Martin Harrison



Ekphrasis as ‘Event’: Poets Paint Words and the ‘Performance’ of Ekphrasis in Australia

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery (NRAG) in 2007, Lisa Slade and Peter Minter co-curated the exhibition Poets Paint Words. The two curators commissioned some of Australia’s best poets to write poems in response to …

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Petra White Reviews Martin Harrison

Many years ago, as a young fruit-picker, I carried Martin Harrison’s The Kangaroo Farm around with me for a week. I was camping on the Murray in Cobram, and struck by Harrison’s vivid evocations of the landscapes like the one in which I was sleeping on rocks. His sense of light, the gristliness of things, the sounds, the movement of kingfishers. It was a world made up of particular details, of things attempted to be seen as they are, rather than being embroidered into any overarching narrative or self-proclaiming poetic. Harrison had a kind of honesty and closeness to things that I hadn’t yet seen in my early days of reading Australian poetry.

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Reclaimed Land: Australian Urbanisation and Poetry

In the late 1850s, Charles Harpur composed the image of ‘a scanty vine,/ Trailing along some backyard wall’ (‘A Coast View’). It might be forgettable, save for its conspicuousness in Harpur’s bush-obsessed poetry. Whether purple ranges or groaning sea-cliffs, his poems cleave to a more-than-human continent. The scanty vine, however, clings to a different surface: human-made – the craft of a drystone wall, perhaps, or wire strung through posts like the twist of the poetic line – it signals domestic land division. Harpur’s vine of words trails along the vertical edifice of settlement.

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Adam Aitken Interviews Martin Harrison

I’ve known Martin Harrison since 1985, when I first met him in Newtown, New South Wales. I had been an undergraduate and aspiring poet at the University of Sydney, and we were neighbours. I hung out with a coterie who often gathered at the Courthouse Hotel, on Australia Street a few blocks north of Martin’s house; a group that included John Forbes, John Tranter, Pam Brown, Gig Ryan, Laurie Duggan, Dipti Saravanamuttu, Jan Harry, Joanne Burns, Rae Desmond Jones, and Chris Mansell among others. Martin was someone from another literary scene, but I was not put off by that as I found him immensely intelligent, warm, witty, and encouraging to young poets.

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Three Poems by Martin Harrison

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 …

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By the River

Parked under trees on the other side of the dusty area where trailers often get abandoned a few days by truckies who don’t want to pick up far from the freeway and, yes, there’s a gap in the tree-cover opening …

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Cloud

Smaller than gnats, almost imperceptible, glistening flies hovering in their edgeless clusters shaping and reshaping sideways through winter sun’s white light – mid-air thrips emanating between shadow and light-ray – thirty centimetres above damp long grass, matted weeds, cool earth, …

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White Flowers

The air the wind the outside and outsize of what’s possible and imaginable clear and clean endeavour into the atmosphere of light on dark and glittering spaces where crimson rosellas swerve sideways into cascades of down-hanging white flowers they land …

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Proteaceae: A Chapbook Curated by Peter Minter

In January 2013 I visited the inaugural exhibition of the new Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, an eclectic and compelling collection of works curated by Gavin Wilson and entitled ‘Picturing the Great Divide: Visions from Australia’s Blue Mountains’. I stood for what seemed like an hour before John Wolseley’s wonderful ‘The Proteaceae of NSW and Argentina 1996’ – a water colour and pencil work that is part of his ongoing creative enquiry into geological and biological temporalities, and one which advances an intensely felt and thought aesthetic of deep trans-historical and trans-biological emergence.

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Milk and Honey

What would have been the poem for you has become an over-riding sense of the day – taking it for granted, as one does, with its drives, its houses, its office – all the non-specifics by which looking back, a …

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Three Poems and Webb Lecture by the Inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry

Robert Adamson“Robert Adamson began his post as the inaugural CAL Chair in Australian Poetry at UTS in February 2012. Funded by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) for three years, the Chair in Australian Poetry is the first of its kind in Australia.”

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Chair Insider: An Intimate Access in Photo Narratives

Adamson

“Andrew Sayers, director of the National Portrait Gallery, wrote of my work, ‘Trust is an important quality in portraiture. Trust is self evident in Juno Gemes’ photographic portraits’. The portraits published here were created in trust with literary friends.”

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