Category Archives: Writers and Writing

Articles about writers, poets, poems and books, including criticism and review pieces.

Ten Sonnets launch, 2013

Each of these 25 Photos from the 2013-09-29 Launch of Ten Sonnets by John Tranter, Realia by Kate Lilley and The Tulip Beds by A.J. (Andy) Carruthers… is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Creative Commons License
These photographs are all copyright © John Tranter and are offered royalty-free under a Creative Commons licence (check link above).
Click on the photo to see a larger version, then click on the photo again to see the next one, and repeat, ad exhilaratio.
[>>] Back to the photos index page
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Drinks for all: Nel Wolf
Drinks for all: Nel Wolf. Click on the photo to see a larger version, then click on the photo again to see the next one, and repeat, ad exhilaratio.
A determined buyer
A determined buyer. Click on the photo to see a larger version, then click on the photo again to see the next one, and repeat, ad exhilaratio.
Rory Dufficy, Andy Carruthers
Rory Dufficy, Andy Carruthers
Michelle Kelly
Michelle Kelly
Alexander Dennis, Alex Burns
Alexander Dennis, Alex Burns
Monique Rooney, Fergus Armstrong
Monique Rooney, Fergus Armstrong
Kate Lilley and Sharon Jones
Kate Lilley and Sharon Jones
Chris Edwards, Rozanna Lilley
Chris Edwards, Rozanna Lilley
Jennifer Egan, Amelia McCormack
Jennifer Egan, Amelia McCormack
John Tranter, shot by his own camera
John Tranter, shot by his own camera
Nicola Parsons, Melissa Hardie, and with hat: Gae Bloodworth
Nicola Parsons, Melissa Hardie, and with hat: Gae Bloodworth
John Frow, Sandra Hawker, Judith Barbour
John Frow, Sandra Hawker, Judith Barbour
Adrian Jones, Monique Rooney
Adrian Jones, Monique Rooney
Sarah Gleeson-White in the background, Toby Fitch
Sarah Gleeson-White in the background, Toby Fitch
Kate Lilley, Birgitta Olubas, Elaine Minor, Andy Carruthers
Kate Lilley, Birgitta Olubas, Elaine Minor, Andy Carruthers
Alice Grundy, Rory Dufficy, Elizabeth Webby
Alice Grundy, Rory Dufficy, Elizabeth Webby
Toby Fitch, Chris Edwards, Fiona Hile
Toby Fitch, Chris Edwards, Fiona Hile
Sam Moginie
Sam Moginie
Melissa Hardie
Melissa Hardie
Elizabeth McMahon
Elizabeth McMahon
John Frow
John Frow
Elizabeth Allen
Elizabeth Allen
Rozanna Lilley
Rozanna Lilley
Absorbed reader
Absorbed reader

Gleebooks, the perfect bookstore: books, poetry parties, drinks.
Gleebooks, the perfect bookstore: books, poetry parties, drinks.

Advice…

John Tranter: Advice to a New Writer

forlorn-poet
I’ve been writing and publishing poetry for half a century. Now and then I receive enquiries from people starting out to be a writer, asking me to read their manuscripts (for nothing) and tell them what they should do to become a famous published poet, or at least a published poet. I don’t have the time or the inclination to read poetry manuscripts or to write lots of personal letters, and since what I say is always the same, here it is.

Find another career.

Please…
Continue reading Advice…

Blaise Cendrars

cendrars-and-woman
French novelist and poet Blaise Cendrars, with a woman friend. He is clutching her left hand, not his own right hand: he didn’t have a right hand when this photograph was taken. Photographer unknown. Wikipedia: Frédéric-Louis Sauser, better known as Blaise Cendrars, was a Swiss-born novelist and poet who became a naturalized French citizen in 1916. He was a writer of considerable influence in the European modernist movement. He died in 1961. Some quotes: “Only a soul full of despair can ever attain serenity and, to be in despair, you must have loved a good deal and still love the world.” And: “you make me laugh, with your metaphysical anguish, its just that you’re scared silly, frightened of life, of men of action, of action itself, of lack of order. But everything is disorder, dear boy. Vegetable, mineral and animal, all disorder, and so is the multitude of human races, the life of man, thought, history, wars, inventions, business and the arts, and all theories, passions and systems. Its always been that way. Why are you trying to make something out of it? And what will you make? what are you looking for? There is no Truth. There’s only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust, stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend?”
The UK Guardian says: “Blaise Cendrars – or the ‘son of Homer’ as John Dos Passos called him – is himself a strange kind of fiction: born in La Chaux-de-Fonds of a Scottish mother and Swiss father, he claimed that he left home aged 15 to work in Russia during the revolution of 1905. He was a bee-keeper, a film maker, a chef, a picture-house pianist, a watchmaker, and a traveller with drunken gypsies. He spent the first world war fighting with the French foreign legion, where he lost his arm in combat, became an art critic, befriended Picasso, sailed the seven seas, shovelled coal in China, amassed and lost huge fortunes and had his own gossip column in a Hollywood newspaper. Nobody knows how much of this is actually true. Though he certainly lost an arm in the first world war, it is possible Blaise Cendrars was pulling more than one or two legs.”
More — much more — here in the TLS: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1462845.ece.

