I listen to a a lot of music. When I’m walking, working or even when I’m writing, though I’ve got to be a bit careful about music that draws too much of my attention when I’m really trying to focus.
Lately, I’ve found, and have been enjoying, David Crosby’s most recent work, two of three late albums in a career that dates back to his work with The Byrds in the 1960s.The new albums include Lighthouse (2016), Skytrails (2017), Here if You Listen (2018) a new album Free , coming out this month.
It’s a wonderful late blooming with some beautiful songs, and it’s both reassuring and consoling, as someone now contemplating retirement from the workforce, to see not only the continuation of a great voice, but a mature voice with new nuance and meaning too.
It’s nice to think that art can go on and creativity need not be stifled by age and experience. It made me think about the late books of poets over the years too. I think there’s probably a seperate blog post in all that; about poets who wrote as strongly in their last work as their first. The first book that came to mind was Vincent Buckley’s Last Poems, a posthumous collection published in 1991. But there’s lots of others that I might include too.
I got to thinking about Skytrails this week when the cold winter air made the skytrails over the morning sky so prominent. Here’s a few images I grabbed from the back yard.
No doubt it will appear in some poetry at some stage in the future, but at the moment, having just returned from a few days away around the Mildura area and then into Lake Mungo National Park, my head is full of the light and the sky and the horizon of the last few days. I’ll post some more pics at some stage soon too.
I heard James Bradley on the ABC Book Show last night talking about his editing of a new book, The Penguin Book of the Ocean, featuring writing from people like Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Bishop, David Malouf and Tim Winton among others.
I’m not usually much of a fan of these theme-based collections (book of the beach, book of towns etc) because I don’t like reading what are usually extracts from longer pieces, of whole novels, out of context. I think it works for a collection of self-contained short stories about a theme, but that’s about it.
But, in the interview Bradley did talk about what he closed the collection with, which was the final scene from David Malouf’s novel Fly Away Peter, where the woman in grief sees a strange image of the future, a surfer skittering across the face of a wave. It’s a beautiful moment and, despite the complexities of some of the ideas, I’ve always enjoyed teaching that novel to Year 12 students over the years. It’s not a novel that’s much about the sea at all really; it would fit just as well into The Penguin Book of the Sky, if one was ever to exist! But that moment was worth remembering, and made me reach for the book from the shelf and look at it again.