Remembering Liam and Frankie Davison

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I was shattered at the news last Friday of the death of our closest friends, Liam and Frankie Davison in the Malaysian Airlines disaster in the Ukraine. He was a fine novelist and short story writer, and a wonderful human being. We were friends for over forty years, since Teacher’s College. He was my mentor, my listening post, my fellow editor at Peninsula Writing, cycling friend, just friend. At some time, when I’m a bit stronger, I intend putting up something more substantial online to honour his writing and try to bring together various pieces of writing. Meanwhile, you can read an obituary by Nat O’Neill HERE, read some of Liam’s writing at his Gillhaney blog HERE or read his most recent piece in The Griffith Review HERE.

There was also a piece about Liam’s writing in the Sydney Morning Herald by Gregory Day HERE.

Some details about the memorial service on Sunday are below:

Sam and Milly, along with their extended family, invite friends to gather at Toorak College on the upper playing field overlooking Port Phillip Bay on Sunday 27 July 2014 at 2:30pm, to pay tribute and share our love for Liam and Frankie.

Liam and Frankie’s family’s have been extremely touched by the love and support received over the past week. In 2011 Frankie and Liam visited The Annapurna Self-Sustaining Orphan Home in Pokhara, Nepal, where they were both touched by the incredible work being done there. These efforts rely largely on donations, in which the Davisons were instrumental over the last few years.

A trust has been set up for the Orphan Home in Liam and Frankie’s memory. Rather than flowers, we ask that those wishing to continue their support to the Davison family make donations to this fund.

With much love and thanks.

Annapurna Self-Sustaining Orphan Home, Pokhara, Nepal

Account Name: Amelia Davison Annapurna Orphanage

BSB: 06 3550

Account Number: 1036 2702


Exploring the Depths

I received this week my contributor’s copy to a new collection of poems called Exploring the Depths, a collection of poems based on the concept of exploration. It’s a lovely collection, edited by Janette Fernando, and it includes a poem of mine called ‘Driving Lake Mungo’, on the strange and beautiful experience of visiting Lake Mungo for the first time.

You can learn more about this, and order a copy from Poetica Christi Press.

On the English exam

Well I expect I was just as surprised as my nephew was, sitting down in Sydney for the Year 12 English exam, to see a poem by Uncle Warrick on the paper. He said it was a bit surreal. I said he should have listened more attentively to my infrequent family poetry readings.

The poem chosen was ‘Tractor and Father and Child’, a poem of mine that appeared in my book The Colour of Maps, but I expect they found it because it has been anthologised in a collection called ‘Family Ties’, that came out a few years ago.

I didn’t know it was going on the paper, I expect for security reasons, and got a copyright agreement to sign after the event. All in a good cause I suppose, but I’m torn between fascination with what some of the forty thousand young readers doing the exam might have written about this poem, and fear at discovering what they did write! Or that they’ll all look me up and hunt me down for making their life miserable!

I don’t mind the copyright use for education and all that; and I don’t expect that I’ll be paid much, if anything. Still, it would have been nice to have a QR code or something on the exam for all those kids to look at afterwards: ‘Want to read more? Click here to buy Wynne’s poetry’. Now that would be a marketing coup!

Best Australian Poems 2011

I was delighted to receive in the post this week my copies of Best Australian Poems 2011 (published by Black Inc) This year’s edition is edited by John Tranter and includes poems by poets like Robert Adamson, Ken Bolton, Pam Brown, Sarah Day, Bruce Dawe, Geoff Goodfellow, Jennifer Harrison, Andy Kissane, Jennifer Maiden, Les Murray and Thomas Shapcott. Pretty good company hey?

My poem, The Station of the Stairs was inspired by the wooden steps up from Bird Rock Beach to the highway. I’ll put it online sometime over the summer. The book is $24.95 and I think it’s out now.

Below: The Stairs, Photo: Warrick

Australian Poetry Journal

Received the inaugural copy of the Australian Poetry Journal this week. This is the new journal to be published bi-annually by the Australian Poetry Ltd group and it’s a nice start.

I haven’t read it all yet but the first edition pretty much contains a ‘who’s who’ of contemporary Australian poets: Tracy Ryan, Robert Adamson, Sarah Day, Brook Emery, Paul Kane, John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Anthony Lawrence, Les Murray, Geoff Page, Ron Pretty, Peter Rose, Alex Skovron et. al. If I have a tremor of doubt it’s because it is such a typical sounding line-up in some ways, but I’m hoping to find some new voices too.

I suppose that’s the tight-rope a journal walks: to balance the new writers with the established and well known. The back cover lists four writers: Robert Adamson, Christian Bok, Maria Takolander, Clive James and Les Murray.

It’s mainly poetry too, with a ‘spotlight’ feature on Robert Harris and three pieces of lit-crit. The editor is Bronwyn Lea and it’s a nice start though how it stands up agains the new ‘gorgeousness’ of the new Meanjin or even Island is up for grabs. It doesn’t look as good; in fact, this is defiantly text-only and I’m not convinced of the paper either, nice recycled idea, but a bit plain somehow. Like the cover, which may be doing some kind of academic retro thing and mimicking an early edition of Poetry Australia or New Poetry. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Available here