What’s wrong with research funding

humanities-funding
Here’s an article from Arstechnica.com that talks about the nightmare of Science funding now in the USA. Just change the word ‘Science’ to the word ‘Humanities’ and you have the problem; the problem that’s turning humanities faculties today into sheltered workshops for dullards:

Like any researcher, [Tim] Berners-Lee had to find support to work on his idea. He wrote up a 14-page proposal and sent it to his boss at CERN, Mike Sendall, who famously scribbled the following on the front-page: ‘Vague, but exciting…’ We are all very lucky that Berners-Lee was in a time and place that gave the young engineer some latitude to pursue his vague but creative idea, one that would ultimately change the world. If Berners-Lee submitted that idea to government funding agencies for support, who knows where the Internet would be today?
[…]
‘There’s a current problem in biomedical research,’ says American biochemist Robert Lefkowitz, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. ‘The emphasis is on doing things which are not risky. To have a grant proposal funded, you have to propose something and then present what is called preliminary data, which is basically evidence that you’ve already done what you’re proposing to do. If there’s any risk involved, then your proposal won’t be funded.‘[…]
‘A truly innovative idea cannot be judged by peers: if it is truly innovative, no peer has any clue about it; if peers already know about it, it is not innovative’ said John Ioannidis, head of the Stanford Prevention Research Centre in California. Ioannidis and others published a recent analysis called ‘Conform and be Funded’ where they show that safer, established ideas have a much better chance of being funded at the NIH than novel, creative ones. [Emphasis added.] [More here]

Lots of photos…

Dozens of photos from recent Conferences and Conversations and Readings at the University of Sydney and Gleebooks and Sappho bookstore… Thanks mainly to the indefatigable Kate Lilley… and some visiting American scholars and poets, i.e. Lyn Hejinian, Carla Harryman, and Barrett Watten, and visiting Englishman and poet John Wilkinson… here: http://poeticsresearch.com/?page_id=1156

and here: http://poeticsresearch.com/?page_id=1268

e.g.: crowd-04

Symposium in Sydney!

john-wilkinson-kate-lilley

Experimental:

A Poetics Symposium
Department of English, University of Sydney
7-8 July 2014

Photo: John Wilkinson (left) and Kate Lilley (background) at Gleebooks, 2014-06-30, photo John Tranter

This exciting 2 day symposium on experimental writing and poetics features Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian and Barrett Watten, three of the most significant and influential architects of the movement which has come to be known as Language writing, live and in person. The important English poet-critic, John Wilkinson, will also give a keynote reading. A fantastic lineup of participants from around Australia includes: Pam Brown, Andy Carruthers, Kate Fagan, Toby Fitch, Anna Gibbs, Ross Gibson, Melissa Hardie, Luke Harley, Martin Harrison, Fiona Hile, Eddie Hopely, Ella O’Keefe, Astrid Lorange, Kate Lilley, Philip Mead, Peter Minter, Sam Moginie, Gig Ryan, Chris Rudge, John Tranter, Ann Vickery, Corey Wakeling and Jess Wilkinson.
The Symposium will end with a celebratory reading at Sappho Books, 51 Glebe Point Rd, Sydney, July 8, 7pm.

Also join us for a pre-symposium reading at Gleebooks on June 30, 6 for 6.30pm with Pam Brown, John Tranter and John Wilkinson.

Registration: $60 waged/$40 unwaged; day rate $35/$25

pam-brown-reading

Enquiries: Associate Professor Kate Lilley, Director of Creative Writing, Department of English, U Sydney. kate.lilley@sydney.edu.au

This event is hosted by the School of Arts, Letters and Media and the Department of English at U Sydney.

 

Photo: poet Pam Brown reading at Gleebooks,
2014-06-30, photo John Tranter

Shall and Will

fowler-english

Chapter II. Syntax
SHALL AND WILL
IT is unfortunate that the idiomatic use, while it comes by nature to southern Englishmen (who will find most of this section superfluous), is so complicated that those who are not to the manner born can hardly acquire it; and for them the section is in danger of being useless. In apology for the length of these remarks it must be said that the short and simple directions often given are worse than useless. The observant reader soon loses faith in them from their constant failure to take him right; and the unobservant is the victim of false security.

More (*much* more) at http://www.bartleby.com/116/213.html

So Essentially Australian, No?

When I saw the finished copy of the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry in the early 1990s, which Philip Mead and I had laboured over for years, I got quite a shock. Here is the cover.

tpbomap-cvr-lores

It is a montage of every Australian image cliché you could imagine: traffic on an expressway, a sprig of leaves, a stockman on his motor-bike with three cattle dogs, a wise old Aboriginal, an abandoned building in the bush, lots of other stuff, and a red-haired freckle-faced Australian teenage girl at an Australian beach, with the Pacific Ocean in the background.

meyerowitz-redhead-lores

Except for one thing: I immediately recognised the montaged photo of the red-haired freckle-faced teenage girl at the beach. It had been taken a few years before on the beach at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the north-east of the USA, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background, by the rightly-famous American photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Here is a tiny, feeble copy of the huge and detailed large-format original. That freckle-faced kid would now be around fifty years old, if she survived skin cancer.

