Monday, February 28, 2011

le Brocquy...



Jennifer's post over at Art & Lair just reminded me how stunning the work of Louis le Brocquy is. I was first introduced to him by a dear Irish friend and I was instantly in love.

le Brocquy was born in Dublin in 1916 and remarkably is still alive. He is unique among artists as one of the few to command prices in excess of one million dollars while still alive. His over seventy year career has seen many changes in style and approach, but his Ancestral Heads series is my favorite; he painted ghostly images of the poet, Fredrico Garcia Lorca, the playwright Samuel Beckett, modernist James Joyce (see above, images from here) and others like the painter Francis Bacon, in such a painterly, subtle, yet reverent way. I think of them as wonderful homages to other Irish luminaries.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

For the weekend...

Looking for a range of new and different book blogs? Try this Book Blogs Search Engine, and you can also add your own book blog, go to Fire Fly's Book Blog.

I have been enjoying some new finds: Dead White Guys: An Irreverent Guide to Classic Literature, The Literate Man and Roof Bean Reader.

Image credit

Friday, February 25, 2011

What do you prefer?

Matt over at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook is asking about what kind of books you prefer; old, new, leather bound, hardbacks, trade paperbacks, ebooks? It is a great question and one I actually really hadn't given too much thought to.

I have hardbacks, but I only buy them when I can't get paperback copies of books I want. I prefer reading trade paperbacks, like the Penguin classics, as they are the right size to read in bed, or on the train and then pop into a bag. I also love secondhand books, because they hold treasures that new books don't, like bookmarks, bus tickets, inscriptions, ex libris, notes in the margins etc. They have had lives prior to my owning them and I love that.

Above are some pictures of some of my Penguins that I love. My librarian sister-in-law will die if she finds out that I arrange my books by colour (and not even alphabetically within each different colour!). But I can usually remember the colour of the spine of a book and search for it that way. I also have a poetry section, an art section and a Beat section, but I really do need a better system!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

PhD haul...

Don't you love it when a pile of new books arrive almost all at once? Today I found a copy of Bruce Beaver's Poets on Record 7 in a second hand bookstore in Paddington, and yes it does have a vinyl in it with recordings of Beaver reading his poems! I will have to set up my record player, which has sadly stayed in a box since we moved. My copy of In Casablanca for the Waters by Nigel Roberts arrived today, courtesy of Collected Works bookstore. Also today the Applestealers anthology arrived in the mail. Yesterday Steps for Astaire also by Nigel Roberts and The Best Of the Ear edited by Kris Hemensley (owner of Collected Works) arrived in the mail. Five new books for my PhD in one week, what a haul!

Last night's arts night at the Confit was enjoyable. It was a real mixed bag of poetry, music, dance and visual art. The audience were very naughty at times, talking while poets were reading, my heart went out to one poet who eventually stopped and said "I will be finishing soon, thank you", but the main offending table went on with their loud conversations. Despite these few audience members who lacked good social graces, it was a great night, with tasty food and great company. I look forward to going again.

Guerrilla typewriter...

Penguin ad campaign, via The Casual Optimist
Typewriters placed in computer departments of bookstores to call people's attention to Penguin classic books. 

Penguin classics shutters, London

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Very Brisbane Post...

Some ideas for your 2011 calendar, if you're in Brisbane...

BrisStyle Indie Markets, King George Square, February 25
French Film Festival, March 16 - 3 April
Buddah's Birthday, South Bank, April 29 - May 1
The Finders Keepers Markets, Old Museum, July 2-3
Brisbane Writers Festival, September, 1-5
Queensland Poetry Festival, August, 26-28

Follow links for more info. 


Clockwise from top left: Alan Wearne, John Koenig, Chris Lynch and Graham Nunn. 

With the wind helping the bamboo outside Riverbend Books to provide a rustling chorus and the night punctuated by city sounds - cars, conversations and fire trucks -  Pascalle Burton, Alan Wearne, John Koenig, Chris Lynch and Graham Nunn read their poetry on the front deck of the bookstore in Bulimba last night. The evening also launched Brisbane New Voices II, featuring the work of John and Chris.

At the beginning of the night, with a glass of wine in hand, I was handed one of six or so envelopes to participate in one of the readings, I was worried that this may involve me reading something out loud (!), but thankfully the envelopes acted as cues for Pascalle Burton and depending on the envelope's contents, that was the cue for which poem Pascalle read next. It was a fun way of involving the audience, and as she was the first reader, it worked to warm the audience up. Pascalle also utilised sounds (like ping pong balls bouncing) and pre-recorded speakers (some even being played backwards).

