with Graeme Kinross-Smith

00:00
00:00

More Episodes

Listen on your favourite podcast app

Graeme Kinross-Smith

Writer

Jennifer Kloester

Host

Jennifer Kloester is an Australian author of Young Adult, Biography & Historical Fiction.

Her first novel, ‘The Cinderella Moment’, was published by Penguin Australia and Swoon Romance in 2013 and was followed by the sequel, ‘The Rapunzel Dilemma’ in 2014.

Jennifer has given talks around the world on Georgette Heyer and the Regency, and is a passionate advocate for women writers, books and reading.

Read the transcript

[0:00] Music.

[0:09] Today I’m delighted to be interviewing notable author Graeme Kinross-Smith Graham welcome to the book cave.
Great to be here wonderful to have you Graeme Kinross-Smith has been on the Australian literary scene for over 40 years publishing his first book in the early 1970 s and going on to become a prolific,
eclectic and award-winning writer and a pioneer in teaching creative writing.

[0:35] Quite a CV Graham very impressive know you’re published in fiction non-fiction short story Poetry and you’re also a photographer.

[0:48] Wonderful how did you come to writing well it’s it’s where life takes you in a sense.
And I can’t do writing I begin to realise that I might want to write creatively when I was finishing University at Melbourne University in,
like 50 and I went to my tutor.

[1:12] To farewell her and say goodbye in her and I said to her like I like to do some writing and she’s a riot essays you know featuring academic and I said no I think I think I’m heading towards Poetry in feet.
Oh well um do you know any writers I said,
no I don’t actually just as well good luck so this was the akan and the academy looking at me as somebody wanted to write creative that’s that’s where it began.
Under up again by writing well short fiction I suppose and then I got involved in.
Commissioned and freelance journalism about the murray-darling river system which satisfied my.

[2:04] Oh you know my penis to travel around and meet new people and see new vistas and Southern Sun over quite a number of years actually it turned into a book
and no that’s if you’re 2nd of the month of the Murray which was published in 1975 and you’ve contributed a really beautiful chapter
which really tracks the Murray from its source up by apnea Corryong in the Snowy Mountains all the way to the mouth in the beautiful Coorong across the Beautiful,
Goolwa barrage is hello which was quite a privilege to do actually had to get special permission to drive across the boulevard from Island to Island sometimes through water
I noticed a certainly with the Murray Mouse over over here that you can see out of the corner of your eye where the issues into the sea.
And you go from Island to Island and it puts you into the Coorong really but most people have never done that of course no no so yeah that was,
who are parts of the Murray when we’re preparing this book.

[3:09] I hadn’t as it happened visited and some of them were in South Australia so we did this long trip and write some articles out of it and put it into the book.
You actually write about the Murray which has become quite a contentious issue in modern times the whole of the,
murray-darling Basin and the the terrible sort of lack of water that’s running through the Murray
and of course he’s having a huge effect on the beautiful Coral you actually right I think quite with a great deal of precedence in 1975 more than a river
an influence of theme a beneficent that spreads into country and I think that’s,
really butanol just a beautiful piece of writing better very as I say every president piece of writing given the current state of play
what’s your you want your busy became enamoured of the Murray in that day just what’s your take on it now.
Well I’m still just as keen to see it wherever I can see it you know but I am worried about the.
Chelsea of water and the upper reaches of the darling system and you know I’ve seen the darling at Bourke.
I’ve been up to the Bourke Hungerford Road. Henry Lawson Walk to see some of the outliers of the darling system.

[4:28] And the boys are in a completely different country and so are you concerned with water at all stages of the.
The process really so that’s my concern about it now that the solution do you have thoughts about well.
I’m not expert enough to know whether I’m talking sense but I really think.
The may have even been corruption at the upper level in you could get rid of that could change water rights as it were that’s what I was talking to water rights.

[5:08] It’s it’s it’s a part of Australia isn’t it it’s such a huge contentious issue but it’s interesting in your wonderful book of Australian writers,
an Illustrated guide to their lives and works where are you
talk about the lies of 54 Australian writers write from very early white settlement and what Unturned should search up yeah yeah you when you write about Judith Wright,
you actually write something or she says something quite remarkable I think which is about Australians still don’t live in the country and then we haven’t really become indigenous to the country and that’s partly because she sees it that we don’t yet.
See the land something to value and take care of what we don’t know that psychologically get to the point.

[5:56] The the country is for indigenous people and that is the sense of Country and the uncanny things that happened,
as a result of that you know I’ve heard of cases where a Aboriginal people know somebody is going to come over the hill.
Almost when they’re going to do it from far distant you know this sort of uncanny connection with moving through the landscape entail.
So yes all of all of that I know yourself have a really interesting landscape to you have something,
property at Port Campbell Town near the Twelve Apostles very famous iconic area on the Great Ocean Road
with those wonderful stacks those rock stacks at 2 musical yes indeed I think is one of them not tell anybody
so tell us about that well I’m in this takes me right back to the first book I didn’t do it which is mankind spies which will fit.

[7:00] Kids interested in writing in schools homicide.

