Rochford Street Review notes with sadness the recent death of Ania Walwicz in Melbourne. I first came across Ania’s work in the early 1980’s with the publication of her first book Writing, Rigmarole Books 1982. This book was a revelation. In the context of Australian poetry/writing of the time Ania’s work was fresh and innovative. It came from a different tradition than most of the work by Australian poets I had read up to that date, it was confronting, exciting and unique. Although the collection was called Writing, the work seemed to leap out of the page at you demanding to be read and once you had heard Ania perform her work it became impossible to simply approach the text as mere words on a page.
In a comment on Facebook on 9 October Marion Campbell wrote:
Devastating news: great prose poet Ania Walwicz has died. It’s unbearable to think of her last weeks alone in Covid-19 lockdown in her Fitzroy apartment. I will be forever grateful to Terri-ann White former Director of UWAPublishing for bringing out Ania’s most recent major work horse, a fictocritical performance of authentic genius, but which, no doubt, given the conservatism of most Australian publishing houses, would have otherwise been hard to place. At the RMIT launch the hundreds of fans and adoring students crammed into the gallery testified to the huge impact she has had and will continue to have. This is a heartbreaking loss.
A number of people and organisations have remembered Ania in the weeks since her death. These include:
- A Facebook group called The Ania Walwicz Fan Club – “It’s been ridiculous!” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1627318660779236/
- George Dunford’s obituary on ArtsHub https://publishing.artshub.com.au/news-article/features/writing-and-publishing/george-dunford/vale-ania-walwicz-261242
- 3CR Spoken Word Podcast – Vale Ania Walwicz https://www.3cr.org.au/spoken-word/episode-202010150900/spoken-word-vale-ania-walwicz
- Elif Sezen’s tribute to Ania https://www.elifsezen.com/blog/vale-ania-walwicz-1951-2020-until-we-meet-again
- When someone great is gone: remembering Ania Walwicz By Jacinda Woodhead, Clare Strahan and Benjamin Laird Overland https://overland.org.au/2020/10/when-someone-great-is-gone-remembering-ania-walwicz
- Vale Ania Walwicz: ‘There Are No Rules’ by Koraly Dimitraidis in Meanjin https://meanjin.com.au/blog/vale-ania-walwicz-there-are-no-rules/
- Remembering Ania Walwicz – Robert Nowak, October 2020 http://starnaudbooks.com/remembering-ania-walwicz/
- A number of performances and recordings of Ania are available on a website created for her by a number of her students https://aniawalwicz.wixsite.com/poet/performances
– Mark Roberts