On 24 July, 2014, Martin Harrison sent along three poems to me. Two were recently published, one was new and hasn’t been read widely yet. I had asked Martin if he wanted to contribute a few works to a small collection of poems I am putting together for the Graz, Austria-based publication, Lichtungen. The book will feature about 15 Australian writers’ works, two to three poems each, all translated into The German, not to act as a whole representation of what’s going on in Australian poetics today, but as a sample to prompt further reading of our poetry. I was chuffed to have him on board. ‘It will be good to hear how the project develops, and I’m very happy to receive inquiries from the translator if that is appropriate’, Martin said. The book will be out in 2015.
This past weekend, Australia lost Martin Harrison. So did the world. We had never once met, exchanging ideas only through email in the past few years. I was never the recipient of what I understand to be unforgettable tutelage to many writers and thinkers, only the pleasure of an author / publisher exchange. His written words and recordings remain.
I have decided to publish these three poems here, now, to share with all the friends, peers and students who knew and loved him. The first is ‘White Flowers’ from 2011, which appeared in Poetry Review, Volume 101, No 4 (Winter), next is ‘Cloud’ from 2013, which appeared in Poem: International English Language Quarterly, Vol 1:2 (April), and lastly is ‘By the River’, heretofore unpublished.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Thank you, Martin Harrison.