Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Just a Street

A quiet place to be, this small window, for fragments of thought and touch. Here is the color of my next over street, people's gardens throwing light on a gray day. Streets so different from my New York streets. Old streets still but no bustle, particularly now in our curfew virus time, but so tender it all feels, reminding me of the sweetness of Collodi's narrator in Pinocchio,when he replies to the excited children, the bambini, no, not a story about a king, my little ones. A tale about a piece of wood, just a simple piece of wood, un semplice pezzo da catasta, from the woodpiles that warm our winter nights. I do not know what will appear on these pages, or why at 80, sentences, expressions, cling to me. Non mi picchiar tanto forte! Do not hit me so hard, this same piece of wood says on the next page as the carpenter tries to chip away at him to form a table leg. I cannot get those words out of my head. Please do not hit us so hard.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Old Legacies, New Solidarities Presentation, 2018

Face Book is becoming more and more problematic. At 80 I will try to return to my writing here.  First I want to post the last public performance-talk that I gave for a queer conference here in Melbourne in 2019 before the virus hit. Thank you Daniel Marshall, Ann Vickery and Emma Whatman, the conveners of "Queer Legacies, New Solidarities," and to Hecate (44. 1&2, 2018) for publishing moments of the conference.

Added notes, August 16, 2020. This talk- performance has become very important to me. It is the last outing of this kind I will be physically able to do. For one last time I drank deeply of the joy of shaping a drama with people unknown to me for the most part, with offering the energy of thinking, artifacts, words that fitted no outline. Before this presentation, I had asked two friends, lesbians in their late 20s, how would they want to be spoken to in a public presentation--thinking of the static drone of most conference proceedings. "Don't tell us what to think" Ang said. "Help us ask questions." And that is why there are so many bits and pieces here, thrown out for conjecture and even fabrics to feel, bearing imprints of bodies, of stories. Two other background waters. First the physical challenge I had in getting my body with my cane, my suitcase of books, garments to the conference site. Having the thinkers, creators who had given life to my thinking all these years present, piled up on stools for all to see seemed necessary to me and so once again I became a schlepper. Last, I started the "talk" with the story of Lee and his kind words because of the tension one of the speakers had created between herself and the trans community. Lee gave me the gift of new solidarities and it seemed just the right time to share it.  The joy, the aliveness I felt, the love for what we were all trying to do together in that rather cold room, brought back all the LHA slid show presentations, the one woman erotic reading shows, the endless talks I have given and my teaching days on that cold hill in Flushing Queens on which Queens College stood. Now on this lifeless page, one more time. Thank you for listening.

   
  Reflections on Legacies and Solidarities from the Perspective of a 50s Fem: Fragments of Stories, Encounters, Perils and Cries of Possibilities  
                                       Acknowledgement of country: 

I acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional country of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations and pay respect to Elders past and present. I acknowledge that for 61 years on another continent, I walked the traditional country of the Lanapi people and I wish to pay my respects to their elders past and present. I acknowledge that the sovereignty of both these countries has never been ceded. This primary, brutal dispossession is at the heart of the brokenness of our human solidarities.

