Monday, May 29, 2006

feeling ...

... a little under par of late, as you may have guessed.

perhaps ...

... the word I'm looking for is heterodox (for what I do).

It's a thought.

a follow up ...

... about cities and Jane Jacobs, an article by Elizabeth Farrelly.

In excerpt:
"In fact, our long suburban tradition sprang from England; from Ebenezer Howard's 1902 polemic, Garden Cities of Tomorrow. But the fact that we were relatively late adopters does nothing to take the emotion from the debate: our suburban apologists, from Hugh Stretton through Canberra's Pat Troy (to whom Heartlands is dedicated) to Gleeson and Salt, defend suburbia as one of their own.

"The essential argument is this. Suburbia is something we've always had (wrong). In fact, we bloody near invented it (definitely wrong). We like it, a lot (sure), so we are entitled to go on having it (nuh-uh). This elision, from want to need to birthright, parallels Michael Costa's argument on roads, or the child's on Macca's; we want them, dammit, so we've a right to them.

"But give the last word to the good wizard, Jacobs. She noted that Howard's garden suburb "set spinning powerful and
city-destroying ideas". Howard's ideas, propagated by polemicists such as Lewis Mumford and Le Corbusier, consistently, almost willfully ignored the facts that "the cities of human beings … are as natural as the colonies of prairie dogs or the beds of oysters … [and that] lively, diverse intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough … for
problems and needs outside themselves." Hear, hear." "

Saturday, May 13, 2006

listening ...

... a John Coltrane afternoon.

Coltrane Plays the Blues, Ole, Blue Train, Giant Steps and A Love Supreme.

There's some more remembrance of Grant McLennan on Steve Kilbey's blog.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I've added some more pages to my off the street site, including new pages of hay(na)ku, list type poems and some travel poems.

Grant McLennan  1958-2006

Cattle and Cane

I recall a schoolboy coming home
through fields of cane
to a house of tin and timber
and in the sky
a rain of falling cinders
from time to time
the waste memory-wastes
I recall a boy in bigger pants
like everyone
just waiting for a chance
his father's watch
he left it in the showers
from time to time
the waste memory-wastes
I recall a bigger brighter world
a world of books
and silent times in thought
and then the railroad
the railroad takes him home
through fields of cattle
through fields of cane
from time to time
the waste memory-wastes
the waste memory-wastes
further, longer, higher, older

And a reminiscence by Bernard Zuel.

swanning around

A real cold wind is blowing through Sydney at the moment. I had to get out my Swannie. New Zealanders will know what I'm talking about though mine is not the classic bushman's shirt but a slightly more zooshie girly style. You can see it here, mine being black not red.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

this time it's about me

Michael Brennan is the Australian editor for the wide-ranging Poetry International Web site. He has just put up a page with some of my work and another page with an essay about my work.

You may be interested in that, as well as in the site in general.

some book talk

Check the long and interesting post on poetry book buying and other digressions at Michael Farrell's blog.

Just the other day I received a package of poetry books from the US. It was lovely getting the cardboard box and unpacking books I'd almost forgotten I'd ordered. For the record they were books by Alan Dugan, Ange Mlinko, Mary Rising Higgins, Wayne Koestenbaum and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Mixed bag or what?

Sure, I could order from overseas via an Australian bookshop but we've had some hit-or-miss experiences in that regard. I suspect most bookshops, small or large, aren't really interested in doing that kind of thing so you're lucky if they ever remember to place your order. Especially poetry books (the kind they put in the most inaccessible part of the shop). I am of course, exempting a few good Sydney bookshops and definitely Collected Works in Melbourne, a bookshop based around poetry, but with some other lovely stuff, and run by two of my favourite people, Kris and Retta Hemensley.

Books are expensive, especially in this country. I buy some second-hand. It's often the only way to get what you want but it's hit-and-miss in another very obvious way. I did get a very good second-hand copy of Anna Jackon's The Long Road to Tea Time in a Melbourne second-hander when I was there recently (and a couple of Simenon's to add to the pile - oops, there go those novels again).

But, hey, there are libraries. And there's online with all its satisfactions and dissatisfactions.

No-one should ever be allowed to get away with saying, 'I don't read other poets because I don't want it to affect my work'. Other poets should 'affect your work', in fact, they do affect your work. It's nonsense to pretend otherwise.

All power to reading revival.

more on da code (silliness)

This is slightly predictably naffness or, making fun of the Da Vinci Code schtick.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


And here's a listing of (some) Australian literary blogs and other interesting things.

a little more on prizes

Kerryn Goldsworthy has something to say on literary prizes over at her blog.

It's all part of the annual Miles Franklin flurry in the world of novels, but interesting to note.