Tag: Lisa Gorton

Followed by Patrick Modiano’s Dog: What I’ve Been Reading, Last Part

by Luke Beesley Having just finished Cesar Aira’s Shantytown, which in the end was probably my least favourite Aira, I’ve just begun Beauty is a Wound by Indonesian Eka Kurniawan, mostly because of how much I enjoyed the tinge of the absurd in these two sentences, on the second page, which follow other sentences about a character, Dewi Ayu, who has just risen from the grave: “A woman tossed her baby into the bushes and its father hushed a banana stalk. Two men plunged into a ditch, others fell unconscious at the side of the road, and still others took…

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The Future Freeze

Lisa Gorton Cryogenics is probably the weirdest version of ambition. It proves how hard it is to think about the future: its images have no intimacy. This difficulty is probably identical to the difficulty of imagining the past not as it appears in retrospect, but as it was when its future was undecided, alive with possibilities. Nothing shows how habit has consumed strangeness so much as reading an out-of-date book of prophecies. Take Archibald Williams’ book, The Romance of Modern Invention. You can read it here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41160. It covers the telephone, ‘mechanical flight’ and ‘horseless carriages’.  Here is its prediction…

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Non-fiction poetry

Lisa Gorton Today I moved all my books. Here was further proof that I am not Walter Benjamin. I did not develop a single insight into the nature of collecting. I did think of Ivor Indyk’s essay, ‘The Book and Its Time’, in which he describes a scene from Arnold Bennett’s book, Riceyman Steps: ‘In the dining room there are more books, settled on the dining table, the sideboard, the mantelpiece, the chairs, the floor; in the bedroom the wardrobe is stuffed with books; in the bathroom the bath is full to the brim and overflowing with them…’. There were…

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Authority and Flood

Lisa Gorton From time to time, these days, I wonder why I have spent so much of my life reading – what I have gained by that, and what I have lost. When I was seven years old, I was reading in the bath with the taps running. All at once, my mother was standing over me, her pale look changing to frustration. The bathwater had run over the walls of the bath, flooded the bathroom, run into the hall. She thought that I had drowned but I was only reading. I remember seeing the water and thinking, first, that…

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Shakespeare’s sonnets: stones and weeds

Lisa Gorton This week, I’ve been rereading Shakespeare’s sonnets. I’m thinking ahead to ABR’s sonnet-o-thon at Boyd on Wednesday 28 November. (Yes, a promo! But the event is free: www.australianbookreview.com.au/events/fireside-chats.)  We’re lining up to read as many sonnets as we can in an hour and a half. Some day – some festival – I wish someone would read the lot. Taken together, they repeat and rework images until they make, as much as anything, a study of the way obsessions work in time. And how strange they are.  All those one-syllable words: the sonnets sound clear but get stranger the…

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On realism, Walter Benjamin and cricket commentary

Lisa Gorton Lately, driving here and there, I have been listening to cricket on the radio. In truth, I take no interest in the game; but talk has its genres, too, and I have been amusing myself by trying to classify cricket commentary. It seems to offer the comfort of realism. Here are men talking together, looking over the same field: a green field of shared experience.  Listening to the men talk, it seems as though this pitch, this green field, has been fenced off from all that Walter Benjamin notices in his sad and brilliant essay, ‘The Storyteller’. In…

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November Monthly Blogger – Lisa Gorton

Thank you, Pam Brown, for your excellent posts. This month we have Lisa Gorton as our monthly blogger. Lisa Gorton lives in Melbourne. Her second poetry collection, The Hotel Hyperion, is coming out with Giramondo in March 2013. Her novel, Establishment, is coming out with Scribe later that year. Lisa Gorton’s first poetry collection, Press Release, was shortlisted for the Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award and the Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize, and was awarded the Victorian Premier’s Prize for poetry. She has also been awarded the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize.