Virago says you can read the first chapter of Claire Messud's newie on their blog.
On Killings, there's a podcast featuring Jennifer Mills and Sean Williams discussing their recent involvement in The Subjects, a project which required them to put their sleep on the line for a week for the glory and the honour of art and science.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful essay by Julian Davies, 'Out Of Town', which I discovered on the Meanjin website recently. (I don't know which issue of Meanjin it has been published in, however.)
"Who are your guys?" The marvellous Jessamyn West shares some radical librarian resources.
I hope the book is aberrant and oscillatory in its editorial strategies, tracing intersections and overlaps of the inter-text, a writing that is situated within structures; a writing which refuses to be freaked out by instability.
Giramondo Publishing warmly invites you
to the launch of Hotel Hyperion
the new collection by Lisa Gorton
to be launched by Kate Middleton
on Thursday 9th May
6:00 for 6.30 pm
351 (the red door) Lygon St
(From the media release):
By turns intimate and grand in scale, Gorton’s new collection of poems features snow domes, storm glasses, museum display cases, an ancestral home and the air-locked rooms of a mythical space hotel: all images which contains worlds within worlds, rooms which open onto other rooms.
Hotel Hyperion is a baroque collection, playing with notions of inward and outward space, constructing its intricate perspectives with a restrained delicacy.
The title sequence is set in the future, in a space hotel where a collector gathers artefacts for a museum recording the history of space settlement. It also recalls Keats’ great poem, ‘The Fall of Hyperion’.
Lisa Gorton’s first collection Press Release won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry; she is the author of Cloudland, a novel for children, and an editor, essayist and reviewer.
I have noticed two fine articles on Randolph Stow's life and work in the last month.
One, at Overland, by Alison Croggon, is a review of The Land's Meaning: New and Selected Poems which places Stow firmly as an important, even singular poet of solitude and silence:
Stow’s poems have a resonant quality of speech forced out of solitude, a sense of intense privacy that has all the fascination of enigma, but they are nevertheless public acts. As Stow says in his novel Tourmaline, ‘I find there is no speech that is not soliloquy. And yet, always, I sense an audience.’
Audiences, of course, are multiple and unexpected. One never knows where the message will wash up, what meanings will ripple out from the motion of the poem, ‘under way’ in all its different voyages. As Kinsella says, ‘his writing itself did its own things, and forever remains the zone of those who read it’. This is true of all writing: but it seems particularly apt of Stow, whose starkly painful lyricism seems to carve out and inhabit a space of pure metaphor that has the capacity to strike deeply into the silences of others.
The second is an essay by Gabrielle Carey from Kill Your Darlings no.12, free to read online. Carey is writing a book on Stow and her essay is partly based on the inaugural Randolph Stow Memorial Lecture, which she gave at the University of Western Australia in 2011.
The lecture bore the title "Getting to Know Randolph Stow: towards a portrait of the artist as a young man", and the essay deals in part with how he struggled to be understood in Australia. I am looking forward to reading her book.
Ron Hogan, a stalwart of the US book blogging scene, has launched a video recommendations site called The Handsell, which will match different authors and publishers with readers every month. Via Melville House.
Once more, my daughter treads the Comedy Festival boards, this time with her snappy little Fringe show, Olympik Phever.
By a stroke of luck, it's at the Forum, which warranted
some family shots of the massive poster outside.
If you want to know what she is doing in this picture, you'd better catch the show before it finishes this week.
Melbourne writer, editor and reviewer Jo Case was interviewed on Life Matters at the ABC last week, so listen here to her talk about her memoir on parenting her child with Asperger's. Boomer and Me is life-writing I have been very eager to read, particularly as some of it took shape on a blog I used to read a lot, not so long ago. Here's the first chapter, courtesy of the publishers. Congratulations Jo!
As well as being a well-known published writer, Jane Gleeson-White is such a fine blogger! one of the few soloists out there now writing longer posts for us, and I am saving up these beautiful posts on a lecture recently given by Margaret Wertheim for later. I think you would love them too.
The work of five poets has been selected and can be read in the latest issue of ABR, so you'd better pick one up, or subscribe, if you want to find out what Nathan Curnow, A. Frances Johnson, Dan Disney, John Kinsella and John A. Scott have entered. Go on and put yourself out of suspense...and in the meantime enjoy making an educated guess at who may win out of that distinguished field.