Alan Wearne's reading was a highlight for me, especially after interviewing him this week, his reading was lively and full of stories and laughter. John and Chris' work was well received and even though Chris was reading mostly short poems and suggested that the audience might like to hold their applause to the end, he was clapped after every poem. The evening ended with Sheish Money, who had started the event with a song, playing with Graham Nunn who was reading a new poem written in response to the recent floods.

It was a great night, and more readings are coming up, if you interested sign up for the Riverbend newsletter. 
Or check out more details at the Queensland Writers Center.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Confit poetry...

Last year I blogged about what a great time I had going to see a poetry reading @ the Confit Bistro in the Valley. I just read over on Graham Nunn's blog that it is not only on again tomorrow night, it is also being filmed for Channel 7's The Great South East  program. How exciting!

On the Road...

Neal Cassady aka Dean Moriarty, played by Garrett Hedlund Images

Walter Salles' adaptation of On the Road is due to be released in America in December this year. This is another film I am excited about, especially since there is such a long history of this film not being made (which stretches back to 1980). I can only hope that it is as good as Howl (except for the animated sequences). 

For an list of the actors check out IMDB, and for an article on the filming in San Fransisco, look here

(Quality of the image isn't so good, but the sound is excellent)

Monday, February 21, 2011

PhD love...

I interviewed the wonderful Australian poet Alan Wearne today! He was very generous with his time, and extremely helpful, and even gave me a pile of photocopies from his archives. Looking forward to seeing him read Tuesday night at Riverbend Books. And I will be busy transcribing again for some time to come.

Alan is the second poet I have interviewed for my thesis now, the first was with Laurie Duggan in December. I am just amazed at how friendly and accommodating these writers are. I am looking forward to interviewing more poets in the coming months; they have so many stories to tell, and it is great to speak with folks so passionate about poetry, and hear artists talk about their craft.

This is certainly one of the reasons I am enjoying my PhD.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Images from PostSecret, an online project where people from around the world mail in postcards with secrets written on the back of them.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Caesar, what the?

I have been looking forward to seeing La Boite's production of Julius Caesar for some weeks now. La Boite is theater in the round and they received rave reviews for last years production of Hamlet. So I was surprised and amused at first by the jarring and extremely loud music that the play began with and the drunken cavorting about the stage of a few semi-dressed unnamed characters (see image on right).

My amusement turned to horror when Cassius came out wearing a toga fashioned (and I am not lying) out of a white bed sheet and teamed up with some white sneakers and sports socks. Okay I thought, this may look farcical, but surely it must get better. Brutus was in a white singlet with a pair of footy shorts and thankfully barefoot. But then it got worse (maybe not worse than the bed sheet toga, but pretty damn bad). This was the sneaker/pajama production of Caesar, each time a character came out on stage I made a mental note about their Nikes, or Adidas of either pure white or black. I felt embarrassed for them. I just keep thinking, "why... and for what end?".

The death of Caesar was as predictable as it was poorly executed, with flashing red lights and the worst blood packs I have ever seen. He was running with blood, but it explained why he looked so fat when he came out on stage in a crumpled shirt and suit jacket that also could have done with a good iron. With the stupid red flashing lights was more loud music, as they stabbed Caesar with kitchen (!) knives, like some frenzied shark attack.

The award for worst costume goes to the guy who played (among other things) the old woman at the start who warns Caesar (see image to the left). He was wearing skin tight jeans, no shirt and a fake fur jacket, with his underpants showing above his low lying jeans, tucked into a pair of unlaced boots - but at least they were not sneakers! He was also wearing a cross around his neck - some kind of pre-Jesus prophet?

There were a few redeeming features, but not many, Shakespeare with heavy Australian accents and poor emphasis is really intolerable, and really on the same level as the sneakers and togas. When Caesar was killed, the actors wore suit pants, white shirts and ties and the two females wore black dresses. Had they maintained that aesthetic through out the play, it might have worked. But the togas and fake fur, sneakers and pajamas were jarring and ridiculous. It looked more like a rehearsal than the "real thing". At half time Dylan and I weighed up our options and promptly left, we didn't want to see what they would do to Mark Antony's speech. I am regretting the fifty plus dollars I spent on tickets and the fact that this was my Valentine's Day present to Dylan - sorry darling. I only wish I had a picture of Cassius to show you, but at least you get to see the rock and roll old woman and some plastic armor, and I think you get the idea about my feelings regarding the bed sheet togas and sneakers!

