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Mark Tredinnick

Mark Tredinnick’s latest collection of poetry, Walking Underwater, continues his exploration of the relationship between individual experience and the natural world that was visible in volumes such as A Gathered Distance (2020), Blue Wren Cantos (2013), and Fire Diary (2010). Tredinnick is well known for his writing of place, notably his innovative local history-cum-memoir The Blue Plateau (2009), a book that traces the lives, histories, and natural systems of the Blue Mountains, where he lives. His writing in both poetry and prose is noticeably belletristic, and his stance broadly romantic. This occasionally droops into piety, but Tredinnick also conjures moments of muted and moving transcendence: ‘A balcony and a morning and a lassitude / Of fog. A sky blindfolded and bound and flogged; a night-time’s / Pleasure only halfway spent. Awake early, I hear a band / Of correllas come. Chaste bandits, their flight a quiet riot, a lewd and holy throng / Of unhinged song.’ 

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A Gathered Distance by Mark Tredinnick & The Mirror Hurlers by Ross Gillett

June–July 2020, no. 422

For Mark Tredinnick, best known so far as a nature poet employing distinctive and often ingenious imagery, A Gathered Distance is a brave book – even a risky one. It’s essentially the diary of a family breakup or, more accurately, its immediate aftermath. As with most poetry in the confessional genre, the poet is explicit about some people and reticent about others.

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'Dancing with Stephen Hawking' by John Foulcher; 'The Mirror Hurlers' by Ross Gillett; '63 Temple Street, Mong Kok' by Belle Ling; 'Searching the Dead' by Andy Kissane; 'Raven' by Mark Tredinnick.

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Some things just don’t appear to go together, unless you are good at puzzles. A fox, a goose, and a bag of beans, for instance; or maybe a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. Then there are Australia, love, and poetry. Australians and poetry can’t be left alone together, can they, and don’t expressions of love ...

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Vishvarūpa by Michelle Cahill

April 2012, no. 340

Vishvarūpa, Michelle Cahill’s second collection, is a convocation of untouchables and deities – unbelieving, irreverent, and sardonic – each a proxy for an aspect of the poet’s (post-colonial) self; each a stand-in, even, for a moment in every human life.

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Fire Diary by Mark Tredinnick

September 2011, no. 334

Mark Tredinnick’s much-anticipated first collection of poetry, Fire Diary, is an examination of place and how to respond to it. The title provides a clue to the form of the book; many poems chart the daily exigencies of living within nature. More importantly, the collection explores the moods and aspirations of the self ...

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The Blue Plateau, set in the Blue Mountains, is part memoir, part essay and part anecdotal local history. Mark Tredinnick wrote it during the seven years he spent living in the valley below Katoomba with his wife and growing family. Strangely, we learn little of the author or his family as this informative, sympathetic and poetic book emerges from its landscape in meditative bursts. It is a kind of mosaic of prose poems. If there is an order in this book, it is, as Tredinnick suggests in his prologue, one that is more implicit than explicit.

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During a lull in the fiercest weather event the south-east of the continent has seen in thirty years – we call them ‘events’ these days, as though someone’s putting them on – I went out on a Sunday morning and bought myself a book.

I should tell you that we live on an acre in the country one hundred and t ...

Australian Literary Studies edited by Leigh Dale & Meanjin edited by Ian Britain

September 2005, no. 274

In his Structure of Complex Words (1951), William Empson counted fifty-two uses of the words ‘honest’ and ‘honesty’ in Othello. Nikki Gemmell, the publicity-shy cover star of the latest edition of Meanjin, manages to cram ten references to honesty (her own) into five lachrymose pages of her essay ‘The Identity Trap’, in which she explains that she refused to publish The Bride Stripped Bare (2003) under an assumed name because ‘a pseudonym is a lie’. How comforting it is to know that a writer of fiction should be possessed of such integrity, even if she does say so herself. Gemmell’s revelation does, however, constitute a severe blow to the reputations of George Orwell, Henry Handel Richardson and those lying Brontë sisters.

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Ventriloquist’s Dummy
Jennifer Harrison


          I can’t tell where I’m going
but shall I memorise the shape of streets
          the slope of bridges, the vertigo?
today I’m carried somewhere new –
I’m lost, in pieces, and I rattle

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