North to Garradunga

Launceston Poetry Cup : October 2010

The running of the Launceston Poetry Cup took place during the Tasmanian Poetry Festival in October 2010. These were hectic times: Julia Gillard had not long won leadership of the Australian Labor Party from Kevin Rudd, and the AFL grand final rematch took place the day of the poetry cup. Festival director Cameron Hindrum alluded to both events. 'A couple of things I just want to go through: it's been a year of turmoil in Australia recently frankly, there've been a few events that perhaps haven't been decided in a timely manner. We've had a hung parliament - a very close election result - and of course the AFL grand final rematch today. I just wanted to let you know what happens if we have a hung result tonight in the Poetry Cup: you need to negotiate with Steve and me for about seventeen days as to who we should support, and at the end of that I'll give a rambling twenty minute speech. In the event that there's a draw tonight, we will run the Poetry Cup again next Saturday night, and then we'll give it to the person that no-one likes….'

Hindrum offered a sample of a poetry cup entry, his 'Ode to a Female Politician With Whom I Don't Agree', a play on a popular Facebook video: 'she has style grace poise / nice hair / and she has those / Julie Bishop eyes…'.

Thirty-four entrants have thrown their hats in the ring - Hindrum: 'That's a long night' - and Joy Elizabeth draws the short straw by being selected to read first. First cab off the rank is, as usual, a tough ask. Joy's been searching for the winning formula for years. A couple of years ago, she concentrated on the difficulty of a topic to explore. Try something original? Topical? Sex? Politics? 'The Cup's a bloody setup / cause if you speak Mandarin / you're destined to win….' she alleged in 2008, referring to Liu Yongbing's effort two decades previous, winning the cup with a poem no-one in the audience could comprehend and - legend records - which wasn't a poem at all but a shopping list. Last year Joy took a swipe at the proposed pulp mill, and this year? Afraid not: but no-one ever wins when drawn first, and rarely when drawn last.

Liz Winfield is comfortably '… caught on the inside of glass / Each tiny droplet, a scene from a dream / a snore of disregard …' when the microphone fails. It marks the beginning of a host of technical difficulties throughout the evening. 'What we're going to do ladies and gentlemen is use the inhouse PA system. I'll ask you to be patient, and we'll resume normal services very soon; in the meantime, we'd like to introduce a frantic five minute raffle ticket buying section'

With the sound system working again, Liz completes her poem which brings Yvonne Gluyas to the microphone. 'If you want to win the cup / then you gotta know a rap / but I'm just an old lady / I know nothing 'bout that….' she begins. She finds strong support, but is it enough to enable a repeat of her 2007 victory?

Vicki Riette arrives at the microphone to read her entry entitled 'Spring Parodies'. 'The daffodils / the daffodils... ' she begins; again, the mic cuts out.

'The connection?' someone wonders. 'The speakers?' asks another. And 'Perhaps it's a poltergeist.'

Vicki again takes her chances with the microphone. 'The daffodils, the daffodils ...' but the fadeout recurs.

'Got some hold music anybody?' asks Cameron. 'Why did Polly put the kettle on? Because she had nothing else to wear.'

'Did you hear about the playtypus that walks into a bar? Says, give me some ChapStick and put it on my bill.'

'Ah…. I've got a similar one. Did you hear about the platypus that walks into a bar and orders a beer? Bartender says, I'll be stuffed, a talking platypus.'

'I've got a Canadian one,' someone drawls, sotto voce. 'Did you hear about the baby seal? Walked into a club….

'Aaaaaggh! How l-o-o-o-w can you go?'

'How many Doctor Who fans does it take to change a lightbulb? Several; but they all think the old one was better.'

'How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? Huh, as if poets can afford light bulbs!!!'

'How many poets does it take to change a microphone?'

'Can't be done, apparently!'

'Did you hear about the insomniac dyslexic agnostic? He stayed up all night wondering if there was a dog.'

'A lion walks into a bar, says 'Can I have a beer ........................please?' The barman says, 'What's with the huge pause?'

'One two / One two / One two, how are you? I think we're there.'

'The daffodils, the daffodils….' Thankfully, the microphone holds true and Vicki is able to complete her poem.

