Poet and Novelist


Up Close: The Sea, the Selves: Poets on Poetry 2

Here is a link to a 40 minute audio interview and reading by Jennifer Harrison and myself for the Up Close team at Melbourne Uni. The interviewer is Jennifer Cook and the production team is led by Eric van Bemmel. This invitation to speak and read arrived care of my being an Honorary Fellow... the Melb Uni variety of Fellow, that is. Unless they decide it is an honour they can remove! I hope they don't, I'm proud of having left paid lecturing with some earned honour apart from vague memories in the minds of a few students.

Jenny and I talk about poetry generally but our recent books more specifically - Columbine (Jenny) and The Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter (mine). Here are some brief excerpts from our talk.


I’m restless aesthetically and artistically but I’m also indifferent to the idea of having a single identity or self that is to be established and, to some degree, even made a fetish of in poems.  Some poets do this.  ...  Other poets, of course, use that as an extraordinary strength and it is precisely that quality of strong single identity that gives them their power so it is by no means one thing or the other.
For me, I prefer the power of the language and I prefer the power of the particular imaginations that I bring to that and when I write and collect those poems into books. 


I particularly remember Octavio Paz talking in his Nobel address in 1990 about his idea that poetry falls very much into that sense of separation that a child experiences, the sort of knowing that a child comes into when they realise that the world’s a much bigger place and that one is alone in the world. Paz describes that as quite a deep place where everything that we experience, dream, strive for perhaps is directed towards trying to connect with the world again and I feel very much that that was my experience in childhood of feeling that this was a way of connecting the self with the world.