                                    Re-Creation of a Talk Setting:
   I set the room with many movable parts, all speaking to memory, encounters, geographies that have shaped my life, to old histories and new ones. From the speaker’s podium, I hang two garments: my old black slip in which I did erotic readings for three decades, the fabric still showing my large woman’s shape, and my black cotton Women in Black t-shirt that calls for an end of the Israeli occupation in three languages, Arabic, Hebrew and English that I wore at our weekly demonstrations here in Melbourne. These represent desire and engagement, perhaps another way of saying legacies and new solidarities. 
    On the wall behind me, moving from the left to right, the enlarged cover photograph of Urska Sterle’s book, Vecno Vojno Stanje—An Endless Struggle—which depicts seven young, Slovenian lesbian women with exhausted faces sitting in front of their small cafĂ©, their lesbian gathering place, which had been firebombed in the night. They sit in a protective vigil with their dogs lying at their feet. On the wall of the charred building are the words, “Death to Queers.” 
   Next come three panels of butcher block paper on which I have attached headlines and sentences, largely from newspapers in the days before the conference. Bulletins of queer concern, of irony and trepidation: 
...“Australia Better Off After Same Sex Marriage”: “…one of our most historic events. Now, one year on, our country is better. Thousands of couples have married, there is more commitment and mutual responsibility, our social fabric is stronger and there is more love” (Wilson).
... “Australia Battler Party”—“Right Wing Party Wants Migrants Put on Bonds” (Jacks). 
...“Gay Brazil’s Fears—‘the gates of hell have been opened’” (Phillips): “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son. I’m not going to be a hypocrite: I’d rather my son died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache” (Lyons); “Where there is indigenous land…there is wealth…” (Sengupta). Words of the new Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro. 
...“Fringe Party Targets ALP Over Safe Schools”: “A glossy brochure claiming Labor is enforcing a school anti-bullying program that encourages young children to change their biological sex is being distributed to hundreds of thousands of Victorian homes…The colour leaflet, headlined ‘Stop Harming Our Children,’ attacks the Safe Schools program for its ‘dangerous agendas’” (Carey). 
...The Voices of Rise Up Australia and The Coalition Against Unsafe Sexual Education: “The newest most dangerous development in this program is to encourage children—separated from parental guidance—to act on impulse to ‘change’ their biological sex…” Translated into Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, and Greek. 500,000 copies distributed (Carey). 
...“Gay teachers ‘more acceptable far from school’”: “It’s not just a matter of one’s attribute—it’s what one does with it that makes a difference.” “The archbishop said schools did not care whether staff identified as gay, lesbian or transgender but were concerned about ‘the public nature of what someone might say’” (Koziol). 
...From Vashti’s Voice, No 1, 1972: “On International Women’s Day, March 8 1972, 2000 people marched through the Melbourne streets demanding women’s rights. This must indicate the enormous potential power of women’s liberation as only a few years ago the movement was virtually unheard of…Women’s liberation is no fixed organization with a rigid platform that its members must adhere to— it is a state of mind” (Vashti Collective, 3). 
...“No, the gender pay gap is not a myth…” (Irvine)
... “Vice Chancellors rail against ‘death of a thousand cuts’”: “I think universities are in a very precarious position—more precarious than  we have ever been.” Vicki Thomson, Chief Executive, Group of Eight. “Vice-chancellors are also reeling about a planned ‘national interest test’ for research grants…[to] preclude projects deemed to undermine Australia’s security, foreign policy and strategic interests.” (Koziol)
...  “Millions for LGBTI tourism, but no mention of Safe Schools”: “The state Coalition has promised if elected…to establish Victoria’s first LGBTI business roundtable to be chaired by the premier, provide $500,000 in funding to support Joy FM in becoming one of the first tenants in the Victorian Pride Centre to be built in St Kilda, as well as $50,000 annually to digitise archives and ‘preserve the history and role of LGBTI Victorians’” (Precel). 

On the central panel is The Uluru Statement from the Heart, an excerpt of which is as follows: Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial,’ and according to science more than 60,000 years ago. This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature,’ and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood. 

   Under it are these words by Bruce Pascoe: 
     "Many readers of the explorers’ journals see the hardships they endured, and are enthralled by their finds of grassy plains, bountiful rivers, and sites where great towns could be built;  but by adjusting our perspective by only a few degrees, we see a vastly different world through the same window. 

   Finally, a slide of a call to action by the New York Lesbian anti-Trump activist collective, Rise and Resist: 
   Rise and Resist is a direct action group. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. We are also, essentially, a grassroots direct action LABORATORY for democratic community-based change. Come meet with us, come find your activist people, come workshop your ideas, come find out where the action is already happening around your concerns for a democratic society. Come plug in. BRING your enthusiasm and commitment to making social change happen. GET support and training to be your best, most courageous self. FIND your voice. LOSE your fear. (Rise and Resist)
     On a small table, I stack the books that have informed my thinking for this time together: a living bibliography: Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country, the play based on transcripts (1881) created by Giordano Nanni and Andrea James (2013); tattered copies of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Written by Himself, (1845) (1960) and Albert Memmi’s The Colonizer and the Colonized (1965), my companions for over 40 years; Voices of Vashti Anthology: Melbourne Women 1972–1981 (1986); Collected Poems of Pat Parker (2016); Gay American History by Jonathan Katz (1976); Memory for Forgetfulness (2013) and Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone (2006) by Mahmoud Darwish, and Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe (2018). As Pat Parker remarks, “Books don’t say much about what I did but I was there and I kept moving” (1999).  

