Sunday, December 4, 2005

Putting the money where the meme is

After giving the matter due consideration, here are my own responses to the Aust Lit reading meme (see Nov. 14 post):

1) Which Australian poem are you most confident you could recite from memory?

Gwen Harwood's 'Suburban Sonnet' -- only because Robyn Archer set it to music and I used to have the album ('Wild Girl in the Heart', title taken from a Dorothy Hewett poem). We're talking vinyl here.

2) Which of the Seven Little Australians are you?

Bunty. No question.

3) Which is your favourite Patrick White novel?

The Eye of the Storm.

4) Which is the best Patrick White novel?

Gah. Um -- A Fringe of Leaves or The Tree of Man, I think.

5) Which Australian fictional/dramatic/poetic character do you fancy most?

There's a sailor in a Dorothy Hewett poem called 'Go Down Red Roses' that I always rather liked the sound of.

6) And which do you identify with most?

Shannon in Ride On Stranger.

7) If you had to read five Australian poems to a heterogeneous unknown audience, which five would you choose?

JS Neilsen's 'The Orange Tree', Gig Ryan's 'If I Had a Gun', all of 'Five Bells', all of 'The Buladelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle', and all of Judith Wright's 'The Shadow of Fire: Ghazals' ('There's altogether too much I know nothing about.').

And I'd allow breaks for meals.

8) Which five Australian books would you take to a desert island?

Voss, Come In Spinner, Carmel Bird's Penguin Century of Australian Stories, David Marr's bio of P White, Nadia Wheatley's ditto of Charmian Clift. This is about memory -- these are the books that would elicit the greatest breadth, depth and variety of memories to contemplate as I sat on the beach getting skin cancer.

9) If you were a guest at Don’s Party, would you be
(a) naked in the pool
(b) upstairs having sex
(c) outside having sex
(d) sulking with a headache
(e) huddled round the TV
(f) crying
(g) more than one of the above (please specify)
(h) other (please specify)

(g) -- huddled round the TV, crying.

10) Tim Winton or Christos Tsiolkas?

Gotta be Christos.

11) Banjo Paterson or Henry Lawson?

Gotta be Henry.

12) Henry Lawson or Barbara Baynton?

Gotta be Barbara. The blacker of two options, every time.

13) Was Helen Demidenko guilty, and if so of what?

Failure to control narrative point of view; bad hair behaviour.

14) What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen at a writers’ festival?

Edmund White saying to a fellow-panelist as they climbed onto the stage to do their thing: 'What is it that we're supposed to be talking about?'


  1. Hehe. Did he find out? With regard to said poetry reading, I'm sure the mealbreaks will be appreciated

  2. I'm still thinking about this one. I was actually going over the list in my head lying in bed at about 4:00am today. I'd get a life if I could get some sleep first.

    You know you're in trouble when blogs take over your dreaming as well as your waking hours.

  3. Oh, dear!

    Well, you could argue that blogging is in fact a form of dreaming.

    I think there is a great deal to be found out about blogging and the psyche, and about blogging and identity. I wish Freud would come back and check it out.

  4. I'm a middle-aged geeky male with mild ADD tendencies who's spent a lot of time in science fiction fandom. I don't think I want Freud digging around inside my skull. It's a scary enough place without him being there.