Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home Again

with an CBCA Honour book for The Wish Pony, a new pair of sparkling birkenstocks, new domestic resolve and that pleasant feeling that comes with catching up with people you haven't seen for a while.

The CBCA Awards day was held at Seaworld - I was thrilled because it fitted right into something I'm finishing writing at the moment, so it was fabulous to just see the place again. I think I may have been nine the last time I went? Or maybe twelve. It was certainly a long time ago and nothing looked familiar but at the same time everything did. Once a themepark, always a themepark.

It was great to see Tony Eaton, Matt Ottley, Frane Lessac and Mark Greenwood among other writers there for the event. Great to meet fellow Wool Shed press author, Chris Bongers as well. It was a packed two days and I flew back to Melbourne this morning feeling vaguely shellshocked at the whirlwindedness of it all.

Thanks to knitpicks take-apart knitting needles, I managed to do some knitting while I was there - I'm making the Beth Jacket in Jo Sharp Silkroad DK. Turns out Tony's wife, Imogen, is also a knitter - and a fabulous one - so as I soon as I learnt that, I looked her up on Ravelry.

I bought Robin Hobb's Fool's Errand to read on the plane. But to finish it, I really needed a Perth flight and a spare night's reading. I'll go back and read the Live Ship trilogy, but for now I just want to know what happens to FitzChivalry, the Fool and Nighteyes.

Got a list of books - and some real books - to read from Leonie, so it's going to be a reading, writing and knitting kind of world. But, when isn't it? I've started Graceling, too - grateful to whoever's review I read that said it took them a while to get into it, because that's my experience too.

Poem I'm currently learning is J. K. Baxter's 'Ikons'. Pretty magnificent poem. The opening is very risky and beautiful:

Hard, heavy, slow, dark -
Or so I find the hands of Te Whaea

Teaching me to die....

(I may not have the punctuation correct but I'm too lazy to find my copy of the poem and correct it.) I'm not sure how to pronouce Te Whaea. Must ask someone from New Zealand. The language in the poem is quite plain, but somehow luminously put together. There's such a difference between plainsong and prosey and I think as contemporary poets working in free verse we sometimes forget that difference. Baxter's enjamed lines and his choice of line breaks are exact - that slow beat of adjectives as the first line followed by the almost conversational intimacy of the poet's 'I' and then the surprise of the third line - it seems so simple but it's not. It has such poetic authority, for a start, and such human grief.

On that note - to bed. I must walk the dog, turn out the fish, blow out candles and to bed. Congratulations to everyone who made Friday such a special day and many thanks to the lovely Leonie and Marcus for their hospitality.

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