Invitations to the ceremony are open to all, but bookings are required:
From that well-named blog at Going Down Swinging comes a very good post by poet Paul Mitchell, on how to manage that burning problem shared by so many Australian writers. I speak of the problem of failing to build your house in the desert, or in other words, writing for a quid instead of staking all on your masterpiece... oh, you know, working more than one job at a time.
I like the image in the second paragraph here.
Ah, that’s why he hasn’t written a bestseller. Can’t concentrate.
Well, I’d like to. But unlike that icon of writing, Cormac McCarthy, I’m not prepared to build my own stone house in the desert, eat little more than potatoes for several years, and have a series of ‘housekeepers’ type up my manuscripts. I’ve got a youngish family. School bills. All kinds of other bills that are far more creative in pricing than any of my writing.
So I’m a switcheroo.
A friend suggested recently that I am also a ‘spaghetti thinker’. I can pull out a strand of spag (writing) from my saucy brain, work it round in my fingers, gobble it, and then pull out another strand. All without disturbing the whole bowl of pasta. Maybe that’s true. Or I’m just good at time management. Or I am good at switching on and off in short periods. But the question of how switcheroo writers do what we do is probably not as important as how we do it without going insane.
There's also Megan Anderson's terrific looking interview with female Beat poet Hettie Jones, which I am yet to read.
Apologies for not broadcasting this sooner,
but Alan Wearne's new book of poems,
1st Floor, Nicholas Building,
37 Swanston St, Melbourne.
Giramondo & Collected Works Bookshop invite you to the launch of Alan Wearne's new collection of poems, PREPARE THE CABIN FOR LANDING. The launcher will be esteemed Melbourne book reviewer Owen Richardson.
We quote from Giramondo's blurb :
"Wearne is Australia’s poet-moralist, a master of its idioms, the recorder of its pretensions, and the scourge of its big-noters, con-artists and crooks. In ‘The Vanity of Australian Wishes’ he pays tribute to Samuel Johnson and Juvenal, ‘who knew that combination of bemusement, annoyance, anger and despair to which your country can drive you, though always aware of its entertainment value and dramatic potential’.
The collection includes an affectionate portrait of three Melbourne high school teachers in the early 1960s, and a saga which records the destinies of their pupils, satires on the world of finance and drug-dealing, literary academics and the libertinism of baby-boomers, and seven new poems based on Australian pop songs.
Alan Wearne’s verse novels The Nightmarkets and The Lovemakers received major literary awards; his recent collection, The Australian Popular Songbook, won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry. He is the publisher of Grand Parade Poets, and teaches poetry at the University of Wollongong."
For further information do not hesitate to contact Kris Hemensley at Collected Works on 9654 8873.
Stay informed of further events and new stock at this brilliant, unique poetry bookshop by following it on Facebook.
Kris Hemensley, the bookshop's founder, also writes about poetry,his work and life here.
Oh dear, busy 2013. Busy, busy. Children boating and flying past fires and floods, as they do. (Yes, mine. It astounds me.)
But I did find these fine things recently:
According to Maud, this lady is the Flannery O'Connor of the internet age.
Everyone needs to know how to do this. Yes, you! From Pat Grant.
Patti Smith sings William Blake. From Jacket2.
Via things magazine: what happens when you photograph a car on fire, asks J.M. Colberg?
The act of photographing, the gesture, has become part of our interaction with the world. You photograph just like you look. You know that you can never look at all of those photographs again (in all likelihood you never will - who has the time?), but it’s not about the photographs - it’s about the photographing. The act of photography might have turned into the equivalent of whistling a song, something you do, something that might or might not have beauty, a communicative act just as much as an affirmative act: I was there, and me being there means I had to photograph it.
And from Jessamyn West, a link to a NYT discussion, "Do We Still Need Libraries?"
(Crossposted at Mulberry Road.)
On February 12, fortyfivedownstairs is holding a poetry reading in honour of former MP Barry Jones' 80th birthday:
Barry Jones is one of the more remarkable politicians to have sat in the House of Representatives in Canberra, a much loved and respected figure on both sides of politics.
As a tribute for his 80th birthday late last year, the Chair of fortyfivedownstairs, Julian Burnside, has curated a night of some of Barry’s favourite poetry and music.
Readers include Race Matthews, Gareth Evans, Peter Craven, Marieke Hardy, Dr. Joan Grant, Max Gillies and John Stanton.
The Flinders Quartet will also perform on this memorable evening.
I'm amazed that it's that time of year already, however it's good to know that Best Australian Poems 2012, edited by John Tranter, draws work from a long list of poets, noted here by Andrew Burke.
