Many years ago, Robert Gray was the Writer-in-residence at the university where I was slowly bleeding dry all of their writing subjects. I took creative writing, professional writing, discursive writing and journalism; I studied Australian literature, Romantic period literature and then bawled for more. I rearranged my schedule to learn from Helen Garnerwho told students their work was shit and then suffered through the quiet awfulness of Kim Cheng Buoy who couldn't teach worth a damn. And once I went and listened to Robert Gray, reading from his latest book of poetry.
I wanted to look at some Australian poetry, perhaps a little guilty that I don't do enough to seek out anything Australian: rarely watch Australian TV; rarely see Australian films; rarely listen to Australian music. This is from Gray's poem 'Wingbeat':
...IN SOME last inventory, I’ll have lost a season
through the occlusion
of summer by another hemisphere.
the winter tolls twice
across the year. The leaves of ice
in their manuscripts
are shelved on the air and each sifts
fine as paper-cuts along the wind...
And because I've been curious about her since I read 'Vale Dorothy Porter' but didn't dream of committing to a verse novel, I read this: 'Trouble' (just an excerpt below)
I challenge the mirror
‘how much guts have you got?’...
I want you, trouble,
on the rocks.
Photo Sources: Dorothy Porter from the review of El Dorado at theage.com.au; magnetic poetry from Mr Giomini's Class Blog here on Blogspot