States of Poetry Tasmania – Series Two

A. E. Houseman memorably said: I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat. It’s not an easy matter to justify one’s decisions when faced with numerous poems from which to make a limited selection. There’s no programmatic guide to what makes a poem successful although the impact of a good poem is something we all know and recognise. Generally it has something to do with registering a sense of shock – it might be the shock of the new, unexpected or strange, or it might be the shock of the familiar – it can take one off guard to be confronted by what one knows but didn’t know one knew. And what creates the shock?

(Sarah Day, ‘State Editor’s Introduction’ to ‘States of Poetry Tasmania – Series Two’; more at Australian Book Review) – and featuring poetry by Anne Kellas, Gina Mercer, James Charlton, Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta, Ben Walter and Christiane Conésa-Bostock.

Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full

(Richard Flanagan, National Press Club address)

Indigenous Australia has, after great thought and wide discussion, asked that it be heard, and that this take the form of an advisory body to parliament – a body that would be recognised in the constitution.

Indigenous Australia wasn’t even recorded as a general category
“What a gift this is that we give you,” Galarrwuy Yunupingu has said, “if you choose to accept us in a meaningful way.”

The gift we are being offered is vast; the patrimony of 60,000 years, and with it the possibilities for the future that it opens up to us. We can choose to have our beginning and our centre in Indigenous culture. Or we can choose to walk away, into a misty world of lies and evasions, pregnant with the possibility of future catastrophe.

But this gift needs honouring in what Yunupingu calls a “meaningful way”. It needs honouring with institutions, with monuments, with this profound history being made central in our account of ourselves and, above all, with what the Indigenous people have asked for repeatedly: constitutional recognition.

In truth, we can no longer go forward without addressing this matter. We cannot hope to be a republic if this is not at the republic’s core, because otherwise we are only repeating the error of the colonialists and the federationists before us.

At a moment when democracy around the world is imperilled we are being offered, with the Uluru statement, the chance to complete our democracy, to make it stronger, more inclusive, and more robust.

And we would be foolish to turn that offer down.

Read more at The Guardian, 18th April, 2018

Gerald Murnane: one of Australia’s greatest writers you may never have heard of

Emmett Stinson, The Guardian, Thursday 5th April, 2018

Murnane is a deeply eccentric character; as he told the Times, “I think you can probably see that I’m sane, but I say and believe things that insane people believe.” After the death of his wife of 43 years, he moved to Goroke – population 623 – where he proudly serves as the secretary of the local golf club. An academic conference about his writing was recently held at the venue where he tended bar during the lunch break.

More at The Guardian