A Tasmanian beach in February 2018. Unprompted, a woman I barely know recites Seamus Heaney’s Postscript to me as we stand on the sand; bodies, hair wet after a swim. It is a grey day, not cold but not warm either, the wind pushing the water towards the sand. At the dinner table a week later, she cries as she reads excerpts of her dead daughter’s diary to me. The last pieces she has of her. Her grief hides from her like the spiders in her study, creeping out from behind blinds, from under paper until you can see all… [Read more]
Australian editor and noted science fiction enthusiast John Bangsund died this week from COVID-19 complications. He was a man of many dictionaries …
There has been much reporting over the past weeks on the ‘free the flag’ movement, and their professed desire to force the Aboriginal flag licensing agreement to be changed. (A Change.org petition is titled ‘Change the licensing agreement around the Aboriginal Flag’). The AFL and many of their clubs have become involved in this movement though what their motivations are is not completely clear, unless it’s the desire to place the flag on their Indigenous round jerseys without permission. This has been misreported by the media as a ban on the flag being flown at the games; it is legal… [Read more]
As soon as I began to think of what I might write here, the phrase for a long time came to me. I always have numerous books on the go, ‘open’ all at once and sometimes for a long time. This is, of course, the opening of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. I imagine a thin, shimmering abstract-expressionist veil of paint between have read or reading or no longer reading or about to read. The first time I read Swann’s Way was in India in 2006, but I’ve been slowly moving through the original translation by Moncrieff and the… [Read more]
It’s hardly a surprise: Covid 19 makes several appearances in the September edition of Meanjin. This is writing that grapples with the complexities of our moment, from its pervading sense of apprehension, to sadness, and in the case of its partner in time, Black Lives Matter, the bold assertion of identity, rights and resistance. You’ll read Jack Latimore, Kate Grenville, Fiona Wright, Anson Cameron, Krissy Kneen and Justin Clemens (and dozens more, with subjects running from crime writing to the delicate art of eating brains) in an edition headlined ‘Together Alone, Writing The Pandemic’. That’s still a few weeks away …… [Read more]
My short spells of tears have increased in the past week. About the same time that the cherry blossoms flowered, and the faint scent of jasmine arrived in our quiet Melbourne streets. Our annual reminder that Spring is not far away. Only this year, the anticipation of Spring doesn’t usher in the same sense of renewal. My tears come spontaneously and unexpectedly—and with such intensity I sometimes think I might split in two. A few days ago, my two young boys reflected that what they miss most is going to the swimming pool. To glide weightlessly, float freely and splash… [Read more]
Crying while riding an exercise bike while watching The Sopranos is weirdly freeing. When lockdown came to Perth, I bought an exercise bike from an outlet warehouse, built it upstairs, cut myself on the cheap pocket spanner it came with, turned it towards the TV, and began peddling.
[pdf-embedder url=”https://meanjin.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Dave-Drayton-WIR.pdf” title=”Dave Drayton ‘What I’m Reading’”] Dave Drayton was an amateur banjo player, founding member of the Atterton Academy, and the author of E, UIO, A: a feghoot (Container), A pet per ably-faced kid (Stale Objects dePress), P(oe)Ms (Rabbit), Haiturograms (Stale Objects dePress) and Poetic Pentagons (Spacecraft Press).
I recently discovered that my family role in my maternal village within Tailevu, Fiji is the Bati, the Warrior. Given my passion for defending my beliefs surrounding racial equality, climate justice, my ancestral country, and my people, it makes sense that it was in my blood to be a fighter. I spent most of my childhood in the South-Western suburb of Lakemba. I have fond memories of devouring manoush and homegrown fruits provided by my elderly Lebanese neighbour, who insisted I call her Tayta. I remember navigating Yangoora Road during the busy time of Ramadan just to catch the 450… [Read more]
In the midst of a pandemic that is laying bare the failures of nearly every system and institution we have taken for granted for the last 50 years; at precisely the moment when the country could benefit from new thinking, challenging thoughts, and the views of someone who could engage us and rouse from visions of the ordinary; instil in us some measure of newness, some frisson of possibility, some program that allows us to see past and through the things that divide us, that have made us vulnerable to this virus, and offer us some alternatives, the chair of… [Read more]