                                                         The Talk --Story One
     Just a moment to share with you—last week, on a very cold morning, white head bent low, 30-year-old red coat, buttoned tightly, pulling shopping cart with cane in the other hand, coming home from our Asian Taste take-away on Grantham Street with wonton soup for Di and me—my legs hurting. I start one way and then turn the other, a little confused—a young man perhaps in his early 40s steps aside to let me pass. I say, a little embarrassed, “Changed my direction.” And he says with a little laugh, “It’s your prerogative.” I, ever on the alert for a feminist moment, say, “For men and women.” He answers as I pass him, “I agree with you a 100%, Joan.” I stop short. “How do you know my name?” Now all drops away and I am looking into a smiling, gentle face. He says, “Joan, I know your work. I want to thank you for all you have done for us. My name is Lee, I transitioned some years ago, but I lived in New York for several years and heard you speak many times.” I stand a little straighter, so touched by this accidental meeting here on this struggling street in West Brunswick, with a cold wind snapping at our heels. Thank you, Lee.
  
    That this is a space where feminist and queer cultural workers share their histories, their public thoughts in the same place, that sex workers are welcomed as an integral part of our movements—how exciting, how necessary, how a sign of our awareness of the danger of the times. I want to thank you all for the caring you have given my work, since I became a part of your communities 18 years ago. All of us here, many of us from endangered peoples, together where we need to be, a very powerful corroboree. 
    This conference honours the founding of ALGA (Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives) at the Fourth National Homosexual Conference in 1978 and the vision of Graham Carbery who housed his refusal of historical exile in the specially-dug basement of his home. This is the time too for honouring the work of the women who founded the Victorian Women’s Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archives in 1983. I have an early memory of sitting with Jean and others deciding what to do with the collection that had taken over her home. I know this passion. Almost 50 years of pubic collecting of queer history—what will we do with it? What does it mean to have a history or histories; what are the critical intersections of all our stories? 
    "The colonized draw less and less from [their] past. The colonizer never even recognized that [they] had one: everyone knows that the commoner whose origins are unknown has no history. Let us ask the colonized: who are [your] folk heroes? [your] great popular leaders? [your] sages? At most, [they] may be able to give us a few names, in complete disorder, and fewer and fewer as one goes down the generations. The colonized seem condemned to lose [their] memory." (Memmi, 2003, 146–7)  (I changed Memmi's "He and his" to be more inclusive)
                                                                    Story 2

    It is a warm summer night in 1957. I am sitting in Tam Tam’s on Sixth and 8th in Greenwich Village—a grungy well-lit hole in the wall, bad coffee, but open to all the freaks—no need for IDs. The mirror lining its doorway often used by young lesbians to check their DAs, the favoured butch hairstyle of the day. This night it was only me and an older woman maybe in her 30s, I was 17 at the time, sitting diagonally across from me. I had been walking the Village streets, looking, yearning. I sip my coffee and then she speaks the words that gave me a world. “How are things over at the Colony, slow? But the night is still young.” My first public recognition, as a lesbian, as a queer. She had read me, she knew. I had never been to the Sea Colony, only heard of it as a tough, working class lesbian bar. I squared my shoulders and tried to sound knowledgeable—“Yeh—looks like it’s going to be a good night.” Before I was a lesbian, a fem, a feminist, I was a freak. 

     Legacy is a big word that can slide too easily into legitimate, into legalities, into lineages of power. Perhaps another remembering is what we choose to keep alive from the rawness of our beginnings, the ways of being that gave strength to get beyond the bleak, the limiting, the narrowing, the taken.  

                                                                     Story 3

In a conversation around the Lesbian Herstory Archives dinnerwork table in 1979, a Jewish woman in her 60s says, “I had a chance to read The Well of Loneliness that had been translated into Polish before I was taken into the camps. I was a young girl at the time, around 12 or 13, and one of the ways I survived in the camp was by remembering that book. I wanted to live long enough to kiss a woman.” 

