Underneath everything we touch is the smell
Of something too obvious to express
And yet we say there is nothing, nothing at all.
What is it about laughter that makes us lift
As if the burden might be gone or the weight
Be somehow alleviated? Laughter is just noise.
To the Islands by Randolph Stow & Tourmaline by Randolph Stow
Attending a poetry festival is not normally considered a life-threatening event (not even if you are prone to deep vein thrombosis from constant sitting) but when I told my family I was going to Struga, I was greeted by worried looks and expressions of deep concern. Struga is in the Republic of Macedonia. Just days before, Macedonian hotheads had set fire to a mosque in Prilip (not that far from Struga) in revenge for the death of a Prilip policeman in a road-mine explosion planted by Albanian terrorists. The hair-trigger tensions in that country were clearly dangerous, and possibly escalating.... (read more)
The Model: Selected writings of Kenneth Seaforth Mackenzie edited by Richard Rossiter
Geoff Dutton was a man-of-letters who for many years made (with Max Harris) Adelaide seem one of the lively centres of Australian literary culture. One thinks of him in association with the magazines Angry Penguins, Australian Letters, and the original Australian Book Review, not to mention the inauguration of an Australian publication list for Penguin Books, and then, when that soured, the setting up of Sun Books, one of the most innovative of Australian publishing ventures at that time – which was in the difficult slough period of the 1950s and 1960s and into the 1970s.... (read more)