[7:07] Yes I have conspired.
With the planning a planning of my notes for the creation of this book as the cover letter.
So

[7:25] I’m turning that sort of thing into account all the time I’m working down there Port Campbell but that came about biofuel happenstance I just to take my family my kids.
Over now and left mid 50s haha camping at Peterborough Port Campbell and.
Yeah but basically two places and at the best time of the year and there are only time of the year for a break the girls could blow them out a part of the 10th apart and will be sleeping in water and salad.
So I decided I needed something a bit more permanent I went to farmers and said you wouldn’t have a spare shed with you in no no no.

[8:04] Real estate said no you have to buy 50 acres brother.
So I went to do at visiting at the front I left my details with them and said you know if you hear anything.

[8:15] And Caleb I think you will I’ve done all I can at this stage and note about 6 months later on butchers paper from other men down there saying Warrior Baptist churches up for tender come and have a look.
I went down and I got a builder to come and say yes beautiful solid hardwood floor the ground here moves up and down so you’ll have to be prepared for that but otherwise they sound building.
Bought it for $7,000 with an acre and a half of land and it’s been in the family.

[8:47] And used by the family and used by me I’ve written the better part of.
Considering part of for will probably down there and I just recently had kids and kids in a house to sleep 10.
During the busy part but again the only time that they’re getting a break parents are getting a brother that just had a ball down there in the last couple of weeks but it is a completely different world is a world where you talking to.

[9:16] The service station owner who is on the the SES the emergency service here so on and you can see him at practicing abseiling up the cliffs to do this and that and he’s there and the bodies are plucked from the water and salon,
and when people swept off you know wave the blankets Beach things yeah but there.
Wave platforms which in the learners is a dive right do quite a lot of freediving down there and ask him slippers and down into Lily where the Sharks I know where the.
The Old Port Jackson sharks are they park along this I’ve written a poem in one eyes book summary.
And go down and almost none of them you know they’re just.

[10:05] Sleeping there how big is a shark’s I love you and quite harmless really annoys them.
So anyways all of that in Lockhart Gorge and that leads me to international conversations everytime I come out of the water because it’ll be Norwegian to be all sorts of people asking what did you say no and I say well.
Not a great number of fish.
Sometimes you can see a wall fish you know but that’s rare but I tell them about the sharks and time and the Mother’s clear that kids out of it out of the way when I sent that we’re too loudly.
One of the best days there was with a group of animal and indigenous teenagers.
Who are obviously way out of their own Territory looking at this place and they come over to talk to me and I said well it’s very different water from yours in Arnhem Land freezing cold.

[11:03] Hi 5 Hi-Fi I thought that was good.
Right across the continent it is very different this place Port Campbell where you have your Vibe Church your Church kind of religion have a different sort,
when I first got to my great mate dairy neighbour Kashmiri neighbour he said,
look there a Baptist cows down here and Catholic cows down here and they get different treatment on the roads in the history actually engage with Australian,
with Australia Olympic ticular Victorian writing.

[11:46] And you are on the editorial board of Overland is that right Noel no not on the editorial boards to go to some of the editorial meeting Steven even in the days when.

[12:01] I’m come to me in a minute 2 names names
no I’ll come back and Rodney who is the editor of the assertions went up penguin
I tried to call the truck so you actually we’re coming through this very rich we are so rich literary cultural. Of Australian life.

[12:22] Which was not I’m in a stop if you want to go elsewhere that which was not.
Fully serviced if you like if that’s the term when I started the First.
Creative writing tertiary stream in a vocational writing diploma and degree at the Gordon Institute I could say to my students.
You know look at Steinbeck look how many way living in there would be umpteen books which showed,
where does riders live pictures of inaction talking about where they were they worked and what was significant to them so nothing for Australia.

[13:03] I couldn’t say anything.
Couldn’t turn my students to anything that’s how that Australia’s writers came about in the 70s I decided well I’ve got it I better provide this book
and do something about it would you most certainly did and you write so eloquently about the likes of Patrick White Judith Wright you know a great many of our
20 century writers as well as some of the 19th century but you aren’t lots of interviewed some of these people all of them all of them,
what welding well it was.
It was seven years I’ll tell you the story but it was 7 years of work fitted in between Deakin Deakin and Gordon 10 Gordon lecturing and then Deakin lecturer side.

[13:51] Sometimes taking the family but more often I had to drive myself sleep in the back of the station wagon.
Wait an Australian outside a strange town until the pubs are closed and I felt recently safe going to sleep and then go on with the photography next day and the interview next day and drive myself,
I’m sometimes I drive drive and self Toowoomba to go to talk to Bruce Dawe I had not realised how many body salts I was losing everyday and I was.
Not safe to drive on the road I had to be I I managed to get to him but I was hospital overnight to put the salt body salts that you know that sort of thing was going on,
anyway 7 years of that all over the country including WA including.

[14:36] Very lucky breaks for instance with Randolph stow who I’ll talk about a bit later.

[14:42] Both photographically and literarily with all these people.
So anyway you go through the station has Bob sessions at Nelson.
Submitted to them do you know her and I don’t know where the pyramid any yes I did was publisher’s reader.
He read the manuscript and said yes this is a go I go ahead with it Bob so we go ahead with it.