One star and I want my money back.

Both images from the La Boite website. 

PhD news...

News just in... I am interviewing another poet for my thesis on Monday! So exciting. I finally gathered up the courage to say "you don't know me, but how about we meet up while your in Brisbane" and said poet has agreed! I will tell you more after Monday! Got to go write interview questions now.
Image credit
PS. Another two interviews lined up for April!
PPS. And another for July!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Norwegian Wood...

Thanks to Anthony over at Time's Flow Stemmed who has provided a link to the official English subtitled trailer for the adaptation of Murakami's Norwegian Wood. Definitely worth watching, it looks beautiful. I also found this one below on  You Tube, it has English subtitles, but is not the official English trailer. Both are very different, so if you are interested in the film, perhaps watch both (they are only a minute and a half each).

Thursday, February 17, 2011


It is time to don a frock and pop the champagne I think. I had another meeting (not so nail biting this time) with my PhD supervisor yesterday and I now have a thesis statement (and the crowd goes wild with applause)!

If you have been following for a little while you will know I am six months into my PhD and have started writing it - but I didn't have a fully formed thesis statement (shocked silence from the crowd)!

I had my topic, my theorists, my poets etc etc,  but not the ever evasive "thesis statement", which is better explained actually as a thesis question (the question I am supposed to be answering in 60 to 80 thousand words). So I have been busy researching, note taking, writing literature reviews and annotated bibliographies and working on crafting my thesis question - and now I have it (collective sigh)!

Champagne, wine or spirit, tea or coffee; let's raise our glasses in celebration. Cheers! Saltue! Slainte!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chatwin in Australia...

I have started reading Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines. This is the first Chatwin that I have read. The Songlines was first published in 1987 and apparently went straight to the number 1 position in the Sunday Times best seller list and stayed there for nine months. He has been called the greatest novelist since Hemingway and he also has the sad honor of being one of the first prominent British men to die of AIDS.

Chatwin is known for his novels and his travel writing and The Songlines has been described as a combination of both. There is a wonderful moment with the character/narrator Bruce pulls out his Moleskine to take some notes and comments that he brought up a pile of them in Paris, but they don't make them anymore. If only he knew how many Moleskines he has helped sell since they started to be remade.

I am only 72 pages in, but thus far Bruce is in Australia and he has traveled to the Alice Springs to meet a man, Arkady, who charts Aboriginal scared sites. Bruce is interested in the nomadic culture of the Australian Aboriginals and the songlines. Songlines cannot be easily explained, they are physical tracks, also called Dreaming tracks, that ancestors or creator-spirits walked while singing the world into creation. These lines and the songs are used for navigation and trade, but are a very significant, sacred and spiritual. By singing the songs of the Dreaming tracks, Indigenous people can navigate enormous distance and cross through different language groups; the songs are passed down and even swapped, but without the songs, the world cannot exist.

Being published in 1987 means The Songlines came out just a few year after the film Crocodile Dundee (1986). That film, starring Paul Hogan, did for Australia in the 80s with Steve Irwin did for Australia in the 00s. And while both can be credited with bringing some exposure to "down under", those stereotypical images of "Australian men" were also detrimental in many ways. Chatwin seems to be trying to look objectively at Australia, while still taking particular pleasure in things like thongs and barbecues, I think perhaps Crocodile Dundee wasn't too far from his thoughts. In some instances, the language is a little politically incorrect in comparison to what is considered kosher these days, I am sure no writer now would dare refer to Aboriginals as "abos". Not to say that the book is racist, because it isn't, but his enthusiasm is perhaps a little misguided at times.

These are my first thoughts and I have about 200 more pages to go, so I will post about this book again in the future.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Odd Jobs...

I know that there are a lot of strange jobs in the world, but I just heard of a wonderful one. My darling neighbors unfortunately had their car stolen, but luckily it was found without any damage. The criminals were nice enough to lock it and clean off all their fingerprints and even all the fingerprints of the owners. It is now being processed by the Police, but they were told they would have to wait for the "sharps specialist" to go through the car. The sharps specialist is someone, a specialist obviously, who is employed to check the car for syringes, they check the upholstery etc. for any hidden sharps. It is ghastly to think about how the need for this specialist came about, but I had never heard anything about any of this before. Is this something that they have everywhere, or is this a Brisbane thing?

I might go hide back under my rock now.

