A Pantheon of Poets: Geoffrey Lehmann

Geoffrey LehmannA pantheon of eminent Australian poets descended onto a marquee slated on a grassy tennis court in leafy Sydney. The canapés, wine and congenial company were to celebrate the launch of esteemed poet, Geoffrey Lehmann’s new book, Poems 1957-2013 (UWA Publishing).

Geoffrey and his vivacious wife, Gail Pearson, hosted a large but attentive group of poets, family and colleagues under a rain-threatening sky. Poems was launched by John Edwards, who read the final poem in the book, ‘Why I Write Poetry’, a fitting résumé of Geoffrey’s poetic life, which he wrote for his old English master.

… Poetry is our love of metaphor.

We see one thing and think of something else.

A green wool-dress becomes the woman we love.

Poetry is non-local causality.

We are bathed in a mysterious glow.

That’s why I write poetry.

The collection includes previously published poems, some revised with original lines restored and removed. More than seventy pages of poems are new publications.

It’s always interesting to see how a poetry collection is structured. Here the sections are ‘Simple Sonnets’, ‘Earlier Poems’, ‘Nero’s Poems’, ‘Spring Forest’ and ‘Later Poems’. Ancient history is prominent, featuring poems about the Emperor Claudius, ‘Fall of a Greek City’ and ‘Colosseum’. There is also a poem for poet Les Murray, ‘The Trip to Bunyah: A Letter for Les Murray’. Aptly, Geoffrey’s first book of poetry, The Ilex Tree, was shared with Les and won the Grace Levin Prize.

Another of Geoffrey’s collaborations, and one for which he is recently known, is with Robert Gray. These two poets have edited some formidable anthologies of Australian poetry, the last published in 2011 by UNSW Press – Australian Poetry Since 1788.

Geoffrey read several poems, including the very funny, ‘Thirteen Reviews of the New Babylon Inn’, based on TripAdvisor reviews of a hotel in New York; ‘An Image’, a poem written when he was 17; ‘Water from My Face’ from ‘Spring Forest’ and ‘The World’ from the ‘Simple Sonnets’ sequence.

Frank MoorhouseA character in his own right, Geoffrey was part of the Sydney Push with Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes and Frank Moorhouse. The Push was predominately a left-wing intellectual subculture in the mid 1900s. Geoffrey broke the mould by working for global accountancy firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Some poets at the launch were David Malouf, Robert Adamson, Martin Langford, Vivian Smith, Carol Jenkins, Jamie Grant, Judith Beveridge, Stephen Edgar, Rhyll McMaster, Robert Gray and Alan Wearne. Judith Beveridge

 

 

Queensland Literary Awards 2012 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the Queensland Literary Awards for 2012 have been announced.  Here are the nominees!

Fiction book award

  • The Chemistry of Tears (Peter Carey, Penguin)
  • All That I Am (Anna Funder, Penguin)
  • Sarah Thornhill (Kate Grenville, Text)
  • Autumn Laing (Alex Miller, A&U)
  • Cold Light (Frank Moorhouse, Random House)

Science writer award

  • Seduced by Logic (Robyn Arianrhod, UQP)
  • Gone Viral (Frank Bowden, UNSW Press)
  • Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll (Rob Brooks, UNSW Press)
  • Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide (Richard Smith, ABC Books)

Nonfiction book award

  • The People Smuggler (Robin De Crespigny, Penguin)
  • Double Entry (Jane Gleeson-White, A&U)
  • Riding the Trains in Japan (Patrick Holland, Transit Lounge)
  • Worse Things Happen at Sea (William McInnes & Sarah Watt, Hachette)
  • Her Father’s Daughter (Alice Pung, Black Inc.)

Emerging Queensland author – manuscript award

  • Scratches on the Surface (Aaron Smibert)
  • Home Mechanics (Luke Thomas)
  • Island of the Unexpected (Catherine Titasey)
  • Hidden Objects (Ariella Van Luyn)

David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer

  • Story (Siv Parker)
  • Hard (Ellen van Neerven-Currie)
  • My Journey that May Never End (Dorothy Williams-Kemp)

The Harry Williams Award for a literary or media work advancing public debate

  • Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia’s Future (Paul Cleary, Black Inc.)
  • The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times(George Megalogenis, Penguin)
  • There Goes the Neighbourhood (Michael Weley, UNSW Press)

Judith Wright Calanthe Award – poetry collection

  • The Welfare of My Enemy (Anthony Lawrence, Puncher & Wattman)
  • Outside (David McCooey, Salt Publishing)
  • Late Night Shopping (Rhyll McMaster, Brandl & Schlesinger)
  • Crimson Crop (Peter Rose, UWA Publishing)
  • The Yellow Gum’s Conversion (Simon West, Puncher & Wattman)

History book award

  • Seduced by Logic (Robyn Arianrhod, UQP)
  • 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia(James Boyce, Black Inc.)
  • The Biggest Estate on Earth (Bill Gammage, A&U)
  • The Censor’s Library (Nicole Moore, UQP)

Children’s book award

  • The Horses Didn’t Come Home (Pamela Rushby, HarperCollins)
  • Brotherband 1: The Outcasts (John Flanagan, Random House)
  • Look a Book! (Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)
  • Ten Blue Wrens (Elizabeth Honey, A&U)
  • Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers (Briony Stewart, UQP)

Young adult book award

  • Night Beach (Kirsty Eagar, Penguin)
  • The Ink Bridge (Neil Grant, A&U)
  • Three Summers (Judith Clarke, A&U)
  • Sea Hearts (Margo Lanagan, A&U)
  • All I Ever Wanted (Vikki Wakefield, Text)

The Steele Rudd Award for an Australian short story collection

  • Silence (Rodney Hall, Murdoch Books)
  • Shooting the Fox (Marion Halligan, A&U)
  • In the Shade of the Shady Tree (John Kinsella, Swallow Press, Ohio University Press)
  • The Weight of a Human Heart (Ryan O’Neill, Black Inc.)
  • Forecast: Turbulence (Janette Turner Hospital, HarperCollins)

Television script award

  • The Straits: ‘Yawor – My Lovely’, episode 3 (Blake Ayshford, Matchbox Pictures)
  • The Slap: ‘Harry’, episode 3 (Brendan Cowell, Matchbox Pictures)
  • Strange Calls: ‘Phantom’, episode 3 (Anthony Mullins, Hoodlum Active)
  • Mabo (Sue Smith, Blackfella Films)
  • Dance Academy: ‘The Prix de Fonteyn’, episode 24 (Liz Doran, Werner Films)

Drama script (stage) award

  • War Crimes (Angela Betzien)
  • Bloodland (Wayne Blair)
  • Taxi (Patricia Cornelius)
  • Baby Teeth (Rita Kalnejais)
  • A Golem Story (Lally Katz)

Film script award

  • Dead Europe (Louise Fox, See-Saw Films)
  • Being Venice (Miro Bilbra, Dragon Net Films)
  • Rarer Monsters (Shane Armstrong & S P Krauss)
  • Save Your Legs (Brendan Cowell, Robyn Kershaw Productions).