And Cordite editor Kent McCarter has remarked upon poems therein published in the last three issues of Cordite.
At Jacket2, John Tranter has posted an excerpt from his recent article in the JASAL journal on the Internet and the history of Jacket magazine. Here's the abstract.
Australian poet John Tranter trained in all aspects of publishing, from hand-lettering to editing, from litho platemaking to screen printing, and developed an early familiarity with computers. The development of the Internet in the 1990s found him armed with a formidable array of skills. He published the first issue of the free international Internet-only magazine «Jacket» single-handed in 1997. «Jacket» quickly grew to become the most widely read and highly respected literary magazine ever published from Australia. In late 2010 John Tranter gave it to the University of Pennsylvania, where it continues to flourish. This memoir traces John Tranter’s publication of literary materials on the Internet including the technical and literary problems faced by «Jacket», and outlines the many other projects he embarked on that resulted in the Internet publication of over fifty thousand mostly Australian poems, articles, reviews, interviews and photographs.You can read more, and download the full article, here.
Melbourne Writers Festival would not be complete without a lavish and swinging event from prominent multimedia journal GoingDownSwinging, a Melbourne institution of over thirty years' standing of avant-gardedness:
TICKETS HERE - $25 gets you in, gets you a copy of the journal.
Issue #33 features a full-colour collaboration between Cate Kennedy and artist Simon McEwan, a stunning commissioned essay from straight-talking theorist Briohny Doyle, and a radical new design from Santangelo and Hall. It will take you from Thailand to rundown apartments in Minneapolis to the depths of the ocean to a run-in with Czech border guards. Andre Dao contemplates Catholicism and mourning, Paul Adkin looks at 9/11 translated by Edgar Allan Poe, and Michael Trudeau leaves you speechless with his take on aimless masculinity.
Highlights of the accompanying CD include Tom Waits' iconic theme from The Wire, covered by Darwin soul stars Sietta; alongside hip-hop artist Mantra and a spellbinding performance from Felix Nobis; as well as new work from Joe Dolce, PiO, Emilie Zoey Baker, and The Bedroom Philosopher.
Issue #33 will be launched on the closing night of the Melbourne Writers Festival. The launch will showcase some of Melbourne’s best spoken-word artists; introducing brand new performances from the acclaimed Cate Kennedy, blues-soaked Benezra and Frente singer Angie Hart, who responds to a special performance from spoken-word legend Adam Gibson.
Some not so fresh stuff. Slow blogging is slow, as we might say on Twitter.
Putting Shakespeare's First Folio on line during the Olympics means you have to "Sprint For Shakespeare". Via Corsair Books on Twitter.
A very attractive way to document train readings, and also to present potential readers with the library's holdings. Via Karen Andrews (@Miscmum) on Twitter.
Introducing Spineless Wonders Audio, along with a bunch of links to other Australian fiction recorded online.
Cabaret writer-performer Michael Dalley's new show, Mademoiselle, will finish at fortyfivedownstairs on the 19th of August, so be quick.
If you haven't seen my tweet already, here is Bill Murray doing more stunts for Poetry House. Here he reads Wallace Stevens, with some reverence. Rather delightful.
Giramondo Publishingwarmly invites youto the launch of thenew poetry collection byMichael Farrellopen sesame
to be launched by Alan Loney
poet and bookmakeron Thursday 2 August6 for 6.30 pmCollected Works Bookshop
Level 1, 37 Swanston StreetMelbourne
Michael Farrell is highly regarded for the unique rhythms, and the gestural and comic qualities of his poetry. His poems set language, syntax and punctuation in motion, heightening the expression of wonder, drama, attitude: or simply relishing the richness and resonance of each new word situation. His new collection, open sesame, includes sonnets derived from Edna St Vincent Millay (‘saints & or’) and from the British police drama The Bill, a sestina on John F. Kennedy set in a laundry, an improvised parody (‘et tu supermarket’), an Oulipo poem (‘debit of a pirate kino’), and four long poems on friendship. The book concludes with a series of collage poems, including one which takes its cue from the legendary Phar Lap.
Michael Farrell is the winner of the 2012 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. An earlier version of open sesame won the Barrett Reid award for a radical poetry manuscript.
I did hope to get to this but I will not be spared, unfortunately.
The launches at Kris Hemensley's Collected Works are inviting affairs. Take another poetry lover along, and be prepared to succumb to the temptation of purchasing something special - there are some amazing books there.
All right, I know most of my posts in the past couple of reloaded weeks have been about poetry.
