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Showing posts from 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

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 Pu

‘Books that saved my life : reading for wisdom, solace and pleasure’ by Michael McGirr.

This review first appeared in the December 2018 issue of The Melbourne Anglican. ‘Books that saved my life : reading for wisdom, solace and pleasure’ by Michael McGirr. Text Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925773149 At university, friends of mine circulated lists of books thought necessary for any fully-educated person to read. More recently we’ve seen the phenomenon of the one hundred books we have to read before we die, as though life is a race to get through someone else’s favourite reading. Michael McGirr’s book is not like that. In forty chapters he talks about forty books, and more, that have positively influenced his understanding of himself and the world. Read a chapter a day, it is recommended as a Lenten book with a difference, especially as we find him saying: “Reading will feed your hungry mind and take your heart on a journey. It will help you on the path of one of life’s most elusive and hard-won freedoms, freedom from the ego.” He reads Thomas Merton to “underst

Max Richards shares 10: Email retrieval on Auden and religion

Email from Max Richards, 5 th April 2011: This is the title of a short essay in Craig Raine, Haydn & the Valve Trumpet , Faber 1990. Read it, accept it, and call off your projected gathering on the topic! On the other hand, read it, demolish it and then do your thing... Just chanced on my copy of Raine in a box tother day, and only just now looked down the contents page. How goes it, anyway? To my surprise I spent time Sunday morning in the Castlemaine Anglican church, because my friend Lorender Freeman of Barkers Creek is a keen Anglican there, and an old longlost friend who now lives in C., was to be playing the cello with a small group for just that session. Bob Long, doctor and cellist. The session was for children first, and they sat on the floor up front and were engaged in conversation by the junior priest. The senior one is the great Rev Ken, whose surname will come to me in a moment. Ken has done much for J. S. Neilson in the past and introduces art and lit i

Stately (September)

Yes is the author’s last word, linked by its ess to Stately. Yes is much easier to understand than Stately. Why did he choose the word, standing like an ornate boss at the opening? The story is set neither in blossoming April nor shilly-shallying September, but in what Italians call Estate. The first character veers Wildely between stately and plump, as does the female lead, though we do not laugh at the words’ incongruity when referred to her. We peer widely, rather. Stately forewarns us of the State of Ireland, of which we’ll hear much, coming about out of famine.

Danis Rose & James Joyce & Michael Wood ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Philip Harvey  Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 13:53:49 +1100 Subject: Fined Again Wacked To: Max Richards Dear Max and Alan, thank you for the review of the new Danis Rose FW. I have just read it over lunch. The reviewer, Michael Wood, has given some excellent descriptions of the process of reading the book and of the types who get into Joyce's type. I recognise myself and others in a number of his portraits. The review helps to update us on the general history of reception. I also like the tempting theory that Joyce was not really interested in the cyclic Vico view of history, even though it is unquestionably one of the identifiable bases of the creative performance.  Personally, I think Joyce believes in repetition and that every time something repeats itself in time, it's different. Did Stephen Dedalus ever wake from the nightmare of history? When I read FW it

Scottish Country Dancing with Michael Argyle

In December 2010 I wrote to my New Zealand colleague and friend Helen Greenwood, mentioning in passing her encounters on the dance floor with Michael Argyle, the social psychologist. Helen replied, asking, “What's the link with Michael Argyle? I know him as a particularly reckless but enthusiastic Scottish country dancer.” This email followed: -----Original Message----- Sent: Monday, 13 December 2010 10:59 p.m. To: Helen Greenwood Subject: Michael Argyle I have always wondered why you seem fairly indifferent when I mention Michael Argyle. I have several times over the years. To me, the very concept of actually DANCING with Michael Argyle is stupendous. We had several of his books at Joint Theological Library [Note: today the Dalton McCaughey Library in Parkville, Victoria, Australia]. He was a fascinating thinker of the o

‘Miro in his Studio’, text by Joan Punyet Miró. Photographs by Jean-Marie del Moral.

Day 11 ‘Miro in his Studio’, text by Joan Punyet Miró. Photographs by Jean-Marie del Moral. Translated by Caroline Beamish. (Thames & Hudson, 1996) 100 words on a word in the title: Studio (July) Whenever creative loneliness occurs, July emptiness, January blank, I turn to ‘Miró in his Studio’. He sits there, surrounded by works in progress. I bought the ageless book in swishy Waterstones in Dublin in 1996. Photographs of Joan Miró’s tables of found objects: lead weights, scallop shells, pinecones. I meditate on tins of brushes and paint-accreted benches. Philip Hunter said the studio is where we belong. Meaning, the artworld is nonsense, just keep to work. “Miró with his biro,” he jested with an eye-rhyme. Waiting, I open a page on a bookstand for days: black figures, watery air, full-scale sunlight.  


Day 10 How many people read the same novel every year? I don’t mean the video, I mean read the book. Academics with a syllabus, perhaps. I read parts of James Joyce’s two big books every year to write scripts, seminar papers, lyrics, and other things for the annual festival of Bloomsday in Melbourne. I re-open the pages somewhere and two things always happen: the pleasure aroused by the beauty of his language, and laughter. Odysseus took a Latin turn sometime and became Ulysses. Here are 100 words on the title word: Ulysses (July) Ulysses navigates its way into English in the seventeenth century, the body of a boat, a mast, a prow ploughing waves of esses. You-list-seas, though Joyce’s Irish was Who’ll-is-ayes, or even Ooooh-lessees, a susurrus of Aegean in its wake. His Ulysses is a wanderer, but deceit (an Homeric attribute) is not in him, only an impromptu cunning. He’s cheated in June who by July will be home again, again. Joyce wrote of his “usylessly unreadable Blue