I first encountered the work of Philip Salom in the pages of The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991). Anthologies, of course, have their limitations, but they can be a great place to meet people. Salom's first poem in that book, 'Walking at Night', includes an image of the urban sky: 'Streetlights glow overhead / Like the teeth of a huge zipper; the universe / steals in when the zipper ... (read more)
Michael McGirr is the Dean of Faith at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne, a school that was started by the Christian Brothers. His most recent book is Books That Saved My Life (Text, 2018).
January-February 2016, no. 378 • 18 December 2015
In 1980, when I first came to Melbourne from Sydney, I found myself working among homeless people in the inner city. I was guided by a fantastic nun, one of those forthright people with a fearless sense of justice. She stood up to police and clergy alike. One day we had a long wait in the casualty department of St Vincent's Hospital with a gentleman from the streets who had been in a brawl. I lear ... (read more)
April 2014, no. 360 • 27 March 2014
I have never met a pope, but I have sometimes felt their shadow. In 1981, at the tender age of nineteen, I was a novice in the Jesuit order. We lived in a vast establishment in Sydney: the community included naïve youngsters such as myself, wily old retired Jesuits, as well as representatives of every age group in between. It was quite a fun place to live. One day, we were all summoned to a commu ... (read more)
February 2014, no. 358 • 19 January 2014
Brian Fitzpatrick – a notable historian, intellectual, and civil libertarian – was a prominent Melbourne figure in the middle of the twentieth century. He died in 1965 and survives partly as the central figure in Sheila Fitzpatrick’s poignant memoir My Father’s Daughter (2010), an affectionate and yet painfully honest book. It describes Fitzpatrick’s difficult marriage, his awkwardness i ... (read more)