Perhaps legacy is the shout of resistance from those not supposed to have a voice: "Things back then were horrible and I think that because I fought like a man to survive I made it somehow easier for the kids coming out today. I did all their fighting for them. I’m not a rich person. I don’t have a lot of money; I don’t even have a little money. I would have nothing to leave anybody in this world, but I have that—that I can leave to the kids who are coming out now, who will come out into the future. That I left them a better place to come out into. And that’s all I have to offer, to leave them. But I wouldn’t deny it. Even though I was getting my brains beaten up I would never stand up and say, ‘No don’t hit me, I’m not gay; I’m not gay,’ I wouldn’t do that… . (Matty, speaking of her life in the 1950s, (Davis and Kennedy).

 Perhaps it is a memory of dispossession, of a world taken away in a legal decision, in the service of the colonial illusion that the right to possession was a white European legacy, in the continued belief that “the tide of history” flowed in their service (Olney. The killing “blatant confidence,” as the Maori writer Linda Tuhiwai Smith has argued, “to see ‘others’ as tools” for their ascendancy (Pascoe 5). Legacies of arrogance, of a convinced right to power, to another’s home. 
   
    Can poems be legacies? Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, forced into a permanent absence from his own home, wrote: “The poem is what lies between a between. It is able/to illuminate the night with the breasts of a young woman/It is able to illuminate, with an apple, two bodies/It is able to restore,/with the cry of a gardenia, a homeland!” (Darwish, 110). 
  
      Are legacies cries from the centre that go unheard, can they be the refusal of a refusal? Is there a relationship between power and legacies, can a legacy be a plea to us to be more, to change the tides of history, to demand equities, to learn from the archives and to change them? 
     The archives must be a wild place—a borderless place, reflecting the anxieties of the present, questioning the certainties we called into being, because we were so sure we knew what we were seeing, who we were, who we wanted to be, certain of who and what endangers us, of where safety lies. Let our legacy be one of questioning our own blatant confidences. Power is coming our way; some nation states want to kill us, others court us. Now is the time to build our wisdoms of solidarity, our intergenerational listening, our appreciation for differences within our own communities turning away from closed borders. We all here have helped make the past, now we must with tenderness, integrity and community take on the future. 
    When I look over my 79 years, I bend in homage to three lifegiving forces: grassroots liberation struggles, communities of progressive thought, and always, our subversive bodies. Thank you all for listening one more time to this Bronx-inflected voice. I have learned so much under your Southern skies, histories that make me weep and solidarities that fill your streets and my heart. 
   Inclosing, KL, a new young friend from the Bootblack community I had met earlier at the conference, rose and read the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

                                                                   References 

   Carey, Adam. “Fringe party targets Labor, backs Coalition, over Safe Schools.” Age, November 11, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. .
    Darwish, Mahmoud. Memory for Forgetfulness: August. Beirut, 1982. London: U of California P, 1995. ——. Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? Brooklyn, NY: Archipelago Books, 2006. 
    Davis, Madeline D. and Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy. Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community. NY: Routledge, 1993.
    Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. [1845] Cambridge, MA.: Harvard U P, 1960. 
   Hall, Radclyffe. The Well of Loneliness. London, Jonathan Cape, 1928. 
Irvine, Jessica. “No, the gender pay gap is not a myth, and here's why it matters.” Sydney Morning Herald, November 15, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. < https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-andfinance/no-the-gender-pay-gap-is-not-a-myth-and-here-s-why-itmatters-20181114-p50g0e.html >.       Jacks, Timna. “Life coach with sights on upper house wants 10-year bond for migrants.” Age, November 15, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. 
   Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1976. 
Koziol, Michael. “'We are under assault': Major universities go to war with Morrison government over research cuts.'” Sydney Morning Herald, November 12, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. ——.
    “Gay teachers 'more acceptable far from school.'” Age, November 20, 2018, 11. 
    Lyons, Kate. “Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins presidential vote—as it happened.” Guardian, October 29, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
    Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. London: Earthscan publications, [1957] 2003.        Nanni, Giordano and Andrea James. Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies P, 2013. 
     Pat Parker:An Expanded Edition of Movement in Black. Ithaca: Firebrand Books, 1999. ——. The Complete Works of Pat Parker. Edited by Julie R. Enszer. Brookville, NY: A Midsummer Night’s, P, 2016 and Dover: Florida: Sinister Wisdom, 2016. 
   Pascoe, Bruce. Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture. Brunswick: Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation, 2014. 
    Phillips, Tom. “Brazil’s fearful LGBT community prepares for a ‘proud homophobe’.” Guardian, October 28, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/27/dispatch-saopaulo-jair-bolsonaro-victory-lgbt-community-fear.
     Precel, Nicole. “Millions for LGBTI tourism, but no mention of Safe Schools.” Age, November 18, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. .
    Referendum Council. Uluru Statement from the Heart. 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2019. 
    Rise and Resist. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
    Sengupta, Somini. “What Jair Bolsonaro’s Victory Could Mean for the Amazon, and the Planet.” New York Times, October 17, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
    Sterle, Urska. Vecno Vojno Stanje. Ljubljana: Vizibilija, 2010. 
   Vashti Collective. “Editorial.” Vashti’s Voice, No.1, 1972, 3. Vashti Collective. Voices of Vashti Anthology: Melbourne Women, 1972– 1981. Brunswick: Vashti Collective, 1986. 
Wilson, Tim. “A year after the same-sex marriage vote, Australia is a better place.” Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019. https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-year-after-the same-sex-marriage-vote-Australia is-a-better-place-20181114- p50fyw.html


