[15:12] Really meticulous editorial process before you get to the stage of sending it away for printing and the illustrations and so on it’s side anyway.
To cut a long story short at the end of the process yes it’s in Singapore yes it’s being printed yes it’s on the wharfs in Melbourne Everything Don Dunstan is paused,
is is pointing in Adelaide launches at Adelaide writers week on let’s say Monday Tuesday and this is Thursday.
And Bubs sessions rings me from Melbourne and says.
Can’t get the book off the walls as a black ban on everything they’re not none of it is moving you said I keep in treating them and I get that nothing is moving so I’m constantly checking with him and thinking what the implications this are.
An event should I side with far be it from the author to intervene in this but give me the name of the union guy that you’re talking to you know so I ring him.
Undies estimate time I’m very sorry for you know nothing is moving on here.
So I know roughly who I’m talking to you know no Portia long, so well that’s 7 years of work down the drain.

[16:29] Long Silence.

[16:31] Listen hang on hang on mate I’ll just go and see you guys won’t Lisa’s I think we can do something I’ll be talking to Bob sessions right they bring in.
A ute with a tarp over the back I managed to get that through the picket line I fill in the back with books for Adelaide they get a car in at one stage I did not that I see any of this morning,
so anyway we have the launch rates positive extraordinary knowledge and firsthand.
You know a impressions of
these remarkable many many underwriters did you record these interviews did you just take notes well both I recorded most of them and some of that stuff is in the National Library it wanted to be
but it depended on the availability of the person yes the ease with which one could set up recording here quite apart from anything else
depending on the psychology of the person you’re interviewing and their mood for the you know quite incredible for instance Randolph stow I saw in.

[17:43] Three different incarnations very different incarnations,
and when I was with him to get these beautiful photographs of sand Springs merry go round in the sea you’re going to ask me later three books right right that’s going to be one of them ok to go and see about his being.
Evacuated when the Japs look like coming down the West Australian Coast during the war to Geraldton from Geraldton into his uncle’s property at sand Springs Inland Drive and here I am.

[18:16] Happening to go inside a citrus mother look at 18 now he won’t be around he’ll be over in Britain but should know series asleep.
He’s going up there tomorrow and I said I think I might following up yeah I let it be alright dinner but he wouldn’t talk to me.
He wouldn’t talk to me if that was the first incarnation we were sleeping in the same jackaroos quarters so I’m almost side by side but I could hardly get a word out of him right that was the first incarnation.
But I would say to him I got to know how to handle it you know what’s oh look I’ve got the car out there and I know the Ellendale Pool means alot to you.
We could go down,
no response and I wait for about 20 minutes need to come over and say I think we might go to the Ellendale Pool so go down and I take photographs talk to him about,
being stranded up the cliff there when he was a kid and sounds I was up so that was the first thing the second was is other,
I’ve written an article about this dual allegiances Bay Western Australia and B2 South East bergholt Village in Suffolk.
Right now where is written beautiful books beautiful books out of both places and wish we took their heads off pretty well all night.

[19:37] It completely different not realising that the Coke fire had a bird’s nest in the chimney and that we were gradually asphyxiating as I was so that was a second and third was difficult.
When I was trying to see him he’d moved to Harwich Port Harwich port of Harwich are as distinct from Harwich properly don’t know why I won’t go into the details of that one that we didn’t manage to get to a stage where he was ready to talk.
Because I was he recalcitrant with he think really wish I would be the word there’s a certain shyness yes no.

[20:17] Wouldn’t know how to explain the quite drastic differences in mood but yeah but a fantastic writer could not write a bad book.
I have to tell you that reading it many of the biographies in this book a you’re the first person who’s ever really inspired me to really try with Patrick White you write so.
Beautifully about him but with such inside and in such a way that it’s intriguing you know I’m really intrigued now by whites not enough call Simon Patrick what is Australia’s first Nobel.
Prize winner for literature and a truly remarkable writer and you went on to write in a some years later this,
fabulous book writer a working guide for new writers well as an author I have to say you could have called it just a working guide for writers and I don’t think it just applied to a new ride I actually found,
a lot of this very inspiring and very very helpful in a practical sense but you write.

[21:27] You write a lot of really interesting things but I was going to jump to Patrick White and what you say Patrick whites pros doesn’t explain.
It reveals action and thought and motivation through suggestions leaving the reader free to interpret on the one hand,
but also with work to do to follow the depth of the story it uses prose rhythms that match the stories movement forward,
it has an idiosyncratic sentence structure not a like poetry it’s suggesting in a life of the Mind the place of memory and instability and intuition.

[22:05] Which is.
Wow well actually get the grammatical structure of that sentence is absolutely superb anyway beautiful use of semicolon and commas and things which I love,
but it’s just a beautiful summation I think of,
I think so many people why choose a hard to grasp or ma you know you start rear is breaking very new ground and the Australian social realist psyche wasn’t ready for it,
and in some ways it still isn’t isn’t right.
But as I think I might have been told you earlier about this in my Writing workshops I’m very often.
Offering to students two pieces of prose one is by John Morrison Melbourne Social realist writing a great writer.
Now there is a piece of Patrick White from the country which novel.
But the difference between the two is that the social realist writer isn’t into metaphor in the way that the poetic prose writer.
Patrick White is so that.
You know that it’s the words in the sounds of the words in the year that show you the difference in.