The Big Sleep...

I watched The Big Sleep (1946) on the weekend. Adapted from a Raymond Chandler novel of the same name (twice, 1946 and 1978) this movie is a quintessential hard boiled film noir and the second of four films that Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart would star alongside each other in. They were married three months after shooting finished for The Big Sleep. If you have seen any of the other films they were together in: To Have or have not (1944), Dark Passage (1947), or Key Largo (1948), you would know their powerful on screen connection. Bogart was 46 years old, and well seasoned into the iconic Bogie that we know and love from Casablanca (1942) and The Maltese Falcon (1941). However, he was in at least 45 other films prior to Casablanca. Bacall was 21 when they married.

Ever wondered if Humphrey Bogart was his real name? It was, he was born Humphrey DeForest Bogart in New York, 1899. Lauren Bacall however was born Betty Joan Perske, 1924.

The Big Sleep is complexly layered with intrigue, deceit and other such devices commonly associated with the genre of crime fiction and film noir, but it is done spectacularly. Aside from some over acting by one of the female characters in the first three minutes of the film, it is wonderful, well paced, suspenseful and for me, the right amount of dramatic.  I love the focus on the use of cars and telephones, the suits and hats and the women's clothing. It is a beautifully crafted film, even if it was re-edited and rehashed to be made into more of a romance film to cash in on the success of Bacall and Bogart's previous film together. I can't even imagine how great it must have been to go and see a Bogart film when it was just released.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh Oscar...

Our poor little Oscar felt the sting of two needles today after getting himself in a fight he clearly didn't win. The Cat Clinic gave him a pain killer and antibiotic injection and he got some shaving done to air his wounds. He was named after Oscar Wilde, because people thought Haruki wasn't a suitable name for a cat. So Haruki is his middle name. He is my first cat ever.

Cats get up to such misadventures. He is six years old now and I got him when I was living in Townsville and he has moved around with me ever since, and I have never had to take him to the vet before for fighting. We have lived together in nine different houses in those six years and my dog has lived with me in fourteen different houses in the last ten years. We move too much, but they get along wonderfully, and Angel the English staffy is very protective of short haired domestic Oscar. I am sure she thinks that Oscar is her pet, not mine.

Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Here is a card, a song and a poem for Dylan this Valentine's Day...

Image credit for card

Bell and Sebastian - Like Dylan in The Movies

Song by Allen Ginsberg
The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

San Jose, 1954

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Damn Indie Bookstore, again...

I did it again... just went for a look and walked away with Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More Reading...

I forgot to mention that I finished Marguerite Duras'The Sailor from Gibraltar. The style of this book from really different from anything I have been reading lately (ever?), she leaves so much open to interpretation that I didn't always know if I was on the right track. It is not unusual for an author to leave the ending open or obscure, but that feeling was apparent at so many times within the work also. It wasn't necessarily bad, just not something I am accustomed to.

The protagonist is portrayed immediately in the book as an unlikable person and anyone who has read some of my other "reviews" (more like thoughts than reviews) will know that I struggle when the main character is unlikable, or if we are positioned against them. So the narrator and key protagonist is a dissatisfied French Colonial Ministry clerk who copies birth and death certificates, and after eight years he seems to have some sort of unspectacular break down. He doesn't rage or cry or even really drink, he is on holidays with his girlfriend and he (without giving too much away) decides to leave her and travel alone and not return to the Ministry where they both work. There are tears and sunburn and then he starts to become a little more likable, but only a little. He remains interesting, even if he is disaffected and bored, because his actions are not examined in depth. He has made the break and then he kind of floats into what happens next. And even though what happens borders on magical realism (it's not, but the likelihood of what happens to him happening to anyone is close to my chances of space travel), but then again, strange things happen everyday and this is a strange book.

It sounds like I didn't enjoy it, I did actually enjoy Duras' style and even the far fetched plot and began to like, and wish the best for, the preoccupied narrator - even if he says some of the stupidest things ever, like when he explains how he got into a relationship with his girlfriend in the first place (you have to read it to find that out!)- but he is still very unlikable. Does that matter? Maybe not, it didn't make me put it down and forget about it, so something was working.

The book was published in 1952 and the portrayal of women in the book I am sure must be a PhD thesis somewhere, or at least should be one. I enjoyed the travel element and the writing about ships and ports and criminals - but that again was far fetched and unresolved. Overall, it was worthwhile reading, and I would like to read some more of Marguerite Duras' work, but I won't read it again.

PS. This book was made into a film in 1967, but I haven't seen it, might be worth tracking down (?).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Indie Bookstore... What I've Been Reading...

Damn you funky independent bookstore up the road from me... I walked in just wanting to wander around your neatly stacked shelves, to breathe in the new books and the coffee, and I walked out with two non-PhD related books. Sigh. I purchased Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, a book about Chatwin's travels in Australia and his fascination with indigenous songs and stories, and Love Letters of Great Men and Women, edited by Ursula Doyle. It is, a the title suggests, a collection of love letters from a dispirit collection of historical figures and authors, from men such as King Henry VIII, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Charles Darwin; and women including Mary Wollstonecraft, Queen Victoria and Katherine Mansfield.

I have also finished reading A.S Byatt's The Children's Book, Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About Whenn I Talk About Running, and Simone de Beauvior's She Came to Stay, all excellent reads actually. I posted heavily about The Children's Book while I was reading it, as I was entranced by the Edwardian period, which is almost a character in this novel. I do however agree with other reviewers that Byatt can do too much historical contextualisation and the immense detail can leave you a little frustrated, waiting to return to the characters and the plot, but overall the combination of the historical elements and the lives of the families in this book is intertwined and compelling. Especially when you are transported to wonderful events like the world expo in Paris at the turn of the century, or find yourself in a prewar Cabaret in Berlin.  At times it feels as if there are too many central characters, and you find yourself having to remember if this character is that characters second cousin, step brother or love interest (it gets confusing), but the diversity of the characters is wonderful and Byatt is not afraid of killing them off either. I didn't like that two of the characters died in the same way, I felt a bit cheated by that, but you do grieve for them and their complex interwoven lives. I was sad when I finished reading this book and considered starting it again, it was that good overall.

So completely different was Murakami's autobiographical What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, as the title suggests, the book is ostensibly about running. Murakami, aside from being an incredible writer of magical realism, fiction and non-fiction, is also a marathon runner. The book reflects on his running and his building up to a marathon, but it is also a charming insight into his more personal life. His adulthood, his wife, his world view, writing philosophy etc etc. He mixes information about how many kilometers he has run in a month, with reflections on how he started writing, details of his running shoes, with how he approaches public speaking and his work ethic. A great read for any fan of Murakami, even if like me, you have never run for more than a bus.

And lastly, the spine tingling She Came To Stay, wow. de Beauvoir draws upon her open relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre to break your heart with the frustrations of watching your lover openly falling in love with another (younger, beautiful) woman. She captures the anxiety and the curiosity of the situation with such detail, that it has me inspecting people's facial expressions more closely now. She records not just the significant, meaningful looks, but the hard to interpret looks of ones lover and close associates as a kind of attempt at mind reading. She decodes their faces, interpreting their thoughts, distilling their own anxieties and fears. It must be said that the two central characters love is presented as being above and beyond flirtation and minor affairs, and we understand that the couple have been together for years with this open understanding. But from the start of the novel, this new woman is different and neither of them ever imagined what his pursuing her would do to their relationship. This book captures the fragility of love and commitment, the pain of great affection and the open wounds that people carry inside them everyday. The prewar Parisian backdrop is wonderful, as is the cafe lifestyle of the couple and it made me want to revisit both Paris and Jean-Sartre's The Road to Freedom Trilogy that I read in high school. Another book I was sad to put down.

What have you read lately that you would read again?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Thank you for the comments of support regarding my PhD and my paranoid stress. The meeting went well, my supervisor is happy with my progress, but gave me homework. I was making a storm in a tea cup after all. So I am off to do my homework, but I wanted to share this clip by the band Stornoway, it is beautiful indie/folk song that I am loving and hope you will enjoy too.

PS. If you want to know what "zorbing" is, check out this clip.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


She knows how I am feeling... [image credit]

I am meeting with my primary supervisor today - fingers crossed! He is really lovely, but as a PhD student I have found that you operate so much of the time in complete isolation, with no real deadlines, so it is hard to know if you are ahead, in line or behind where you are supposed to be. I have been researching, reading, note taking and writing.  Since I saw him last I have had an interview with a poet, which I transcribed and sent to a journal, I went to a conference and I completed my annotated bibliography (up to date for the moment) and gathering ideas, notes and sources for a conference paper. So I feel like I have been busy and productive, but was it all in the right direction? Hard to tell as yet.

