Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Monday I purchased The Sons of Clovis: Ern Malley, Andore Floupette and a Secret History of Australian Poetry (2011) by David Brooks, published by UQP. Also, just arrived in the mail today courtesy of John Tranter, All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s (2003) by Daniel Kane, Uni of California Press. And my PhD supervisor David Carter just gave me two copies of Makar from 1975 and 1976 that were being thrown out by someone having a clean-up at uni. Thank you John and David,  I have my weekend reading planned out now, how about you?

Makar Vol 12 No 2 June 1976 and Vol 11 No 2 1975

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I have a study and...

I have passed my first milestone for the PhD and progressed to being confirmed as a PhD candidate (you are initially enrolled as a provisional candidate). Hurray! The next milestone is in twelve months time and is a mid-candidature review, so lots of writing to do now.

I have also finished unpacking my study. As you can see it is a small but light filled room which faces the street (sorry about the dark photograph, my camera wasn't coping with all the morning light). My books and DVDs have been arranged alphabetically for the first time ever and there is another bookcase in the entry (which has yet to have the alphabetical treatment).

My IKEA desk holds an assortment of poetry books and my signed copy of Ginsberg's Holy Soul Jelly Roll: Poems and Songs 1949- 1993 that I purchased at the Beat Museum in San Francisco. The two little cubes forming a tiny bookcase were purchased with the help of my lovely sister from Bunnings. I needed something small enough to fit in that space to the left of the desk to hold all the files and folders of photocopies, notes etc. for the PhD (a filing cabinet would be ideal, but financially and spatially the cubes stacked on top of each other were a better option for the moment). I have a room of my own, I have organised by books and my papers and now I have no excuse not to work!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Home to a new house...

 Bedroom with one box to unpack

 Bathroom and my drawing of Egon Schiele

 The study - just boxes at the moment!
 Oscar in the lounge room

Galley style kitchen

Back in Brisbane and one room left to unpack. The new house is a sweet little Queenslander (weather board timber house on stumps, early 1900s). Time to set up the study and get to work on all the material I found in Canberra!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last day at the library...

Michelle De Stefani, Alexandra Dellios, Jon Piccini, me and Robert O’Shea
Photograph by: Craig Mackenzie

Flying home tomorrow. It has been a fantastic research trip. I have found so much material for the thesis and enjoyed exploring Canberra and meeting new people. It has been a busy six weeks. I have to give a presentation on my research today to library staff and then it is drinks and a goodbye dinner with the other scholars. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

From MS83 Box 2 Folder: "Poems from plastic folder"...

                                                             Nigel Roberts Cento

                                                                 in the Post office & General Store
                                                   we were pissed / flagon drunk
                                                                                            & affirming our bond, say
                                            this place / is the only place where
                                                                                     she has aquired some

                                                                     Genius / & Taste etc.

A cento I composed today while going through Nigel Roberts' manuscripts at the ADFA library, Canberra. Lines taken from "Today, in the Post office", "Of the wall, Buckmaster, myself & Bukowski", "Letter to Jamie Grant", "The Los Angeles Affirmation", "Joanna" and "Beauty/ Truth/ Genius? & Taste etc."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is a poetry generation? Some ideas...

There exists multiple ways to conceptualise generations. The multiplicity of view points and approaches to study and definition of generations vary widely, consequently in order to deploy the term effectively, to have it read with an intended meaning, one needs to demarcate how the term is being utilised. In the case of the “generation of 68” the term acts as a label for a group of poets rather than as a specific generation locator. It is not utilised critically to demarcate a generation of poets born after 1945 in Australia, but used to define a group of poets within the post-war generation. The “generation of 68” is does not function as an all encompassing term like “generation X” or “baby boomers”. It functions more like the label of “Beat generation” which was applied (in their case self consciously) to a group of poets.

The label "generation of 68" is synecdochic, it functions as a figure of speech where the part is used to express a greater whole, it is short hand for the generational location and the contributions young poets were making to Australian poetry, but it does not represent all poets of their generation (i.e. Les Murray is their contemporary, but not a "generation of 68" poet). While the term does carry obvious political connotations, and many have read it as a reference to international youth movements, 1968 was also the year that many underground magazines appeared in Australia (Mok, Crosscurrents, Our Glass and Transit) and readings began in meaningful ways at Monash University and La Mama. The significance of the year 1968 is reinforced in the preface to Applestealers (1974), where Colin Talbot explains that the collection offers a sample of works from the “renaissance in Australian poetry, which took place from about 1968, and continues to occur” (12). The year 1968 is a reference point, a metaphor, used to denote a period of time, a beginning date for a decade of change.

The "generation of 68" remains in many ways a contentious label or definition, this is largely due to the ambiguous nature of literary generations. The earliest allusion to a “generation of 68” is arguably Thomas Shapcott’s 1970 Australian Book Review article “Poets Today”. Shapcott writes that the advent of a number of new little poetry magazines beginning in 1968 “indicates that there is – at last – an active body of young people prepared to make the break with established journals and go it on their own” and whose faults of “brashness, arrogance, imitation [and] haste” are outweighed by their “openness of attitude”, and who will “have to face exactly the same problems of integrity, allegiance and adaptability as every generation before them” (277). While he does not explicitly use the term “generation of 68”, Shapcott’s article links for the first time in print the idea of a new generation of young poets with the year 1968, demonstrating his tacit awareness a new generation.

Tranter’s “Four Notes in the Practice of Revolution” (1977) is the first article to explicitly use the phrase “generation of 68”. Tranter ruminates over the preceding decade, and writes of the generation of 68’s rebellion and revolution. He describes the conservative poetry scene that the New Poets were rebelling against in the late 1960s, and the importance of small magazines around that time for the “cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques”, as well as focusing “the anti-establishment aims of the groups” (129). The groups go unexplored, but the generation of 68 comprised poets associated with Monash University, La Mama and Carlton in Melbourne and the New Poetry magazine and Balmain poetry scene in Sydney.

In the introduction to The New Australian Poetry (1979) anthology Tranter begins by stating without reservation, “This anthology contains the works of twenty-four poets, mainly young writers who first came to prominence in the closing years of the 1960s – the ‘Generation of ‘68’” (xv). He goes on to examine some of the causes that made this “loose group of writers” so “unique”, citing: demography (youth population/ baby boomers), music, technology, drugs, shifting attitudes to authority, American poetry, the Vietnam War and a “commitment to the overhauling of the poetic method and function” (xxvi). He also identifies the importance of poetry centres, poetry readings, and “underground” magazines. At this moment, by assembling a group of poets around the label, Tranter gives concrete form to what was previously an abstract idea by naming poets associated with the generation. The anthology contains the work of twenty-four Australian poets including Robert Adamson, Michael Dransfield, Laurie Duggan, John Forbes, Kris Hemensley and Alan Wearne. Tranter’s edited collection is in many ways a showcase and a retrospective for his own generation of poets, who he perceives as being united by “a generally expressed antagonism to the established mainstream of poetry at that time, which they saw as too conservative” (The New xv).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ginsberg audio online...

Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky 1956 (via)

The last day of week five at the National Library and feeling pretty low about my PhD (my confirmation may be pushed back even further), so I decided to cheer myself up with some online audio of Allen Ginsberg reading in 1956 over on the Penn Sound website. If you haven't visited the site before there are readings from 1956 to 1995.

PS. Happy Birthday Sam!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week Five...

Complete Destruction

by William Carlos Williams (via)

It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it

in the back yard.
Those fleas that escaped
earth and fire
died by the cold.