[23:25] Psychological approaches supposed to life office,
really having a musical quality and also almost like a painterly quality where you get a sort of impression is that you got more inspiration from pages than from other writers and so do I,
you know my cathedrals are galleries.
Interesting interesting what like short more about your personal writing techniques in a little bit but just a continuous little bit because you write so beautiful this is just,
a really really wonderful book is this still available and should it is but,
as with Thomas Keneally and I’m interviewing Thomas Converters ill go out with his stacks of researched books and telling me saying I didn’t keep enough and I didn’t keep enough copies of that should be put back in print,
yeah well I wasn’t doing the dishes.
As part of the writing game I was approached to update it but I did argue a bit about the Royalty rate are and they decided not to come back to me so I thought well I don’t know working on I think I was working on the novel at that stage.

[24:38] Leo property also was I think so I decided well I’ve just let it slide it would need drastic upright re-writing now of course.
Because when I started writing I was using a pencil and then.
You know Innovation of ballpoint pen and then my mother used to give me fountain Penzance Island let a typewriter portable typewriter yes and the whole of the manuscript for Australia’s writers,
was on a portable typewriter so that if you made a blue,
you are writing out and I will even having said that night I hear you on the whole need to kind of update in terms of her what’s available to write as in turns out to be writing the manuscript button in terms of jackets,
Pratt sound practical advice and it’s literary references to illustrate your appointment I think that’s just the per,
and I actually love this in this is going to lead me into talking to you a little bit about.
The Australian Voice and what you think about that too which doesn’t about Australia’s writers you write about white.

[25:52] The novels and short stories that white produced in the ensuing years we’re not at first readily accepted in Australia they will write like poetry,
they had and do the Texans of music the senselessness of paint but perhaps more importantly,
they penetrated the boorish swaggering independent
and intellectually complacent Australian and discovered in him or her that’s gentle is or fact was materialism or xenophobia vengeful is cruelty violence or a model groping sort of religion.
All this ran counter to the mighty Norm of much Australian realest writing all in it so.

[26:35] I think that’s a really remarkable piece of writing do you still feel that way absolutely I mean.
In many senses Patrick White prepared the ground for people like Peter Carey right,
and I’ll be talking about the fat man in history at some stage probably early stories rather than even the late a novel since I’ve prepared the ground in many ways I think for Randolph stow David Malouf winter.

[27:02] Which may not have happened for decades afternoon if it weren’t for.
The publicity head through the Nobel Prize and the attention of brought and the other thing was his interaction with not that I was ever able to,
tune in to this or observe this mess over the interaction with people in the other arts including actors someone you know has had a great bread.
What would you like to meet in person he’s the only one of the Living writers who had said.
I don’t want to do an interview and I was very disappointed yeah but I had to chase all sorts of other people’s.
You know pictures of them inside inside and it’s quite a bit in the,
in the media at that stage to us both including activism when you talk about Australian intellectual complacency,
talk a little bit more about that what do you mean by that and does it still apply do you think well it’s.
Talk about the average Australian is particularly the average Australian male giving the gender predominance of the male point of view and patriarchy and so I’m.

[28:27] And a lot of that.
Is reinforced it comes from the bush worker nothing it comes from the unionist labourer.
It comes from a Henry Lawson rather than Banjo Paterson Banjo Paterson having a more privileged sort of background to Lawson.
I think Lawson has you know not a lot to explain or excuse but you know,
the hasn’t had a lot of influence on that we’re just discovering things now about Lawson that we didn’t realise Frank Moorhouse is latest book the and The Drover’s wife plunges into some of that,
quite interestingly but I mean that these are values from a different world when travel is on horseback.
And we’re Anna might the family family history work that I’m doing at the moment I can’t help it come back and back and back to the importance of the horse to ride incredible which is a sideline to this.
But to see where Lawson Walk from Bourke to Hungerford you know getting odd jobs on stations on the way,
during the summer you can’t believe how tough that would have been so.

[29:50] I think some of our sporting interest arises out of that a preoccupation with sport I think which is,
and when you when you get to a find yourself co-editing a book of Australian sporting anecdotes you coming across all sorts of other references is it pick up.
On this yes pick up on this what I saying.

[30:17] Well basically labor-intensive.
You know tradition which really is you’re saying is it is removed from the intellectual you’re well off of it.
We didn’t esteem the sorry we didn’t disturb you talking about.
Australia’s attitude towards the TARDIS time and we have.
Punched far beyond our weight in painting I would suggest in literature.
Especially if you’re looking at population levels and so I’m with punch far about her weight but the ordinary person in the street doesn’t.
Think about it in those terms I don’t think they think about it most times but they do in Bible stories you know yes and.
A little bit.
Mysterious pieces of industrial action that you could have would be for all the storytellers and I’m a story teller from way back and I’m dealing the storytellers from my back if they said right.