Found via the newly launched Haplax, in turn mentioned in the Writers Victoria weekly news email, the SoLong Bulletin Of Australian Poetry And Criticism is edited by Elizabeth Campbell, LK Holt and Petra White.
LK Holt's posts in particular look snappy and fun, though there is an illustrious bunch of contributors already. It seems to have been here for some time.
The search box on that Tumblr theme is more effective than some I've played with too. (All blogging platforms have their Achilles heel.)
Go, enjoy. It's a fine surprise.
Yes, Australia has lost two poets and it might look like carelessness to some. But we speak highly of them when they are gone.
Many of you will have already read bookmaker and artist Caren Florance's tribute to Rosemary Dobson, published a few days after her death in late June. It is very touching, and there is a link at the end to Jason Steger's obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Here is an obituary by poet David McCooey, in The Age.
David Malouf's review of her Collected Poems appeared in The Age on June 2:
Spare poems point to natural phenomena, ''a small storm, tethered in the garden'', and the lives of friends. Take, for example, this tender but wickedly observant picture of a dying Christina Stead:
I sit beside the bed where she lies dreaming
Of pyrrhic victories and sharp words said,
She will annihilate the hospital …
Suppose her smouldering thoughts break out in flame,
Not to consume bed, nightdress, flesh and hair
But the mind, the working and the making mind
That built these towers the world applauds …
I have dreamt her nightmare for her. She wakes up
And turns to smile with quick complicity.
''I wasn't asleep. I watched you sitting there.''
The poems in Collected offer something more than the usual record of a progression. To read them is to follow a quiet mind, but an acute one, through a writing life that over the decades is increasingly responsive to what is near at hand and to the oddness as well as the grandeur of things.
She is a poet I readily admit to having glossed over and I look forward to remedying that, quickly.
His verse was omnivorous, one could say, ranging tonally from the church fathers to forthright Willy Sutton, the habitual bank robber. It came in chunky stanzas, buoyed up by his delight in the English language, and its American cousin. Peter wrote verse about kitchen herbs and airlines, Assyria and Scrooge McDuck, Jimmy Durante and Montaigne, even the remembered air force bullring of his youth. Latterly, the birds and bush of seaside Anglesea made their appearance more often, as in these rejoicing lines:
On the eggshell rink above us all they are wheeling
in Lincoln green or burred gold,
hanging from wings that hang from nothing, and stealing
the apple of grace from air’s hold.
This beautiful farewell from Chris Wallace-Crabbe at Meanjin is one of several fine things written about Australian poet and academic Peter Steele over the last month, since his death.
Read it all, it is splendid. Here also is Brendan Byrne's eulogy, at Eureka Street, and a piece from Morag Fraser.
(see Mulberry Road for the other 25, if you will.)
At Granta Online, six poets are interviewed about Poetry Parnassus, an enormous poetry love-in happening at Southbank in London this week.
Susan Hawthorne reviews Robyn Rowland's Seasons of doubt and burning: New and Selected Poems at Cordite.
Jerry Seinfeld's new web comedy, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, premieres online on July 19.
How to sort out Facebook and those tiresome not-so-new email addresses they have lumbered some of us with. (Apparently they may have synced with your friends' email on your phone as well! Who knew?) From ReadWriteWeb.
Finally, a 76-strong booklist of upcoming titles for the second half of the year from The Millions.
And the Complete Review reports on the rentrée littéraire in France. Not the Tour. Just for a change.
Over at Cordite, Adam Ford tells us why he would like to have Thirty More Australian Poets.
Margaret Atwood is sharing her writing online at Wattpad, a social writing site.
"I didn't think they were going to disapprove," said Atwood. "I've already looked at quite a bit [of writing] on the site but haven't commented yet. I think it would be too crushing for me to comment. Out of millions of users, how am I going to single somebody out? It's enough to judge the poems."
She will, she said, be listening to feedback from her readers, however. "I think any feedback is interesting, and this is not your usual poetry reading group," she said. "This is nothing new. [It's] simply being reinvented by the internet ... The Pickwick Papers was published serially and people would respond to the chapters by letter. That's why Sam Weller became such a big part of the book." (The Guardian)
Something marvellous the Guardian has offered over the past couple of months: a series of posts on John Donne's life and work by Roz Kaveney.
Kevin Murphy reports at the Melville House blog that Seth Godin's selfpublishing venture is over.
Also from Melville House comes the news that the Folger Library is releasing its New Folger Library editions of Shakespeare as e-books.
