Espacement et différance
Once the rain vanished, it just so happened to be a sparkling and intense weekend at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. It was fun to catch up with poets from interstate: the gorgeous Australian Filipino wordsmith, Eleanor Jackson and Lian Low from Peril. I also got to chat with Lionel Fogarty, listen to LK Holt’s Balthazar poems as well as meet the retro-glam diva, Jessica L Wilkinson. She performed from her new prose/verse about the life of Percy Grainger, and the poet as instrument. I enjoyed hearing Michael Farrell read from open sesame as well as speaking about his poetics using Gertrude Stein as a point of departure. He was joined by Toby Fitch, Astrid Lorange and Jill Jones in discussing their experimental poetics. I thought this was an excellent session. It was also inspiring to hear Lorna Munro speak about imprisonment and Indigenous expression at the Red Room’s Unlocked gig.
But my fave event, of course, was the launch of Contemporary Asian Australian Poets, which thanks to Nicholas Jose was beautifully segued as an hour of espacement et différance, of tearing down the faux-aesthetic boundaries of the fetishised and hypervigilant autochthonous to make space for the nouvelle poétique articulated by the images and tropes of young Asian Australians, (and a few older ones such as yours truly.)
I hope the book is aberrant and oscillatory in its editorial strategies, tracing intersections and overlaps of the inter-text, a writing that is situated within structures; a writing which refuses to be freaked out by instability.
If you like it put a copy on your bookshelf, better still your bedside.