[31:27] No more stories for three weeks and I mean all story.
Playwrights etcetera film producer hole at creative area,
beagle very soon noticed something there in Bible everyday
yeah I don’t really think about it is interesting though because government in Australia is so particularly good at funding sport and you know why
activities it’s incredibly important that we do well in the amount extra example,
ok because because the arts and not funded anywhere near to the level that sport is fun though which is which is sort of intellectual complacency,
how then ok so I felt the weekly reading your various books and poetry and things that that’s certainly the sort of 60s 70s even Pat we had this
really rich cultural life was really on the rise but it doesn’t feel like that has continued hasn’t got digital version of bro if anything the opposite,
so how then do you arrest that how do you I don’t know that you can I think your partner of a global world.

[32:47] And global production of all sorts of forms of art in a way that do you just simply cannot avoid so you’ve got a tune into that submission procedures are different you know if you’re submitting to literary magazines and,
literary magazines I find it very hard to survive and this is because of Technology that involves social media and.

[33:11] New ways of filming and ways of being stories to people with some pictures and ATVs a classic example if you’ve got the pictures,
something relatively insignificant becomes part of the national news you know,
passengers so lot to think about him in the in the broader macro-level ID like to come down to the micro level talk about,
your own writing and your way your because he you are you’re still prolific you’ve written a dozen I had a dozen pieces Brown,
books published a from Australian sporting anecdotes which is really quite delicious compilation of fascinating stories I love the one about Poppy,
yeah he did Oppenheimer the the great Australian,
cyclist and Opie pissing on her song and the French,
apparently love this quiet and kind of amazing and then wonderful story that Evonne Goolagong as a nine-year-old and um
Walter Lindrum great visit player who who’s skill I used to love watching Pot Black with any Charlton when I was a child and I dumb.

[34:32] But I love the straight at Walter Lindrum the great great billiard player of the 1934 who came to him,
for sliding off to the beauty parlour you should have been at school and he is later he was at a tournament.

[34:48] And he spotted the teacher sitting in the front row watching him,
I needed this incredibly brilliant I think I would like a cannon shot off the cushion and the ball hit the teacher in the knee with acute pain and later on the teacher came and spoke to Lindrum afterwards and,
so you know that was a bad shot.

[35:10] You don’t think it was an accident do you let’s just call it even I thought that was great so lot of really great sporting anecdotes but then of course you know you writing guide this amazing novel.
Long afternoon of the world that you wrote a history of.
Tennis in Geelong which is actually also a history of Geelong well very interesting.

[35:41] Long since you’re a very significant Club within the country but in the nineteen twenties of course it was very sick they were the best,
players in the world including Northern Brooks used to come down every year at Easter and playing the Easter tournament and it was a huge gala social occasion of balls and fairies bringing people down from Melbourne to answer.
Sign it when when the club realise it was going to turn 100 I’m the only writer in the club and so I said to them look,
yes I’ll do the job but I don’t think you guys realise just how much works involved in researching it and I have to do it in my own time and between lectures and son so it’s not going to be.

[36:27] Story of brackets crossed and 6464 it’s going to be tennis as part of the social fabric of this city yeah.
And I had few people who had no idea of writing to contend with the day eventually agreed to that must think they’re great for that
because we’re not where I began to research adhering what was in the historical record centre which is now of course in the new library beautiful beautiful.
I’ll be working with doctor cast.
Who beside me and we’re both working in those days on Broadsheet newspaper this wide and he be working to use tape I’ll be working mine.

[37:07] And adhere the girl from the desk come over to Dr custom say.
But because you’ve got up a waiting room full of people there and I think I should wait a while she did it come back.
Alright needs close the Broadsheet and go anyway that was the way the researchers done but I began to realise as soon as I begin to look.
Beyond Club records and so on to the newspapers that I had a social history story to tell you then had to decide and the Minotaur really experience.
In Melbourne which we might talk about the school paper and let’s it prepared me for looking at a double page spread and saying.
Right if you want social history in this forgot to be a margin down the side where that stuff goes and the basic tennis history goes down here you know flowlayout thank you.
And as with other Technologies the more the technology of printing changes of course the easier these things are to do Witch and I’d work.
That was the school paper on letter letter press which is lead now with gutters in each double page spread that you couldn’t do anything and you couldn’t have text or illustration in the work out ways of getting around that.

[38:28] That’s part of the tennis story yes it’s me that’s all part of your whole writing story your whole book story will you a competitive tennis player.
Elvis a very successful well moderately lot of Melbourne which is the best way to be playing good competition,
that’s been good will Australia has in the last year’s tennis history and we’re still looking for our.

[39:00] Mino new rising stars I think there’s a few on the horizon looking quite good you know we’ve had a bit of a dearth of Champions you on the world circuit but again,
we’re comparing our nationalism is requiring Australians
that the global market is just requiring good players,
indoor courts around I like to talk to a bit more about your or a bit about your writing technique how so you,
what I’m saying what you know you’ve written three books of poetry are some really wonderful poetry to and the book about the Murray Australia’s right as right as God and a novel so it’s it’s a fairly eclectic interesting so is the writing technique,
the same for everything is it different how do you actually work no definitely is different from book to book.