My prospectus is due sometime this month, but I don't have a date yet. The prospectus is the document and presentation you have to put together prior to confirmation (which at this university occurs after 12 mths), so I have been working on that also. But I am getting worried that I haven't done enough, or I have been focused on the wrong things. I still can't get rid of the feeling that I must have tricked them into giving my a PhD position and a scholarship and someone is going to realise soon and I will have to go back to teaching art in high schools. Paranoid much?

Monday, February 7, 2011


“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
- Pablo Picasso
I am currently putting the finishing touches on an annotated bibliography for a conference paper that I am working on, while my cat Oscar sleeps beside my laptop. 

Theater anyone?

I love Brisbane...

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is being put on this month by La Boite theater. 

The Queensland Performing Arts Center (QPAC) is putting on George Bernard Shaw's 
Pygmalion, also this month. 
Faustus, adapted by Michael Gow and starring the wonderful John Bell, is coming up in 
May at the Brisbane Powerhouse
And George Orwell's political classic Animal Farm is coming in August to QPAC. 

I love living back in Brisbane and I am looking forward to getting 
along to at least some of these shows. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chinese New Year Celebrations...

Just got home from the Chinese New Year festivities at China Town in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, with my twin sister and her little boy. It was fantastic, market stalls, lion dances, traditional drumming and calligraphy. We missed seeing the fire-crackers, but loved the drumming and dancing. Above are some photographs I took of the wonderful colours of the decorations, stalls and shops as well as my sister with a fan, it was at least 31 degrees today. Happy year of the Rabbit everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Friend...

Love this Breakfast at Tiffany's GIF by Arlei via English Muse.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is on my top ten film list, it is perfect in every way... except for Mickey Rooney playing an embarrassing stereotype of a Japanese photographer. I like to ignore those parts of the film, the rest is perfect. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From Floods to Cyclones...

"Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature's mandates." ~ Marquis De Sade

Queensland has again experienced Nature's mandates. From seventy-five percent of the state affected by floods, to the biggest cyclone in living memory. The fortunate part of this latest unleashing of nature, is that no lives were lost, unlike during the floods. We are just spectators to history unfolding, we are documenting it, and standing in awe.

"The poetry of the earth is never dead".  ~John Keats

Murakami Design...

It was at least five years ago that my sister lent me Murakami's Dance, Dance, Dance, it was a strange and wonderful book, unlike anything else I had read. At that time I was ready predominately classics, philosophy and poetry. The only works I read by living writers were when they were part of a course at university. I felt that I had so much history to catch up on and so much learning to do that I avoided contemporary fiction. So Murakami was a turning point for me. After Dance, Dance, Dance, I read A Wild Sheep Chase and went on to work my way through nearly all of his back catalogue that has been published in English. He is such an amazing writer. He seems honest and knowledgeable, there is a wonderful repetition of themes and motifs throughout his books, I love how he writes about music, food, cats and ears. I would recommend him to anyone.

Norwegian Wood is one of Murakami's most popular novels, and as I posted recently, it has been adapted into a film. Over at Don't Panic there is a design competition to create a poster for the film. Below are some examples from the website. So if you are a designer, you have until the end of the month to make a poster, information and images at Don't Panic.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brisbane Poetry...

Well, I am not in San Fransisco (see below) and going to the Free University classes (or living in 1955, see above); but there are some charming poetry events coming up soon in Brisbane (some with a small collection for wine), that I will be trying to get to. For more information, check out Graham Nunn's Another Lost Shark blog for dates and venues.

Free University...

Yes, you read that correctly. If you live in or around San Fransisco, lucky you, but you now have the opportunity to go to a free university with classes on subjects like Jack Kerouac, Dada and Philosophy. I am so jealous. Simply called "The Free University of San Fransisco", the initiative's mission is to:

oversee the restoration of humanity—warm, literate, democratic—to vibrant human life. In order to achieve this aim we must take hold of the very hub of our culture, which is education, and create a brand new kind of institution, one whose existence makes no sense in the current social order, one that stands in direct defiance of the privatized  profit-oriented social engineering centers that pass for universities today.
Requirements for admission are as follows: you must possess a desire to learn and/or teach.

Upcoming events, including classes by the legendary poet Diane Di Prima and author Alan Kaufman are listed on the site. Would love to hear back from anyone lucky enough to attend one of these classes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't get excited just yet...

But I just submitted my first work to a literary journal, it doesn't mean it will be published, but it is an exciting first step. The paper is the edited transcript of my interview with the poet Laurie Duggan that took place in December. Will let you know if it gets published. Fingers-crossed!