'Quite possibly the longest cup entry in history,' says Hindrum as she departs. 'Next we have Bruce Penn with "Gourmet Poem"'. Penn outlines the process - from fresh chook, to industrial blender, to deep fry - to arrive at chicken nuggets. 'Serve the children - yum'. Marilyn Arnold's ribald offering begins 'I could only get it up so far, with great persistence', earning a typical Hindrum response, 'Again, not touching that one.' Christine Attwell's contribution touches on the political, the proposed Gunns pulpmill; she's followed by a poem with 'a thirsty chook' as its subject matter before it's Peter Bakowski's turn at the microphone. His entry's 'A Poetry Six-pack', half a dozen two-line poems of which the opening piece is entitled 'The pickpocket'. 'Wishing to reform / he joins a nudist colony'. Poems completed, Peter returns to his seat. 'That was more than one poem,' grumbles Lysenko.

Earl Livings' offering 'The Enterprise of Dust' has a philosophical bent, the next - 'Kafkaesque, a sentimental journey' - a political leaning (Gunns, Hydro, Aurora and Transend come under attack), and Liz McQuilkin's 'The Perfect Woman' brazenly courts an added decibel or two of support: 'Gentlemen, why not buy a lifesize doll? / ... / mannequins, anatomically correct'. 

'I'll take two,' someone calls as Liz returns to her seat.

Festival guest Ben Walter aims a probing attack on cultural tastes and 'the sitcoms they prop up with constant public affirmation'. 'Why don't dramas have cry-tracks?' he wonders, and for thrillers why not 'four hundred people yelling shit and spilling their drinks / when the guy appears at the shower screen?' He departs, voluminous laughter ringing in his ears.

Exo and endo skeletons are the focus of the next competition entry, then festival guest Ray Liversidge takes the mic. Efforts to woo with songs of John Donne and dialogue on the metaphysics of love have been seemingly rejected: she 'left the house calling me / a crazy gender fascist.'

'Sometimes you just can't win, can you?' Hindrum murmurs consolingly. 

With 'Real Poetry', Marie Stannus tells us of a desire to be a real, legitimate poet. But how will she know she's crossed that bridge? 'I'll know I've arrived / when Myron Lysenko interjects.'

'Very good,' say Hindrum. 'At the school where I work Myron, that's called "getting owned"!'

Jenny Barnard entertains with a Florence Nightingale poem. Jenny won the cup in 2005 with her poem 'Meat - Out': alas this isn't to be her night.

Festival founder Tim Thorne takes a satirical tack with his poem 'Jumping Joe', calling attention to the controversy over Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. Thorne focusses on the fate of a 36-year-old Fijian man who'd been held in detention at Villawood and who - in September 2010 - had taken his life on being informed he was to be deported back to his own country.One of a number of asylum seekers protesting on the roof of a Villawood detention block, he jumped. 'so Joe made his decision as he stood above the crowd / after a moment's thought / he gave all us a new spectator sport.'

Canadian Laurie Brinklow amuses with 'How to catch a cowboy'. Been thrown from a horse 'arse over teakettle?' The solution's simple, really, the same with horses as with cowboys, you just have to remember 'you get thrown off / you get right back on.' Hindrum: 'Exactly'.

Marie Stannus reads a poem of lost love on hehalf of someone unable to be here tonight - 'I think we've all had someone special / who we've let get away'. Next Jacqueline Turner reads 'Friday', beginning with the line 'pour me another'; as each drink is poured, we 'grow flirtatious', we're 'witty at parties', we 'profoundly sigh, see it all so clearly' - why, we even 'know how to convince Quebec to stay.'

'That's a real poem,' observes Lysenko admiringly.

Valerie Tinmouth is next with 'The Underdog', an interesting selection given she admits she 'ain't got no poem this year'. Nevertheless she's out to win the cup 'but you have to cheer me / loud and fast'. Don't cheer for those mainland poets, she implores, 'choose a vocal local yokel / somebody just like me.' People do.

Sheila Burchill presents the topical and political with 'Julia's Day' about her admiration for a red-headed Welsh girl: 'we have our first woman prime minister / I swelled with pride and hope'. Rainbow follows with 'So much to buy, so little time' outlining her plans for her (husband's?) credit card lying on the coffee table. 'I checked my watch and headed for the door / Royal Dalton I think.'

Myron Lysenko throws his hat into the ring with a breathy performance ending in 'ha ha hey ha hey ha / hel lo? Hello.'