[40:01] I’ve kept This Journal all these years I’ve kept a journal which is not a diary yet so I think that you might write in intensively for minnow couple of weeks then not,
confront again for another month or no,
two weeks or whatever so that has been a seed bed if you like of ideas because.

[40:25] You’re recording there what’s really engaging you at the time.
And you are saying to yourself well I might get the chance to come back to that that I might not be no family Fletchers induction of Deakin course materials all that’s all that stuff.
But that’s been it a useful resource and it still is it still is because some of your best writing is sort of off the cuff stuff that you haven’t got time to polish but it goes it’s very Direct.
But as far as the planning is concerned that the front page of this is.
How are you going and I’m just engaging some people.

[41:10] In workshops are going to take place in March where I’m going to be saying this to them my.
Planning sheet of paper at scribble paper it’s not going to be on the computer it’s going to have Marge and down the right hand side.
And I’m going to start thinking right ok the job is this what do I want to say about it don’t know da da da da.
Oh yes it could also have an over in this right hand column go other thoughts right that might be drawn into these basics right.

[41:45] Don’t forget to mention my phone so I got this double spread going on and I still seem to work that way this fiction non-fiction or fiction.
No it would be more for,
fiction and non-fiction I would imagine but sometimes you getting a commission to do such and such,
in fact I get a lot of stuff to request to contribute tennis entries for dinner the Oxford,
right book of ra and you’d be doing that sort of preparation for that sort of material poetry no you’re not
you’re not doing that your scanning your brain for while it is still what is engaging you at the time but your scanning your brain for.

[42:37] Something do you want to see.
As an a painter and this is where metaphor comes in you know I saying there’s Writing workshops most people if.
How to raise women students in schools in Sutherland Shire poetries short lines rhythm rhyme and someone I would be saying yes all of those things can be important but the most important element in poetry is metaphor,
saying I’m looking at this but I’m seeing that imagery imagery imagery so you can’t.

[43:14] You can’t plan for that it’s got to arise from your gut almost in writing a poem,
set a more organic process a poetry is the Guardian of the language what do you mean by that.
Metaphor and and poetry requires.
Sounds strange to say but it requires and accuracy in the weight of a particular word that are a journal of a newspaper article doesn’t hold on tight.
So
in that sense it’s guarding the way Shakespeare and others would have used the language which is being filtered all the time and changed all the time.
But it’s got it’s which one of the ways of guarding that.
Nice to get responses from my ex students you know that go back 40 years and something to Paul in the editorial standards now you know people can’t even marry the singular and the plural in the census and Tom Tom.

[44:23] Poetry won’t let you get away with that but poetry is by the same token poetry is always.

[44:32] And I say this in Writing workshops the essential thing is the possibilities and poetry explores the possibilities of words on a page.
Or words hurt.
In a way that no other area of verbal communication does quiet and identity in poetry.
Density of meaning from minimal numbers of word yes yes that’s good that’s a good,
that I think that’s a good description of what’s involved,
in in this book turn left at any time with care which I guess comes from that is it uniquely Australian that road sign do you think we can come to an intersection but you got a left-hand drive and you can’t,
when we were choosing the title for the share this book with Jamie Grant of course is a great Park.
We’re talking about what the title Venus Room we might as well be,
you know provocative notwithstand out well and I love the implication turn left at any time,
with care it’s a great title I love in pelicans Warrior which a really beautiful poem I think that arises out of the murray-darling river system that make sense
you say I think they fly my second coming do you mean.

[45:54] No I haven’t looked at that time forgot that well.

[46:02] I Second Coming I’m I’m not too good at explaining exactly what I had I’m at that stage but.
This another poem about birds which is about Ibis seeing against the sun,
now the metaphor there that I’m using his son’s milk in their wings coming through these white feather.
No that’s a metaphorical statement son’s milk in their wings.
Yeah my second coming sounds really shouldn’t have to re-read the poem and remind myself of where.

[46:52] What that tales of Rio sorry we do is is really moving and really moving poem about obviously.

[47:02] A couple who had a car accident and she has died and but next door neighbours
Mitchell what the Chinese three very short verses but it’s it packs a punch it’s really and I think that’s the point isn’t it about poetry you say this wonderful thing
in the working guide for new writers in poetry words can. Around the corner and bite you and I just think that’s delicious
well when once you start trying to write a poem there’s always the unexpected and stuff that you didn’t realise you had yeah yeah please statements in Pure sentences is another thing you say,
so that whole idea of metaphor because when you talk about haiku which causes that wonderful Japanese form 5 syllable 7 thought it was $5 it’s the art of looking at one thing and seeing anything else
so is that also like a metaphor for life but that’s what we do is that what,
if you’re lifting above the average perhaps the average is when most of us just go through our life and everything is exactly is not not conscious of her observation a lot of the time.

[48:15] But as Hemingway says once the Rider stops observing is finished that’s it right and you you do train yourself to observe observe Observe and say.
Until one day you’ve got to wonder if you’re not wondering if if you haven’t got whatever apparent said was two requirements of a writer.
Undying curiosity and then the other,
or something energia forgotten of the adjective uses but you’ve got have the energy to do something about that conversion of curiosity,
ok and I think that’s a good way of looking at it do you find when you’re actually in the physical active writing and some writers of talk to me about this too and I certainly had the experience that.
In your head you’ll have thoughts about something up racks you’ve been incredibly curious and you’ve got some answers all you’ve got some.
Considerations about what that might be or what it might mean and you’ve got the words in your head but when you actually go to write those words it’s almost like there’s a kind of,
gap between the brilliant thing Juniors and what actually comes out on the page or on the computer screen the typewriter is that happened to you.

