Eleven-and-a-half Reasons to Unseat a Government

Published : Monday, October 29, 2007 | Label: Essays  


If a week is a long time in politics, how long is eleven-and-a half years?

Long enough, I’d say.

Long enough, almost, to forget there is another way of governing; that holding sway is not the same thing as leading a people; that without a vision, the people—not to mention the rivers—diminish, no matter how flush.

And it’s long enough to start to forget, under the anodyne influence of a lucky prosperity and the anesthesia administered between shocks of fear by the selfsame government, the many acts of barbarity and meanness…


Roland Hemmert, Landscapes

Published : Monday, October 29, 2007 | Label: Essays  

You have to be careful with paintings and painters.

You have to be careful in bookshops. You might find a book that unmakes you completely for $29.95. You might leave with a book that leaves you cold for fifty dollars flat. You might buy a book that breaks your heart for less than it costs you to travel to work. You might find the answer you weren’t looking for or you might leave with more questions than you came in with. You might disappear forever in a coven of avid fancy-dressed children, caught in the final chapter of…


Original Country

Published : Monday, October 29, 2007 | Label: Essays  


I lived for seven years where you could lie down with the moon.

When she was full she’d slouch across the northern sky, and loiter around midnight in my bedroom window. I’d turn off the light and let her fall on me. For three or four nights at a stretch each month, in that house at the edge of a cliff, that is how sleep would come, out of a crow-black sky.

I dreamed well there. I made some books. I made some poems. We made, my girl and I, a marriage, and…


Days of Christmas

Published : Monday, October 29, 2007 | Label: Essays  


Earth has its own old rituals. They visit us, sometimes, in the midst of ours. They come suddenly, violently. Often, where I live, in the Blue Plateau, it’s fire that comes at Christmas. Not this year.

These days are sung by coal-black birds.

December in the plateau is the season the black-cockatoos fledge their young. In the days before Christmas, a pair that has nested by our bungalow at the edge of the scarp for as long as I have lived here, and probably much longer, feeds its young one on the cones of…


What’s Writing For

What makes writing worth writing—and reading—is what the story or the poem achieves beyond the tale it tells: its music, its wisdom, its form, the way it makes the ordinary world beautifully strange. A good tale is only good, in other words, if the telling is sound and memorable. It’s the voice and mood, the arc and flow, the poetry of the writing that endure when the storyline fades.


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