Much of Mark Tredinnick's writing deals with relationships with family and friends, or with nature - or both - and 'Eleven pm' is no exception. He takes the mic, reads with considered deliberation: 'one kind of affair always tapers into the other / the moment you're used to it, if not before, it's over.' Susan Austin's piece, entitled 'Bookshop Capers', is sharp and entertaining. 'At night behind locked bookshop doors / words sneak from their pages to mix with others,' she begins, before alluding to clever sonnets that 'disband, mingle and reform into villanelles', to valuable haiku that 'rush to adopt more words', heroic couplets that 'leap from shelf to shelf' and free verse that 'cruise the scene to chat up abandoned rhymes'. Susan's delivery is interrupted by the sound of the hooter, but - to the accompaniment of groans of dismay - she carries on regardless. 'That could have won.'

Nancy Corbett, another genuine contender with her poem 'Sacrifice', laments having left her sense of humour at the alter. She'd never meant to leave it there, but somehow 'it disappeared beneath the words / especially "obey"'. 

'There are two people in this room who have won the poetry cup twice. Mr Berry is one of them,' notes Hindrum, introducing Colin Berry.

'Hat trick on!' murmurs Lysenko encouragingly.

Berry continues the late surge of genuinely funny and clever poems with his piece entitled 'Casual Positions'. He lounges in front of the microphone, newspaper in hands; notes in a droll tone there's a casual surgeon wanted and wonders whether it might be worth a try. 'You get to reattach a cornea / if you catch the boss's eye'.

Three entries remain, the first a 'mishmash' of Gilbert and Sullivan, the second Joan Webb's 'An Alternative view' and lastly Joe Dolce's 'Guantanamo Bay' sung to the tune of 'Guantanamera'. His is a tenebrous chronicle of sleep deprivation and other atrocities 'not in Geneva's convention' at Guantanamo Bay detention center. Joe's a crowd pleaser, we sing along; he finishes to sustained applause. 'They like you Joe, they really like you.'

The judges confer; Hindrum returns to announce the winners. 'It's unanimous. Third is Sheila Burchill, in second place is Val Tinmouth, and first Joe Dolce. Wouldn't you know it, for the second year in a row - after Ross Donlon in 2010 - it's gone to a mainlander.'

'I came runner up to a mainlander last year so if you lot don't get your act together next year, I'm quitting,' laments Val Tinmouth. 

Dolce thanks the festival committee for having him, 'from that foreign country over where I got this accent. It's been a real pleasure Cameron, small festivals like this are the best festivals in the world and it's an honour to be here, thank you.'

'Wonderful to hear that Joe,' Hindrum responds, 'cos it means that after twenty-five years we're still doing something right. And that of course is due in no small part to the work of Tim Thorne in starting the festival in the first place. I guess if it's working we'll just keep doing it.'


Geoff Dean's 'Mysteries, Myths and Miracles' : 30th Sept 2010

Pete Hay launched Tasmanian author Geoffrey Dean's new collection of short stories on the theme of myths, mysteries and miracles [Ginninderra Press] at Hobart Bookshop in September.There's a magic realist quality to several of these stories, Hay remarked: life - the space/time fabric itself - are never quite what they seem, characters appear who have no apparent history, who come and go as figures of mystery. 'I used the word magic when I started my talk, and that word was carefully chosen. Here it seems to me, is our master story-teller moving off into new rich realms. Now we might well think of Geoff as "dear old Geoff", but dear old Geoff the writer continues to grow and continues to push the boundaries, to explore the possibilities of his craft. Geoff's not doing it by numbers. He's not simply reproducing a template that has served him well in the past. This is a wonderful collection of fiction.'

Geoff thanked Pete for his comprehensive reading of the book. 'You frighten me a little on how far you go into it: I didn't really know I was doing all those things.' Geoff spoke of his understanding of the world of stories as being not necessarily split into groupings of the literary or the commercial, but into good stories and bad stories. 'We're imbued with the idea of storytelling. Take Somerset Maughan … I don't think that he was a particularly good writer, but bloody oath he was a great storyteller. Graham Greene was the same. They are people who write stories that you can remember.

'People have often said to me, "I like that story!" and invariably I ask why, because I've got to put some kind of name to all this. And they say, because it was so satisfying. Yet with most of the short stories I read, I'm not satisfied at all; most novels I read today, I'm not satisfied with either… I think Vonnegut once said, the best way of writing a short story is to keep the beginning and the end as close as possible. And the end should also relate to the beginning; but most people don't do that, they start a story then head off into the wilderness, who knows where it ends? And there's the idea - this terrible idea, one could say - that you've got to leave something to the reader. I mean, why? The only thing I can think of is they don't know how to end the story so they leave something up to the reader - who couldn't think of it either …'

