I have an essay in the latest edition of Meanjin. It's a piece about politics and poetry, among other things. I'm delighted that the Deane family pooch, Berkeley, also has a starring role in the essay.
Here's the opening bit:
Most days my dog Berkeley, a black Labrador-Cocker Spaniel cross, takes me for a walk. If there’s time to kill, we weave through the 1960s-era suburban streets of Doncaster and follow an underarm of greenery that runs beneath the shoulder of the Eastern Freeway. If Berkeley and I are full of beans, we run to the freeway and back – a circuit just shy of five kilometres – although we’ve never mastered the heartbreak hill that is High Street. If time is tight, or I’m lazy, we amble to the oval at the end of my street, where Berkeley sniffs the backsides of my neighbours’ dogs for twenty minutes then announces she’s ready to return home by crapping in the grass beside the concrete cricket pitch.
The day that Keith Sinclair popped into my head was a lazy day. Berkeley was working her way towards the concrete cricket pitch while I walked laps, listening to the New Yorker Poetry podcast (I know he’s not Scottish, but Paul Muldoon sounds like the poetry world’s answer to Sean Connery) and gazing at the craggy outline of Melbourne’s CBD to the west.
I wasn’t thinking about anything in general, and then I was thinking about Keith Sinclair in particular. This surprised me. After all, Sinclair had been dead for 20 years and I’d never met him, nor read a word he’d written. All I knew, from a Claude Forell obituary, was that, as an editor, Sinclair ‘seemed an aloof, forbidding figure to many young reporters, but he was courteous and kind to those who worked closely with him.’ Why, then, did Sinclair’s name keep floating out of my subconscious?
The answer was easy to divine. Sinclair, like me, had served time as a political speechwriter.
You can find the rest of the essay in the latest Meanjin.
There's also a cracker of a piece on Germaine Greer's long, unsent letter to Martin Amis. Here's the cover image.
Meanjin is here.