Remembering Patrick White

It’s 100 years since the birth of maybe the greatest Australian writer (certainly the most internationally renowned Australian writer), Patrick White, so it was nice to come along to a panel session of the Melbourne Writers Festival dedicated to his life and work.

Sophie Cunningham talked about how reading White inspired her to begin writing, Allison Croggon talked about White’s plays and how they were too undervalued, Rodney Hall talked about the ‘five great books’ that Patrick White gave us, and his relationship with the man and Peter Craven talked about The Tree of Man and what that meant to him and also how scandalous it was that recent writers like White and Stead were neglected. 

However, the highlight was probably David Marr (White’s biographer) who talked personally about his writing about White, and how Marr saw his mission as ‘saving Patrick White from anecdote’, reminding us of the integrity of the vision of White’s vision of himself as an artist and that his whole life journey was to try to find himself and who taught us something about the ‘sacred in the ordinary’ along the way.

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Cube 37

There was a good turn-out to the forum organised by Garth Madsen at Cube 37 this morning. I took some photos, which I’ll put here at some stage, but it was great to see that there is genuine interest about how this place might better serve writer and writing.

The photo above is not of Cube 37 this morning but at the opening of an exhibition in June 2006. Photo by Premonition

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The Mission: Australian Poetry in Schools

How the forum went:

The Mission: Australian Poetry in Schools

This was a panel and discussion session on fostering contemporary Australian poetry in schools. Is Australian poetry under-represented in school settings? What are the challenges to improved access and better teaching of poetry? This session, at the National Poetry Festival, included perspectives from academics, poets, teachers and publishers and aimed at practical strategies for future improvement.

The speakers are listed below. Papers from the forum will be published in the first issue of FIVE BELLS early in 2006.

Chair: Warrick Wynne

1. The Mission: Lorraine Gillespie

2. The Publishers Perspective: Ron Pretty

3. A Poet’s Viewpoint – Brook Emery

4. What schools need: Warrick Wynne

5. A Student Perspective – Jessica Chang

6. Life After School: Teaching Poetry to adults: Lyn Hatherly

PAF Forum

Only a few days now to the poetry forum in Sydney, which is at last coming together. I shall publish links to the papers here next week. Partipants so far include Lyn Hatherly, Lorraine Gillespie, Brook Emery (perhaps) and Ron Pretty.

Education Committee Sydney Forum

Education Committee Sydney Forum

Planning and Ideas for the Sydney Forum at the Poetry Festival in Sydney on September 4, 3004.

The forum will run from 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM

DRAFT PROGRAM: The Mission: Australian Poetry in Schools

This is a panel and discussion session on fostering contemporary Australian poetry in schools. Is Australian poetry under-represented in school settings? What are the challenges to improved access and better teaching of poetry? This session will include perspectives from academics, poets, teachers and publishers and will aim at practical strategies for future improvement.

Chair: Warrick Wynne

1. The Mission: Lorraine Gillespie

“…but somewhere between Bryon and Plath poetry has taken a serious dive and most of my suspicions are leading to the way it is/has been taught via the education system. Now it’s fine for the odd teacher here and there to say that poetry is not in a sorry state, but this is not the wide spread view, so what for the rest. More poems to learn by rote and despise?? Well upon revising the adult education teaching plan that I created for poetry classes a couple of years ago and was rather successful decided I’m going to put my mouth where I wish my money and see what I can come up with in the plight to return the crown to it’s rightful status. ”

2. Publishers Perspective: Ron Pretty

3. A Poet’s Viewpoint – ?

4. The View from Schools: Warrick Wynne

5. Life After School: Teaching Poetry: Lyn Hatherly

Education Forum

Confirmed this week that the education forum is definitely on for the Australian Poetry Festival in Sydney in September. This has been something of a project so it’s great that the Poets Union have come to the party and given us time for a session on the saturday morning. I’ve yet to work out the exact format: probably mini-papers, then a general discussion. I’ll post details of that later.