'I admit that critics have said complimentary things on the back of my book … but really, who takes note of what the critics say? The praise I really appreciate are the things that come unbidden from strangers, like the woman who sent me a letter from Sydney, writing to say this was only the second fan letter she'd ever written. The first one she sent to Pavarotti. I mean, that was nice. But the one I like best was an exchange with a bloke from Yorkshire. I was selling my book down at the market one day, and heard someone with this very heavy English accent asking how will I know I'll like the book? I said to him, if you don't like it return it to me and I'll give you your money back. Oh, Oi'll be going back to England tomorrow he said. Okay, send it back from England and I'll still return your money, I said. Two years later, I heard this very familiar voice say from the other side of the stall, 'Oi've com to get me money back'. I thought, uh oh, turned around and there he was. "Ah well a deal's a deal," I said. "Ah Oi was only jokin,'' he replied, "I read out a couple of these to the Northumberland Literary Society and they've ordered three more". I said alright, sold him three more books and poured him a coffee and he talked to me about Yorkshire. 

'They're the kind of exchanges that keep me going….'


Deirdre Kessler, Laurie Brinklow, Pete Hay : 27th Oct 2010

One of the Tasmanian Writers' Centre's feature events for 2010 was a reading with local writer and environmentalist Pete Hay speaking with visiting Canadian writers Deirdre Kessler and Laurie Brinklow at the Lark, in Hobart in October.

It's always a pleasure to listen to Pete Hay. 'Here in Tasmania' - 'this is my signature complaint' he adds with a wry grin - 'here in Tasmania when you turn on the television news the weather fore-caster comes on and says "It's raining across the state". Now the state is a constitutional fiction. The state is the police stations, and the public schools and the roads and the government offices and the parliament. So it's raining on those things, but what about the rest of the island? This to me is the measure of the extent to which we haven't come to grips with the geographical fact of islandness. When the weather forecasters start to say, "It is raining across the island….", however ...'

'On Prince Edward Island,' Hay continued, 'there is a very very strong island consciousness. Even when their poets write about oases in the desert, as Deirdre has done for a forthcoming issue of Island magazine, it's an island trope that's coming through.' Is islandness at the forefront of the way Prince Edward Island writers think about themselves, he wondered? 'Is there an island effect within the literature of Prince Edward Island? To what extent, he asked Deirdre and Laurie, is your own work island informed?'

'Some of my poetry is island informed: very much so, the particular flora and fauna matter to me,' insisted Deirdre Kessler. 'But when I was living in that oasis in the desert in a two acre place called China Ranch, that was my island, and I learned all the flora and fauna, and the coyotes. I knew that place. My island poems are very much informed by the colour, by what's living, by the historical past - but not other poems. I've written a poem set in Mexico, another set in the Red Centre of Australia, and both share a similar close identification with place. So I can't help you here by making it all fit into a theory of islands.'

'What does make it fit though is the fact that islanders are very cosmopolitan,' added Laurie, 'islanders have always been coming and going. It's part of who we are as islands and islanders because otherwise we'd just die, we would stagnate if we didn't have routes across the ocean or the strait, or roots dug deep into our island soil'. Laurie Brinklow says that as she's become more alive to the realisation of Prince Edward Island as a wonderful place to write from, it's infused her writing - even to getting the vernacular language down. 'After twenty-seven years of living there, capturing the voices and the stories of the people there is coming into more and more my poetry.'

'This is how presumptuous I am,' admitted Hay, on another tack. 'I went to Prince Edward Island and gathered together a pile of locals and took them on a field trip of their own island. And I was confronting. I went into a forest and I said, I want everyone to stay together because there are black bear and elk and big cats, there are all sorts of dangerous critters in these woods, I don't want to lose anyone. People looked at me and said, there are none of these animals here. And I said, Ah ha! Well there used to be. So now I want you to go into these woods and look for the absences. 

'They don't, by and large, do that in Prince Edward Island.

'Deirdre and Laurie know me well enough not to take umbrage here - and they were both on this field trip - but it seems to me in this important respect we are more mature here in Tasmania. We have looked the awfulness of the destruction of indigenous society much more squarely in the eye than they have on Prince Edward Island. We have thought more deeply about what it means to have destroyed the largest endemic form of animal life on this island. They haven't done that - it seems to me - on Prince Edward Island. They have this dramatic past. We myth our own past, of course ? and we myth it wrongly. They myth their past ? I'm not lisping here ? they myth their past, and they also myth it wrongly. But we're doing more about rectifying this, it seems to me, than Prince Edward Island is. Is that fair comment?'

