I started watching my girls play sport in Armidale when they were very young. I still watch when I get the chance.
This piece was written in 2009 after watching Clare play at Little Bay , a Sydney suburb. I have included it here because I like it, it brings memories back. I have included it too because it introduces the Armidale poets.
I finished Sunday Essay - obsessions with reading - wondering just what book I would select next. As it happened, I had to take Clare to hockey at Little Bay. To pass the time, I grabbed a few small books of poetry off the shelf.
Next hockey match I am going to take a note pad. I really need to get the cadences down. Hockey is visual, but this was poetry in action.
As I said, I read the poems in breaks. These are very short books. I read each a number of times.
Feeling posthumous in BondiThis was the time the Armidale poets were challenging what they saw as the intellectual dominance and pretensions of Sydney’s Balmain push. They did so through writing, readings and their own small presses.
After tablelands' dawn and the death of poetry
Sydney existential and drear,
I decide to remember friendships
Rather than renew them here
Greg Shortis, First Ode
The game ends. Clare has done really well as goalie in keeping it to a draw.
I come home and in the midst of lunch preparation wrote Introducing the Armidale poets, the first in a possible series. You see, I know these poets. I was there at the time these books were published. One is signed by the author.
The problem the Armidale poets face is the one that influenced some of their writing in the first instance, the difficulty in this country of providing an authentic alternative regional voice when so much is controlled by and set within cultural patterns dominated by metro cultural elites.
My own writing may not have much impact. But at least I can review their work for my own pleasure.
Note to readers: Every Wednesday I am bringing up one draft chapter of New England Travels, the book I have been working on. Each chapter is self contained and varies in length from 500 to 3000 words. I am not including images. I will add those later. This chapter forms part of a bigger section tentatively entitled writers and writing.