'Why has John Forbes remained such a charismatic figure in Australian poetry? We have a thesis. Forbes was going to become a priest: was within the sights of the Jesuits as being an exceptional candidate, as having the calling. Something happened to him in the plum of his youth, a morphing of desire, where he was overtaken by poetry as a more desirable material practice and metaphysical application. Forbes’s practice of poetry retains some of the essential drives of his Catholic faith: absolute devotion, ritual, self-sacrifice, doubt, a faith in sacraments and the commitment to the devotional community, transmitting something of the sacred, only this new application I will describe as having turned from a Catholic to a Pagan metaphysics, and the poems he produces as Pagan Sermons which demand some sort of follow through for those that come after.'