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…


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…


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.



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…



Essays are a literature of fact. They are what some of us write who aren’t much good at making things up—for whom the actual world is more than enough. Compulsive truth-tellers write essays; bad liars write essays. If fiction, at its best, is the lie you tell to tell the truth, the essay is the truth. A more direct mode. There’s plenty of scope in it—more than enough rope—for poetics. An essay tells the truth beautifully.

I’ve written…


Search this site