From Pavlov’s Cat
1) Which Australian poem are you most confident you could recite from memory?
Most of the poems I can recite from memory (and I reckon there would be about a dozen, but I’m not going to properly test myself right now) are in my brain because I studied them for exams. Tho now I think more carefully about it, the Judith Wright ones pop into my head more often than the others. Bruce Dawe wouldn’t take too much resurrecting I’m sure.
There are many children’s (picture) books which I could recite from memory, and a lot of them are poetry if not strictly speaking poems. I knew them long before I had children, by the way.
2) Which of the Seven Little Australians are you?
If I can’t be Judy I’m not playing.
3) Which is your favourite Patrick White novel?
Riders in the Chariot. Want to know why? It was one of those ones on my mother’s bookshelf (alongside Doris Lessing, Titus Groan…you get the picture I’m sure), and when I read it at uni, I thought it proved I was all grown up. Pity I didn’t pay more attention to the writing than I did to carrying it around cover out so that everyone could see just how grown up I was.
4) Which is the best Patrick White novel?
Isn’t it supposed to be The Aunt’s Story? I can’t answer this intelligently.
5) Which Australian fictional/dramatic/poetic character do you fancy most?
I fall in love with unattainables pretty easily. Also, I quite like scruffs and ne’er-do-wells. Most of those knockabout lads who went off to war took my fancy. My Brother Jack, 1915 and so on.
6) And which do you identify with most?
This is a bit trickier, isn’t it? When I read A Descant for Gossips I (somewhat melodramatically) imagined myself as Vinny. And of course, I wanted to be Miranda.
7) If you had to read five Australian poems to a heterogeneous unknown audience, which five would you choose?
I would read The Vigilant Heart by Catherine Bateson on the basis of the title alone. I know we are supposed to say poems, but that would mean I would have to go and do a bit of research, so I’m going to say some poets from whose work I would choose: Judith Wright (maybe ‘woman to man’), Les Murray and Henry Lawson. Would it be cheating to say Paul Kelly? His songs have been printed in a book haven’t they?
8) Which five Australian books would you take to a desert island?
The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers and Selected Stories by Delia Falconer, because I haven’t read it yet. I bought it a few weeks ago, and am waiting for just the right moment to start – it is very hard starting new books when your only real chance for reading is just before bed. I think it will be something I will re-read, but don’t know for sure, so in that sense I guess it’s a bit of a risk.
As I said the last time I did a book meme, I would also take some kind of survival book. Also, a book on the local flora and fauna would be very useful and help to pass the time.
PC’s Come In Spinner idea is a very good one, and I have actually been flicking through my copy since I read her blog this morning. Goodness me Rebecca Gibney and Kerry Armstrong have lovely skin, don’t they?
Finally, a really thick biography about a very interesting person. I just finished re-reading The Diaries of Barbara Hanrahan (I read it the less common way – from front to back – rather than by flicking back and forth from the index looking for the juicy bits). Perhaps I would take that.
9) If you were a guest at Donâ€™s Party, would you be
(a) naked in the pool
(b) upstairs having sex
(c) outside having sex
(d) sulking with a headache
(e) huddled round the TV
(g) more than one of the above (please specify)
(h) other (please specify)
I get drunk and cry on election nights. Not sure that I would have been invited to Don’s Party.
10) Tim Winton or Christos Tsiolkas?
Not sure I can do an either/or on these. I have read (I think) everything that Christos Tsiolkas has written – tho probably there are short stories or articles that I haven’t seen. I really enjoyed Cloud Street and Winton’s Lochie Leonard series was good.
11) Banjo Paterson or Henry Lawson?
12) Henry Lawson or Barbara Baynton?
13) Whatâ€™s the worst thing youâ€™ve ever seen at a writersâ€™ festival?
The prices on the sandwiches and glasses of wine.