'Yes I think so,' Deirde replied. 'Perhaps this is a good time to read the poem that's dedicated to you. Pete took us on that field trip, Laurie and I and about nine others all crammed in a van. This poem was written the day after the field trip.'

Come from away: 40° South looks at 46° North

for Pete Hay

This clear-blue-eyed, unfeathered one 
from 40 degrees south latitude 
takes us into our own woods,
passes along a question from Barry Lopez:

How does birdsong ramify?

And then he dares to ask us 
to see not only what is present,
but also what is missing.

In the matchstick forest, 
kinglets flit among the spruce, 
give us high descending notes
a handful at a time, 
the sound as delicate 
as their wren-sized bodies.

Chickadees up the ante, and a red squirrel,
whittling a spruce cone,
considers hitting the chatter alarm, 
but lets bluejays trump the soundscape.
Distant crow, distant baseline 
of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

One of our troupe stoops to pet the furry hide
of spaghnum moss, spring green no matter the season. 
On a windfall, a gob of witch's butter, dayglo yellow.
Here and there, red-capped Russula emetica, 
baby-girl pink, and clown-ears of wood fungus 
lurk knee-high up trunks. 
Grey-green spanish moss, drips from conifers, 
feather-touch on shoulder, back of head. 
Hair on hair.

Water in a sudden spring
bubbles up from an aquifer 
through the fine silt of story, 
layers going clear down to Glooscap, 
Abenaki and Mi'kmaq, the People.

Beaver have intentions--this is real estate 
in their purview, adjoining barachois pond 
already too crowded. Earlier this year, 
on a winter walk, we heard insistent mewing 
of the kits under the dome of lodge; 
now the young ones help gnaw two fine white birches, 
soon to lie across the bubbling spring, 
another layer, another story.

The Taswegian moves us along to an Acadian fishing village, 
his radar sharp: something's happening. 
On the wharf, a crowd has gathered; television camera
turning three bluefin tuna into news.

Inside a boat sling-shed, a man, surname Gallant
or Richard or Arsenault, hands and knife 
of his great-grandfather, guts one bluefin. 
Already in a plastic bin, her opalescent head 
kisses her tailfin; entrails a delicate pink 
that should never be seen, and, fresh 

the blood, the seawater-blood perfume, 
then from a fat hose well water gushing 
from wrong openings in her body, 
blood and sea washed away from the hollowed-out being.

Bloodsmell in my nose and brain, 
my own fluids returning the call, kin to kin, 
and indelible, now, the curve of fin, structure 
of gills, smooth, black perfection of skin.

The forklift operator clenches, and the second
northern bluefin, weighed, ready for gutting, 
slips from the sling. She was never meant for air. 
"That one goes 650 pound." A bystander knows--he's 
fished since before metrification. See the weather
in his face, in his sea-water-thickened fingers.

The come-from-away guide moves us on 
to an almost hidden graveyard farther along
the north shore of Abegweit, Minagoo, Île St Jean, 
St. John's Island, Prince Edward Island.

A nor'easter, perfect storm, early October 1851, 
The Yankee Gale. Sailors' bodies layered 
on the cold bones of first landowners; 
shipwreck story nearly lost, almost 
as lost as clacking antlers of moose and caribou, 
growl of black bear-what is missing 
from this island in a gulf in the North Atlantic Sea.

In the scrub spruce and bayberry, 
marram and goldenrod, up comes the song of birds, 
bank swallow, song sparrow, signifying, 
ramifying upwards and horizontally--
song over the shore field, in and around, 
twining, weaving, connecting, then gone. 

And, oh, how we must claw back, break 
tooth and nail, or sink sadly under.

'That was inspired by Pete Hay, taking us into our own woods,' Deirdre concluded.

'That's right, what gall,' Hay responded. 'But I love that island. It has the same dark dramatic history that we have. I love it.'


Anna Krien, Amanda Lohrey in conversation : 17th Sept 2010

Melbourne author Anna Krien's book Into the Woods, dealing with the Tasmanian forest industry, was published in 2010. Krien visited Hobart in September to promote the book, speaking with Amanda Lohrey in a public event hosted by Fullers Bookshop in Hobart.

Amanda portrayed Anna as the new phenomenon in Australian writing. 'I described her at the Melbourne Writers' Festival as the reincarnation of Hunter S. Thompson. - in female form -' said Amanda, 'and she very quickly said "But without all the substance abuse"'. 

