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Showing posts from September 2, 2012

The Death of the Author (James Joyce)

The Death of the Author Lately Written by the Author for Three Voices: Obituarist    OB Ulysses   UL Wakese FW Collagist: Philip Harvey Performed at La Notte Ristorante in Lygon Street as part of the Bloomsday in Melbourne celebrations on 16 th of June 2011 [The MC will explain during the Introduction that in this reading questionable statements in the Obituary passages will be followed by a gong. Straight factual errors will be followed by the blowing of a paper whistle. Typos in the original text will be underscored by the soft playing of a music box. Patrons are asked to pay close attention for these occasions. A musician plays gong, paper whistle, and music box, as directed in the script.] OB: The New York Times, January 1941. Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan 13- James Joyce, Irish author whose "Ulysses" was the center of one of the most bitter literary controversies of modern times, died in a hospital here early today despite the efforts of doc

Playing with Thistlewords (James Joyce)

PLAYING WITH THISTLEWORDS: TODAY’S LINGUiSTIC ANATOMY LECTURE A theatre piece and reading of Finnegans Wake, written by Philip Harvey and delivered by Juliette Hughes at Bloomsday in Melbourne, 2006. [Lecturer, model and graffitist. Lecturer speaks from podium. Model represents the anatomy, and his features are pointed at by the lecturer with her pointer. Graffitist can be on far end of stage, or somewhere, spray-painting the name of each feature onto huge sheets of butcherpaper as the feature is named. The titles of each section are not read out; they simply serve as eye cues for the lecturer.] THE EAR = LISTENING For the Clearer of the Air from on high has spoken in tumbuldum tambaldam to his tembledim tombaldoom worrild and, moguphonised by that phonemanon, the unhappitents of the earth have terrerumbled from firmament unto fundament and from tweedledeedumms down to twiddledeedees. Which brings us straight to the point. Today I intend to explain, by

Awkward Reverence

Awkward Reverence : the Little World of Philip Larkin Article written by Philip Harvey for the ANZTLA Newsletter and first published in 2005 Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was a large round man with a round bald head and large oblong spectacles. He is about one of the most well-known English poets of the reign of Elizabeth II, and although not as accomplished as the most well-known poet under Elizabeth I, will be in the anthologies as long as English poetry survives. He was a member of a writing circle in the 1950s called the Movement. Its literary values, agenda even, is put well in a letter of the time: “For my part I feel we have got the method right – plain language, absence of posturings, sense of proportion, humour, abandonment of the dithyrambic ideal – and are waiting for the matter: a fuller and more sensitive response to life as it appears from day to day, and not only on Mediterranean holidays financed by the British Council.”1 This has sometimes been called kitchen s

Outside (David McCooey)

Outside, by David McCooey. Salt. ISBN 9781844717590 This review by Philip Harvey first appeared in the Australian Book Review in 2012 Philip Larkin at 31 asked ‘Where can we live but days?’ It shouldn’t take half a lifetime to learn that we have night and day, yet learning how to live with this arrangement, and that this is the arrangement, is something we keep adapting to all our lives. While not itself a dichotomy, night and day helps form the dichotomous nature of our thinking, and informs especially that method of describing and explaining everything, that we call poetry. David McCooey has taken this elementary fact as first principle in laying out writings that are by turns accepting and acerbic, buoyant and bothered, carefree and careful. Or, to get nocturnal for a moment, they are not absolutist, boring, or careless. The book itself is divided into two studied sections, one coloured by day, the second by night. W. H. Auden defined a poet as one who is ‘admired

The Whispering Gallery (Peter Steele)

The Whispering Gallery : Art into Poetry, by Peter Steele. Macmillan Art Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1 876832 85 1, RRP $88.00. Reviewed by Philip Harvey in Eureka Street at the time of the book's publication. Johnson, deploring an absence of trees in Scotland,      claimed that one would foster gaping, ‘as a horse in Venice.’ Homebound or hapless, the mind      will have its fling, essaying. (from The Bridge) Peter Steele’s poems are miniature essays, assemblies of words and ideas compacted into easeful lines with well-tempered rhythms. Steele is well-tempered always, even when the subject is not. Aphoristic gambits, different sides of a paradox, colours occasionally nailed to the proverbial, the personal in play with the like-minded or other-minded, criss-cross paths of the argument – all good features of an essay – animate the Steele poem. He is insistent on the conjunction; we can sense the word ‘but’ about to turn a vignette about face. It makes us pay clo

Max is Missing (Peter Porter)

Max is Missing, by Peter Porter, Picador, 2001. ISBN 0 330 48698 5, RRP no idea Reviewed by Philip Harvey in Eureka Street, at the time of the book's publication ‘Chaos is the ideal of every pattern,’ it is said, though the 41 patterns in this latest collection by Peter Porter aspire dutifully to whatever order the poet desires. Purportedly ‘a late work’, there is here nothing late about the delivery, nor any overstaying the welcome, whether in the precision found in, say, his catalogue of misfit classics: The Troiliad , just as silly and twice as long, with lists of heroes, ships and towns, interfering gods on shortest fuses and magic implements and animals, its love-life platitudinous and epithets attached like luggage labels. Or in the brevity of a lyric like ‘The Puppy of Heaven’: Some sort of judgment comes to everyone - Mind overtaken by its metaphor May watch dismayed as in the evening sun The Baskerville-shaped shadows cross the flo

George Herbert, Anglican identity

Window at St Andrew's Church, Bemerton The Melbourne Anglican, December 2010 Article by Philip Harvey Silence is, I find, often the best way to be with God. Wonder and love are returned through silence and silent prayer. Words can get in the way of such contemplation. Words can hinder and confuse. They can reveal the limits of our understanding, of God and ourselves. However, words are our human way of making meaning. They are necessary, and we are blessed with the abundant vocabulary and versatile verbs of English. Our English has been global for over 300 years, with a multiplicity of expressions for what matters most. Being someone who reads poetry every day, there are poets I return to for refreshment, clarity, or good humour. Perspective helps and George Herbert offers good things. He lived at a time when English more or less coalesced into its modern form. The Authorised Bible was first printed in his lifetime. He lived beside prestigious contemporaries, b