[49:34] Question for after after draught write to draught is my experience of poetry.
I mean some poems could pick a couple out of 35 spondon read your couple of days if you wanted a where they almost slip into your.
Slip on to your typewriter without you processing you’ve obviously done previous thinking.
Somewhere else to prepare for that you know gift but by and large you still tinkering with words and particular lines and and even placement on the page ok until the last minute.
Wow how do you know then when it’s done well.

[50:22] You have a sigh of relief and you say I hope I hope.
And you’re coming to it next day in the say that was a phone hope wasn’t that last line can’t stay like that or it that’s not the way to go out of it you know and you doing this of course I’m I’m.

[50:42] I’m talking about this to students in Writing workshops all the time,
the drafting redrafting is the basic active writing there’s no doubt about it in writing poetry then how do you know what’s the difference between a good poem and a bad poem.

[50:59] How does someone become a good poet or a great poet just ask me a different.
Who who who is the arbiter of good or bad poetry who decide.

[51:19] Well I would think the.

[51:22] What’s small proportion of people who in the population who do read poetry for pleasure I think they’re the arbiter’s because they’re starting in a fairly high intellectual level.
In being even interested in poetry and it’s difference from other getting in the newspaper on TV or mobile phone or whatever you know so I think they are.
How do you become a good part I thank you.

[51:57] It’s a matter of what is repentance talking about this persistent energy to keep.
Trying out these possibilities on the page and listening to the listening is very important when I was working to publications branch in another to Collins Street Anzac house,
I was very lucky to be in a room next door to Ron Simpson r a Simpson who is the poetry editor of The Age and who is a beautifully,
condensed poet a great friend of mine you know for over many years.
And he would say look when you get a part of a certain stage and I’ve just been going through this process recently.
What you want to do is get in a room when nobody can hear you and felt it out as if you were giving it to an audience and it will show you the lines that I’m not working,
and I think that’s very good advice because it is the sound of the words and the rhythm The Rhythm is absolutely integral to poetry even though it’s not you know.

[53:06] Regular yep it’s a regular but they often say to people through since I’ve written it.

[53:15] Written essay on climate change right.
Using a ploy in a Deakin contemporary history research group of serialised it on their website people have been very interesting.
It’s using a device,
if talking about dogs when down the track we’re going to find social dislocation what are these dogs going to be doing you know in the street New Zealand when nobody can feed a plover,
but there’s a line in that that I keep coming back to which is which could be it’s never the dogs fault right.

[53:51] But rhythmically this is in prose rhythmically it’s much better say it’s never the fault of the dog right now so you using,
pacify rhythm in prose as well as poetry even the way you stage down a paragraph with a short sentences that conclude it will humans,
born with a natural information for rhythm and Cadence and the right inflection I guess so do you read your pros work so loud as your writing the more at 1 cm drafting some of the do some of that do because,
I’m very interested in the intersection of poetry and prose and the short appropriate piece which is sometimes called a prose poem yes which is using.
Much more than normal pros and elementary rudimentary useful process using a lot of the Elements of poetry that are not used elsewhere and.

[54:53] They’re very rewarding to write but they they are the sorts of things you would read again a aloud
to see where the resonant where they were choice you know cos you available the gallery of knowing would be appropriate is actually
beautiful to
you know that you don’t kind of know how you do it I think I’ve been a bit inspired working through some of the exercises in your writer guide to writing and a lot of it is to free yourself
from the requirements of using language in an absolutely utilitarian language.

[55:40] Poetry Dr Amin Riverina on call I loved I loved the poem
is it alright if I have Scone when my mother and brothers burnt down the large 1916 burnt Down The Hatch is absolutely superb
and so like you you convey the
kindness of the father the kind of understanding gentle love,
it is quite extraordinary in The Last of Us really you know it was one of my mother’s story,
how long was John Stewart St so how then do you what’s your writing a discipline,
you know when you’re going to write a new book or whatever it is how do you write in practical terms what do you do how do you send a pic of the stage having been
just over 5431 years at this stage I have to pace myself and I have to know when I’m going to get the best value out of the time I spend writing,
I’m the best video I’m going to get is in the morning and not the afternoon the postprandial in that does not help writing but.
Having said that.

[57:03] Writing a novel for instance or even writing this monumental family stuff family history stuff recently.
Even writing strategies write it when the writing is going well.
It’s like somebody just like trying to catch a lizard without its tail falling off Lawrence durrell when it’s going well and you you know you’ve got it and it’s not the tales not going to hurt you know,
then you gonna have another burst of writing.
After dinner at night until midnight or 1 a.m. you know it’s rare these days that used to be but it can still happen.
And down at the church it worry where I only have to speak to Heather’s over the fence you know there’s no settlement distraction I can write.

