Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Boys will be boys

It seems Louise Adler down at MUP has raised the bar a few inches higher (who woulda thunk it after her stroke of editorial genius with Mark Latham's diaries?!!). She must also be visiting the august pages of Bluepepper, heeding comments in my "Light on the Hill" post about her aversion to all things poetic.

In a flash of brilliance, dear old Louise has decided to publish poet John Kinsella's memoirs "Loose beginnings: a memoir of intoxications" (I would have worked on that title a little more, Louise), an excerpt of which I read in the Weekend Australian a few weeks back and thought both twee and ill-advised. I was particularly struck by Kinsella's veiled, preppy innuendos about Dorothy Hewett,particularly as she is no longer here to defend herself. So you took drugs and felt a little put on by a 60 year old woman. Haven't we all? That pretty much sums up my eighties in Darlinghurst and Newtown. Now it looks like Kinsella is finding himself at the sharp end of the stick, being forced to cancel an appearance at the Byron bay Writers' Festival due to some nasty emails from a few of the poets he dissed. Am I the only one who finds this all a bit sad? Apparently down the road from where I live Kinsella once had a punch-up with Anthony Lawrence. Now, I have met both poets. The former has the build of a scarecrow, the latter that of the hill behind it. I fancy "punch-up" actually means a few choice words and a sharp nudge in the foyer,although I could be wrong. The emails themselves are really quite poetic (far moreso, in fact, than most of Kinsella's output). One reads "It is a death-clicking beetle/Can you hear it at work inside the fast-tracking of your emails/inside the cold enamel of your smile?/keep your enemies close at hand/the shroud has no pockets". I wonder what the local constabulary made of that when dear John applied for his AVO against Anthony Lawrence (the author of this email) and the other "offended" party, Robert Adamson?

All in all, I sense these memoirs are another feather in Louise Adler's crooked cap and nothing more. A wiser man would perhaps have kept well clear, the agenda here being quite obviously to feed the fathomless craving for titillation for which the boomer generation is so renowned.

1 comment:

terry mcarthur said...

Justin,

I am not sure if this is all a cunning and brilliantly contrived publciity stunt the three poets in question are all in on, or a genuine stoush between those who were once brothers in literary arms.

Let's face it, Australian poets rarely make the front page of newspapers...so to remind the greater public that the poetic breed still exists for better and in this case mostly for worse is in itself perhaps something of a triumph.

Who knows where it will all end up...probably in book sales I would imagine.