The Artist. His Model. Their Dog

Published : Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | Label:

1. Dog Sonnet

Best Australian Poems 2012 (edited by John Tranter) is out, and there’s a poem of mine in there: “Dog Sonnet”. It’s a sonnet about a dog…

...My dog, Honey. And of course, since it’s a poem—and a sonnet, at that—it’s about a few other things. Probably more things than it knows. But integrity and love are two of them.

Tranter’s reversed the alpha order of the names this year, so my dog and I get an early appearance (after some nice poems by Fiona Wright, Jen Webb, Alan Wearne and Chris…

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A Leaf That Tells a Tree: Two New Essays on Poetry, Landscape, and the Beloved

Published : Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | Label:

It feels like I’ve been on deadline since June. In a year when I was meant to be finishing my book Reading Slowly at the End of Time, I’ve been much preoccupied of late with other, smaller pieces of commissioned prose. I’m very glad to have had the chance to write them, and some of what I say in these essays will show up in the reading book when at last I finish it—with luck, early next year.

(I’ve posted a separate note about essays I wrote as forewords for two new anthologies of creative writing.) Here, I…

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Speaking Out in the Hinterland

Published : Friday, October 26, 2012 | Label:

I’m sitting at a desk in the back room of Annette Hughes’s farm house outside Cooroy in south east Queensland. On the hill above the garden, where the chickens scratch and the whistler rehearses, jacarandas are in bloom, but they’re struggling to make their usual purple point so boisterously blue is the light.

I’m here to talk tonight in Maleny, a little further south, with Cate Kennedy and Steven Lang. That event is part of a series of such literary conversations Steven, an award-winning novelist and lapsed bookseller, has run as “Outspoken in Maleny” for several years now.…

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The Blue Plateau Reprints

Published : Thursday, September 27, 2012 | Label:

First published in 2009, my landscape memoir The Blue Plateau has just gone into its first reprint.

The Blue Plateau is a fairly literary kind of book, and it doesn’t fit easily into industry categories: it’s creative nonfiction; it’s lyric prose; it’s nature writing. So I’m glad for UQP, its publishers, that the book has sold through its first print run (and that I’ve earned out my advance); and I’m grateful to the press, to Alex Payne in particular, for the faith they showed in the book from the start and the marketing and sales support they continue…

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The Afterlife of the Azure Kingfisher

Published : Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | Label:

I was, for my sins, a guest of the Byron Bay Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, back in August. It was my second Byron showing. I ran a poetry workshop: “Throwing Soft Bombs”; I read and talked with Mike Ladd and John Tranter; I spoke about nests with Gay Bilson and Janine Burke; and I read again at the celebrations for the tenth anniversary of Dangerously Poetic. Then I caught the plan home with the Rabbitohs, fresh from a win over the Titans on the Gold Coast.

Northerly, the magazine of the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre, host of the…

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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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