Since Kate Jennings’s death in May this year, I have had long thoughtful conversations with Barbara Levy, who like me, knew Kate well in that fierce early 1970’s cauldron. Our focus always is that slim period when so much happened at Sydney Women’s Liberation, at 67 Glebe Point Rd and the short period in Glebe until Kate left Australia about 1978 and settled in New York.
This acknowledgment of Traditional Owners of Country has deep significance in the context of launching Jeltje Fanoy’s latest poetry collection, My Mother and The Cat. From the beginning of Jeltje’s long journey as a revered poet, she has demonstrated an unwavering alliance and advocacy for First Nations’ people. Her first collection, Living in Aboriginal Australia, published in 1988, announced a poet who was compelled to dissect their migrant status within the larger lens of colonialism and neoliberalism.
Marxism is something I spent several years actively trying to get away from. But couldn’t. Precisely because the ideas that dominate the mostly middle class poetry world, in which I have been immersed for two decades, are so absurd in comparison. It is precisely because of this lack of intellectual seriousness, which looks increasingly obscene set against events; not to mention its by product: the almost comical chancerism and opportunism which literary liberals call “networking”, that has led me to start acting and thinking in an overtly Marxist way again, since around or about 2014.
Andrew Lansdown is a widely published and award-winning Australian writer whose works include 3 novels, 2 short story collections and 15 poetry collections. His most recent books are: Distillations of Different Lands (Sunline Press, Western Australia, 2018); Kyoto Momiji Tanka: Poems and Photographs of Japan in Autumn (Rhiza Press, Queensland, 2019); and Abundance: New and Selected Poems (Wipf & Stock/ Cascade Books, Oregon, USA, 2020).
Wearing My Father’s Hat by David Munro Melbourne Poets Union Inc, 2020, was virtually launched by Indrani Perera on 4 November 2020.
Karen May’s poetry has been published by Bluepepper, Cicerone Journal and Poetry d’Amour 2020 Anthology, WA Poets Inc. She is a climate and ecological activist, animal helper and artist, and lives in Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country.
What’s Left by Steve Armstrong, Fllying Island Press 2020 was launched by Dimitra Harvey at The Shop Gallery in Glebe on 21 February 2021
Steve Armstrong reading from What’s Left
In a way, the title of the collection is a question of loss, as much as it’s concerned with what remains. We live at a strange juncture in the history of our species — an era characterised by loss, and loss of our own making. More than at any other time, the dominant nations of the planet live in ways which are absurdly disconnected from the wider, more-than-human world.
In every poetry collection, there is one aspect, one overwhelming impression, that we are left with which later comes to define it for us. In Frank’s Wide River, it is the poet’s quiet insistence on reawakening us to the essential wonder of our world that stays with us.