Monday, 31 December 2018

A memory of Mirka Mora

Today I wrote a 100-word piece on Mirka Mora, whose show is currently on at Heide Gallery. These words reminded me of being with Mirka one time, a memory that follows the 100 words:
Table (December)
It’s a noisy time at Tolarno, the tables discussing the rich tapestry of life, everyone in stitches. Is this an angel at my table, or another politician? December’s mad enough, but new year’s eve? That one with the ‘Q for Quest’ tee-shirt, how did she get in? Probably one of the family. Perhaps Quest is the answer to the question. That dragon on the far table must be one hundred if she’s a day. And that fellow there’s turning into a wine bottle. Bohemia has its limits and they are ragged around the edges. Who is your favourite French poet?
'Q for Quest' reminds me of the hour or so we spent with Mirka during the anniversary party for the Hill of Content Bookshop, sometime in the nineties. The party was upstairs next door at Florentino. Very good champagne. Mirka plonked down next to me. She was, as usual, a picture in layers of lace and cotton, similar in style and texture to one of her Parisian dolls. To say she was vivacious and inquisitive is to state the norm. At that time I was going through one of my weird acrostic phases, so she wanted to know what were the words on this piece of paper. We proceeded to invent a fresh acrostic poem together, but I cannot recall the subject. Champagne good very. But it could have included 'Q for Quest'. She ran off with a copy, who knows where it went. I wish I had known then that one of her favourite French poets was, like mine, Francis Ponge. We could have invented descriptions of champagne bottles and the like, very.

Later the next day:

Memory (January)
In December I reminisced about composing an acrostic with Mirka at a party at Florentino. On January 1st I recovered her memoir ‘Wicked but Virtuous’ from a shelf. These two photographs fell out. So it may not have been an anniversary party for the Hill of Content Bookshop, but her launch. The title page is signed ‘Mirka 6.10.00’, so not quite the nineties. There was certainly champagne, but Carol has moved on to white and me, red. Mirka is wearing some dark purple velvet creation and not, as recalled, layers of lace and cotton. That must have been another occasion.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Collected Works Bookshop closes this week A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL HOMAGE

Here are the first ten books found here at home this morning that could only have been purchased in Australia at Collected Works Bookshop:

1. A Far Rockaway of the heart, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. (New Directions, 1997)

2. Collected essays, by Antoni Tapies. Translated by Josep Miquel Sobrer. (Fundacio Antoni Tapies & Indiana University Press, 2011)

3. The Council of Egypt, by Leonardo Sciascia. Translated by Adrienne Foulke. (Carcanet, 1988)

4. Chemical cart, by Philip Hammial. (Island Press, 1977)

5. Country harbor quiet act around : selected prose, by Larry Eigner. (This Press, 1978)

6. Lost possessions, by Keri Hulme. (Victoria University Press, 1985)

7. The stories and recollections of Umberto Saba. Translated by Estelle Gibson. (Sheep Meadow Press, 1993)

8. Finding the islands, by W.S. Merwin. (North Point Press, 1982)

9. Hotel Lautréamont, by John Ashbery. (Carcanet, 1992)

10. Localities, by Robert Harris. (Seahorse Publications, 1973)

Thank you Kris and Retta for so many years of dedication to readers, poets, conversationalists, downunder beats, over-the-top rhythm sections, introverts and extroverts of every description.