[57:52] Whatever the internal customer.
Really the last question thing I’m really interested in because you actually right I think with a strong Australian Voice you know landscape with figures one of your poems.
I brace against the sky and chop a boomerang across the wind it rises like a Teal glimpsing next week be on the hills.
Dropped back through the afternoons arrangement of Shadows I mean that’s just fantastic you know use of language would of course no one but someone who,
administrator would like that chocolate Bruno across the window and that glimpsing next week Beyond the Hills I think you have to have an appreciation of the outback the land for me
say I’ve always been because of my uncle’s farm in the Riverina Callaghan north of Albury which is where we used to go every Christmas.
And spend time with my cousins and showing up there with the wheat and the sheep in the harvest and the heat I’ve just had that.

[59:00] Feeling all my life that this is where.
Basically I belong yes so I’ve been pursuing that.
Even when I was University we just had bush blocks in the Dandenongs thank heavens and the one at Emerald I really used to look after if I didn’t ride from the.
Ferntree Gully train on my bike up there.
And don’t think I was Wordsworth writing University essays in this Shack really shack in it so that’s why I got the first feeling for having.
Not only for camping but for having a.
Spotlight going to turn into a father I thought I was when I was a kid you going to head to bed and have a bit of money if you’re going to turn out ok but anyway those bush blocks.

[59:58] Have really provide the early origins of the church Warrior think which I can,
still just managed care given that we are really an Urban society in Australia why,
is the Australian Voice really just the voice of the bush or that sense of the landscape is there an Australian voice as well,
yes I think there is overlaying Sydney in Melbourne for instance yes I think there’s still an Australian Voice which is what you’ll be hearing but it’s been modified all the time bye,
immigrants from overseas and other cultures and so on in Melbourne’s always been my city Geelong.
Less so yeah I wouldn’t have probably without having to come here for what was obviously going to be a very interesting professional.
Lol I probably wouldn’t have come to Geelong my first visit to Geelong was in the middle of the war being brought down on the flyer and,
living with two English well well sort of an art with two cousins two kids.

[1:01:13] At the stage where their husband had been imprisoned by the Japs in Changi and the Burma Road and Simon nobody knew where he was that was my first experience of Geelong
water wow couldn’t get to easily in Melbourne but anyway Melbourne is my city this is coming back to what you were hinting at.

[1:01:33] Sydney also because of the family history in Sydney is.
Very much one of my cities if you know the unique city because of its Harbour.

[1:01:48] Yes the Australian Voice the Australian mindset.

[1:01:53] Car is still there but it’s been modified all the time and those places by globalism biotechnology buy instant gratification Baba Baba baba,
the fascinating Graham it’s been such a pleasure having you in the book cave thank you so much for coming in been great to be talking with,
these bookshelves behind us and a whole lot of words before you go all in the books virtual time capsule,
the three books that you would leave the world that they could read a thousand years from now so we have keen to know what your contribution is going to be,
yes when you suggested that to me I said yes to 30 books that you want that the 303 and I’m going through.

[1:02:47] Helen Garner’s true stories at the moment Francis fantastic In Cold Blood with David Campbells poetry about the Monaro,
Peter Carey’s the fat man in history as one of the ones I’m going to be choosing,
Frank Moorhouse is the electrical experience which most people don’t even have that all right.
Hemingway obtain Joyce Carey Gully jimson Denise levertov Elizabeth Bishop the VIN American poet.
William Stafford do I actually met after admiring his poetry for years and having a whole lot of.
A whole lot of teaching principles in common about teaching.
Things other than the SA in school yay shinko Steinbeck Randolph stow merry go round in the sea inside tell me which settle on.
If I’m allowed to force I would Envy including Patrick whites the aunt’s story the descriptions of the aren’t travelling across America by train.
Classic h1r the fat man in history I noticed that Overland have just.

[1:04:08] Re resurrected the first story in this which is called crabs which is a brilliant story of used it many times with student visa his first short story before he began,
writing the novel summary and their their facilitated by saying bye.
Sort the source of influence is a Patrick White brought to bear so it for the fat man in history,
and this is a very early Peter Carey oh my god look at that long hair glasses.

[1:04:45] In praise from Frankel House 2,
University of Queensland press Fatman history 1974 rear abs.
Commentary from couple people I think they’re great so that’s one the elective experiences about,
the South Coast of New South Wales with just wear the the Illawarra right Yarra Morehouse grew up and tell which is where my family history starts in 1836 wow,
Kiama Jamberoo inland from Kiama and the now.

[1:05:30] Very well preserved ancestral home that they built when they were able to transfer all their stuff over the initial Hills into this Valley inside time.
This is modelled very much on Frank’s fathers generation Frank’s father having been.
The pillar of society in Nowra right and it’s brilliant not only in its.

[1:05:57] It’s way of storytelling but also in the way the book is organised in terms of chapters and illustration of someone,
Ford thinking in that sense would have been involved in so how many so the aunt’s story,
by Patrick White of course the experience Frank Moorhouse and the fat man in history wonderful contributions to our virtue.

[1:06:30] And Graeme kinross-smith thank you so much for your time and insight into so many aspects of really good the room thank you very much.

[1:06:39] Music.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top