It features in his widely-distributed book Redheads. Every graphic designer had a copy… I suspect even Penguin’s graphic designers.

meyerowitz-redheads-cvr-lores

What is it doing on the front of the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry? Well, I can’t be quite sure, but I guess a lot of our poetry is influenced by American models.

In fact ‘The American Model’ is the title of a huge and important poetry conference held at Macquarie University in Sydney in May 1979. The book (a collection of the papers that resulted) was titled The American Model, Joan Kirkby, Ed. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1982.

As for Penguin’s designers… Did I mention my disquiet to Penguin? No.

Poetry at The Loft, NSWIT, 1982-84

The Loft poetry readings at The Loft, NSWIT, 1982-84

goldman-arnie-1983-r33-2-final-lores-15cmw

Photo: The late Arnie Goldman, steering boat, and friends, Pittwater, Sydney, 3 December 1983, photo by John Tranter

Twelve poetry readings from late 1982 until early 1984, organised by Lyn Tranter in collaboration with the late Arnie Goldman: about thirty hours of readings by 76 Australian poets in all held on Friday nights at The Loft, NSW Institute of Technology, now the University of Technology, Sydney. Dates, readers, some photos. Follow the link above that reads “The Loft Poetry Readings”.

Thinking of my photos from 1982 and 1983 of the late Arnie Goldman and other friends at Pittwater, I’m reminded of Proust: ‘A photograph acquires something of the dignity which it ordinarily lacks when it ceases to be a reproduction of reality and shews us things that no longer exist.’ From the mouth of Baron Charlus, from Proust’s great novel. Proust is always much smarter than you think.

JPR is growing

JPR 01 Contents: A descriptive list (JPR can be found here.

Early days yet: no articles, but so far the magazine is full of resources for your research into mid-twentieth-century Australian poetry:
dog
Research Resources:

Warning: these resources reveal a strong gender bias typical of the period. See if you can guess what it is.

[Link:] Vivian Smith: Australian Poetry in the sixties: Some Mid-Century Notes. ‘What is most likely to strike the viewer of the Australian scene is the prevailing conservatism of most of the poetry written here.’ [Link:] Robert Kenny: Welcome Stranger: An Introduction to Applestealers — a collection of the New Poetry in Australia, 1974. ‘[T]he one quality that stands out when reading the bulk of Australian Poetry written prior to the sixties is an abnormal mediocrity’. [Link:] Kris Hemensley: The Beginnings — a note on La Mama (1973-74): ‘”Vietnam” was the shorthand for all that was ugly, evil and obsolescent in the world. The need for the new was felt by many people in every situation from the socio-political to the literary.’ Continue reading JPR is growing

Good girl!

PM is write-on

Sydney Morning Herald Letters, 27 May 2014

THERE ARE PRESSING ISSUES for the book industry. Ensuring book­sellers are competitive demands the imposition of GST on offshore online retailers. Fair remuneration for copyright creators and creat­ors across all platforms is imperat­ive if Australian writing is to con­tinue to flourish. However, captur­ing the attention of the govern­ment of the day is never easy for the cultural industries.

The announcement of the con­tinuation of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards is therefore wel­come (“Tony Abbott chooses con­servatives to judge the Prime Min­ister’s literary awards”, smh.co-m.au, May 24). Book people aren’t generally conservative in their voting preferences so credit is surely due to both the Prime Minis­ter and Minister for the Arts for attending the Australian book in­dustry’s “night of nights”. No shoes were thrown as the Prime Minister addressed the 400 attendees, nor were there mass walkouts as some­what breathlessly predicted.

If Tony Abbott’s legacy is to be known as the Prime Minister for Books, that can only benefit Aus­tralian writers and readers.

Louise Adler
President of the Australian Publishers Association,
Carlton (Vic)

My latest fit of madness…

At poeticsresearch.com
JPR 01 Contents
dog
Research Resources:

Vivian Smith: Australian Poetry in the sixties: Some Mid-Century Notes.’What is most likely to strike the viewer of the Australian scene is the prevailing conservatism of most of the poetry written here.’

Robert Kenny: Welcome Stranger: An Introduction to Applestealers — a collection of the New Poetry in Australia, 1974. ‘[T]he one quality that stands out when reading the bulk of Australian Poetry written prior to the sixties is an abnormal mediocrity’.

Kris Hemensley: The Beginnings — a note on La Mama (1973-74): “Vietnam” was the shorthand for all that was ugly, evil and obsolescent in the world. The need for the new was felt by many people in every situation from the socio-political to the literary.

[The JPR site is Under Construction: more to come]