Lohrey suggested Krien had suddenly come out of left-field to almost reinvent Gonzo journalism in Australia, the first attribute of which is fearlessness. 'There are moments in this book where you will literally hold your breath, for example where she fronts up in the hotel in Maydena in a public bar full of loggers and asks them if they'd like to talk about Tasmania's forest industry. And all I could think was, oh my God. I'm glad I'm not her mother'. 

Krien's response was that she didn't feel fronting up to the pub was that fearless. 'I didn't really feel that was a brave act, I just felt it was the only way I was going to connect to some people'.

Asked why a Victorian - 'from St Kilda I believe, not even a bush brat' - came to write about Tasmania's native forest industry, why she came and stayed, Krien replied that she'd stayed in order to dig beneath the surface. 'I discovered that the forestry issue's something of a false battle ground.' she said. 'That's what the media is mesmerised by, this battleground of loggers versus young activists out in the forests, and I think it's a worthy aspect to the forestry issue in Tasmania but I also think it's a decoy, and it's a very helpful decoy to people who are worthy of more scrutiny in the issues'. 

Krien said she learnt a lot from the loggers she met; appreciated that they had it hard not just from the environmental movement but from the woodchipping industry. She encountered a sense of sadness and lost pride 'which is conveniently blamed on the environmental movement but I think a lot of that has got to do with the woodchipping industry. I don't think that's been portrayed that well in a lot of the coverage of the issues. It's been very much "it's our forests so we can log it" or "those redneck loggers", it's never been these guys pummelled from all sides.'

Readily apparent was Lohrey's hesitation over Krien's terming of the protestors as 'The ratbags'. She'd suggested Krien rename them 'the protestors', but Krien wasn't to be dissuaded. Amanda continued with questions about Krien's style of writing, about whether she'd actually started out by thinking 'I need to put myself in this, I need to be part of the story', or whether it just happened. 'Was it part of a conscious decision to write in a particular way, in the new journalism style where the writer is actually an active participant, forming relationships with the main players, or did that evolve?'

'It's simply how I write,' Krien responded, describing herself as an uncertain protagonist - 'I like to use myself as a guide' - and mentioning her view of Tasmanian issues as being 'very cut and dried' and needing a narrator. 'I think it needed an outsider to be that narrator, it needed someone who didn't have too much of an ego or a swagger about them, who was happy to be proved wrong on more than one occasion'.

Asked about the sort of prejudices and predispositions she brought to the subject, Krien said she was mostly aware of her leanings towards having a great affection for nature - 'I like creatures, have nothing against fur and feathers and I was aware I was predisposed towards the environment, wanting the trees to still stand as opposed to them coming down' - but was also aware of being a writer and relying on paper. 'I didn't want to be a hypocrite. I was also aware of my shadowy hippy past, aware of people being too earnest - I was very aware of that as well. I was aware of whose side I could fall on if I didn't control myself.' 

'Control yourself…. You mean, control yourself in what sense?' Lohrey asked.

'To be tolerant and flexible and open,' Krien replied.

Krien mentioned that it wasn't meant to be a book. 'It bullied its way into being a book, it was meant to be an essay but to me it felt like it hadn't been written. It wanted to be a book' ... to which Lohrey lamented on being old enough to have seen a number of environmental crises in Tasmania and of waiting and waiting for a book to be written about them which never arrived. 'We didn't get a book like this on Pedder, we didn't get a book like this on the Franklin, so much has gone undocumented on the ground, that really vital, interesting, emotional dynamic, emotion, frightening…. All the great stories about … so good on you. And it took a Victorian!'

Krien suggested that for her generation, Green politics was more of a mainstream issue that it had been for previous generations. There wasn't such a sense of it being outrageous or radical; that maybe it started with education, in primary school where it was taught and it wasn't an issue - 'you were taught to recycle. The only thing that was strange to be taught these things at school was when you left school you learnt that it didn't really happen'.

And maybe this is our fight to fight as well, Krien continued … in the sense that the sexual revolution and human rights were big issues in the sixties and seventies ... maybe this is our generation's … this is our gris, this is where we're at.

'Good. Some of us are tired,' Lohrey responded.

In conclusion, Lohrey referred to the English critic James Wood's proposal that the writer's true obligation is to map out changes in consciousness at any given moment 'and I think this book is one of the best attempts at that I've ever read'. She referred too to the American critic Lionel Trilling who suggested that the most exciting thing in politics is to watch the moral life in the process of reinventing itself. '... the good writers document or chronicle that event in slow motion but more to the point they capture the emotional underbelly of it. And the title Into the Woods is intentionally archetypal and mythic. It is about the innocent abroad in the great issues of the day.'