Contents indexed selectively.
'My friendship with Susan Hawthorne, writer and publisher at Spinifex Press – the author being celebrated here tonight at Muse – stretches back over decades now. I can assure you that we have done a great deal of hilarious laughing over those years, and I am emphasizing that humour at the outset because the subject matter of Susan’s novel isn’t funny, it’s confronting, which is a little tough on the person doing the launch. Susan’s novel is deeply involved in the dark matters of torture, but I remind you at the start that this is creative writing, this is the creation of a textual art space, this is the business of the artist, to take the reader to hard places and bring them out again. This is not torture, this is art practice, a novel of exploration of dark matter.'(Introduction)
'Dominique Hecq’s Hush: A Fugue examines the death of a child from a mother’s perspective and the harrowing aftermath of such an inexplicable event. In this autobiographical work, Hecq finds language for a profound loss, one that almost defies articulation.' (Introduction)
'It’s funny how much a book of poetry can carry what one feels to be the essence of a person in text form – at least, I’m often struck by that. And I guess the lovely thing about that is that sometimes you can have the book where you might not have the person. This book is a great example. I feel like this is a kind of portable Owen – it has all his gentleness, the good humour and the vaudevillean variety, the honesty that has both a lightness of touch and a resonant depth.' (Introduction)
'‘straya’, a bastardised version of ‘Australia’, is the title and the first and largest section of Paul Summers’ latest collection. While the term evokes Afferbeck Lauder’s ‘strine’, a droll representation of Australian language, there is little humour in Summers’ straya. The first poem in the collection, ‘obligato’, suggests an obligation on the reader to take notice. As this musical term indicates, that which follows should not be omitted.' (Introduction)
'Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to the Elders, past and present.
'Today I am delighted to be launching this year’s fourW anthology, and thank Editor David Gilbey, as well as those from Booranga Writers Centre and Charles Sturt University, for asking me to launch this important literary journal as it celebrates its 28th year of continuous publication.' (Introduction)
'Rescued from Time, Barbara Fisher’s 2016 collection of poems, takes its title from a comment by American novelist James Salter’s comment, in his 1997 collection of essays and memoirs, Burning the Days: Recollections: ‘Art, in a sense, is life brought to a standstill, rescued from time’. It’s easy to see why Salter’s sensibility resonates with Fisher. Salter’s extensive experience, as fighter pilot, novelist, film writer, expatriate in Europe and extoller and lover of women, is revisited in evocations of favourite locations and people. In his novels, women and men characters are hearteningly presented as complex and engaging individuals, and he has a special regard for the strength and abilities of women who, like his male characters, succeed or fail in enterprises including love affairs that demand commitment and honesty. Salter’s memoirs record his delight in works of great writers he admires: Flannery O’Connor, Marguerite Duras, Pauline Réage, William Faulkner, Albert Camus, Jean Genet, Dylan Thomas, and others whose lives also fascinate him. Among other textual pleasures, Salter’s Burning the Days is a guide to European (chiefly French) and American literary sites that provoke his intellectual wanderlust.' (Introduction)
'Amelia Walker and I met at Friendly Street Poets sometime around 2005, I think, when she was still nursing and wanting to get out. As a ridiculously precocious and talented teen, she’d already attracted my attention with her tribute to the Adelaide collection Fat Streets & Lots of Squares. I was more than a little impressed that she’d already been published in 2003 when I was 50 and still-to-be-published!'(Introduction)
'Amelia Walker’s new book, Dreamday, vividly tracks the contents of dreams attuned to phenomena that reside both under and beyond the surface of things. The poems retrace the events in one day of the narrator’s life, opening her private world onto the public sphere through a voice that is at once playful, witty, sensitive and assertive.' (Introduction)