My Sydney adventure began at Roma Street train station, where I caught a train to the airport and flew down to Sydney. I was whisked away from the airport by a shuttle bus and dropped out the front of my hotel on George Street. The hotel is flanked on one side by a bottle shop and on the other a Catholic church. The Pensione Hotel is in an old building that has been renovated to create a centrally located hotel with "boutique interiors" (ie. small). But it was a great place to stay and while I was in Sydney I interviewed two more poets for my PhD.
The first poet I interviewed was Robert Adamson at his beautiful home beside Mooney Creek in the Hawksbury. He was charamatic, alive with energy and very generous with his time. We spoke about everything from his love of Bob Dylan and his friendship with Brett Whiteley, to how to organise bookshelves and the generation of 68 that he was a part of. It was a great experience and I left with a neat pile of signed books and poetry magazines; he even signed one for a friend of mine who loves his poetry. So generous.
The next day I was off on a bus to Balmain to meet with John Tranter. Tranter complied the anthology on the generation of 68, The New Australian Poetry (1979), and is seen as the spokesperson for the generation. Aside from being a major Australian poet, reviewer, editor etc. he also started Jacket, an online magazine which recently found a new home and has become Jacket2. It was great meeting with him and between my interviews with Tranter and Adamson I was able to debunk a few myths about the generation of 68 for my thesis.
On my fourth day in Sydney I caught a train to Wollongong for what was ostensibly a poetry exhibition. "The Coalcliff Days" exhibition is a collection of photographs, films and books by artists, writers and poets who lived, stayed or visited Ken Bolton's and Sal Brereton's miner's cottage from around 1979-1981. There were two poetry readings, one on the opening night and one the following day with readings from Laurie Duggan, Allan Jefferies and Ken Bolton (see photographs above), as well as Pam Brown and others.
A wonderful week away. Now I have hours of transcribing to do, some great new books to read and lots of catching up to do!