An illustrated review of a cartoon-artist's view of New York in the twenties at The Ember, by Nick Terrell.
And finally, an update on Susan Johnson's blog on the progress of the reloaded Queensland Literary Awards.
THE LAND'S MEANING
For Sidney Nolan
The love of man is a weed of the waste places,
One may think of it as the spinifex of dry souls.
I have not, it is true, made the trek to the difficult country
where it is said to grow; but signs come back,
reports come back, of continuing exploration
in that terrain. And certain of our young men,
who turned in despair from the bar, upsetting a glass,
and swore: "No more" (for the tin rooms stank of flyspray)
are sending word that the mastery of silence
alone is empire. What is God, they say,
but a man unwounded in his loneliness?
And the question (applauded, derided) falls like dust
on veranda and bar; and in pauses, when thinking ceases,
the footprints of the recently departed
march to the mind's horizons, and endure.
And often enough as we turn again, and laugh,
cloud, hide away the tracks with an acid word,
there is one or more gone past the door to stand
(wondering, debating) in the iron street,
and toss a coin, and pass, to the township's end,
where one-eyed 'Mat, eternal dealer in camels,
grins in his dusty yard like a split fruit.
But one who has returned, his eyes blurred maps
of landscapes still unmapped, gives this account:
"The third day, cockatoos dropped dead in the air.
Then the crows turned back, the camels knelt down and
and a skin-coloured surf of sandhills jumped the horizon
and swamped me. I was bushed for forty years.
"And I came to a bloke all alone like a kurrajong tree.
And I said to him: 'Mate - I don't need to know your name -
Let me camp in your shade, let me sleep, till the sun goes
I shall smile, and refrain.
(Both in A Counterfeit Silence. Angus and Robertson, 1969. And I do wish Typepad would leave my spaces where I bloody put them.)
From Stephen Romei's fine post at the Australian Literary Review blog, Ragged Claws, comes this beautiful tribute from John Kinsella, with news of Stow's last published works, posted in the comments by his partner Tracy Ryan:
“This is a great loss. I also consider Stow one of Australia’s greatest writers. For those of us living and schooling in the West, he was inevitably a huge influence, along with Dorothy Hewett, Jack Davis (see next comment) and Kenneth ‘Seaforth’ Mackenzie. I did my high schooling in Geraldton—I knew his merry-go-round well (it is still there), and one couldn’t write without being saturated in his consciousness of light, space and issues of ‘belonging’. I always liked the partially ‘surreal’ quality of his work, especially the poem ‘Dust’ and the novel Tourmaline. I met up with him at Harwich about 12 years ago and he showed me a variety of notebooks which had a large amount of new poetry and other work in them. I managed to convince him to allow me to publish 2 of those in an American journal around the year 2000. I’ll never forget sending him a letter early on in my writing life, and receiving a really positive, handwritten response. He was generous that way. It became a guiding light for me.”
There's a comment from Robert Adamson as well:
Randolph Stow was a great writer, ‘A Counterfeit Silence’ is one of the most important and powerful books of poetry written by an Australian. I love this book and have been reading it constantly since 1969 when it was first published. Stow, with his sly humour and indelible images, beautifully written lines and stanzas, will continue to sustain readers and poets for as long as there are copies of his books available. He lives on in my imagination and I see his world expand each time I take a look into the dark tide of his poetry.
As another commenter notes,
Then the wind died down, and the voices faded, and at last Midnite fell asleep.
Good night, beautiful writer.
June 2nd Update: some final words that are more fitting come from Roger Averill, whose longer comment is below:
Although an intensely private person, Mick (as he was known to his family and friends) laughed at the way he was sometimes portrayed in Australia’s literary pages as a recluse, for he was in daily contact with people in Harwich and welcomed frequent visits from relatives and old Australian friends.
I am heartened by the attention Stow's death has received in the media and hope it helps him posthumously gain the readership his work deserves, particularly among younger people. I think only fitting that I give him the last word, words from a remarkable passage in 'The Girl Green as Elderflower' which offer some counter-balance to the alienation and despair of Cawdor in 'Visitants':
'Truly there is in the world nothing so strange, so fathomless as love. Our home is not here, it is in Heaven; our time is not now, it is eternity; we are here as shipwrecked mariners on an island, moving among strangers, darkly. Why should we love these shadows, which will be gone at the first light? It is because in exile we grieve for one another, it is because we remember the same home, it is because we remember the same father, that there is love in our island.'