Friday, June 28, 2019

Thank you, Shebar, for getting this page back again. I will write more soon but here is my, our, dear Cello a few years ago. We said good-bye to him last week but like all who love and taste deeply of life, he will live. What times these are--50 years celebration of lesbian, queer, Pride in a city where Trump towers over all, in a country where yearnings for a better life drown in policed waters. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Words, Again

I have missed this little pocket of screen that some how feels it is just you and me, Joan as a writer in small places. Face book is the posting of my work, my projects, my sending on of calls to action and thank yous to all who live there. Here I am the the aging woman, the writer who never did another book but yet it feels as if I have never stopped writing. A 78 year old woman with yet another body mystery--a mass in my left lung that is not cancer, but a rare disease known as granulomatous inflammation--a word I cannot really pronounce. An autoimmune misreading, trying too hard to protect, it has created a hardness of cells that can be systemic but for now seems confined to my lung. The mysteries of the body misreading itself, a tenderness for its fallacies, when it errs on the side of protection. How human that all is--to create difficulties from too much vigilance.

I am still in Melbourne, still with Di, Cello still walks beside me, he and I slower, more crooked. We slant like Emily Dickinson's famous line, but I am afraid no truth seeps in. Other then the changing body, the changing abilities, the changing time one remains vertical. I am deep in helping to edit the Sinister Wisdom issue celebrating LHA's 45 years of existence along with wonderful LHA-ers: Red, Shawn, Morgan, Saskia, Deb, Maxine, Flavia. From 23,000 miles away, collaboration.
A Flame Robin, an Emblem of Passion, 2017, Anglesea, Australia

Like this pulsing heart of life, my heart, my head sometimes feels like bursting as I follow Trump's bellowing, the easy cruelties, the rush of money because Capitalism does not care who lives behind barbed wires or cocked guns-the overstatements of intent--I watch my NY Yankees, a daughter of the Bronx, I still am--and the the Boston Red Sox's sweat shirts assert "Do Damage"--not just simply win or do the best you can. The new Supreme Court Judge, a strange child man whose face pouts much like Trump's when he feels wrong done by, now a life time of power. Democrats demonized as the extreme left--we predicted this so many years ago when "liberal" became too scary for its progressive attachments--the center does not hold, it does not exist. But and the but is needed, we march, we get arrested, we write and create and vote and get others to vote and will never give up this resistance. 

I am very cold often and tired but books clothe me--my watercolor pencils take me into Cezanne's world, I miss my old friends and wish they were closer-- a kind of loneliness has been a companion my whole life, now intensified by this great distance from my historical home. I fool myself, this loneliness is in my bones.
A wonderful Visit with Morgan and Saskia, 2017

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Australian Reading List--How I Learned about My New Home, Compiled in 2008


"You were born here. I come for the first
time in my life: a sort of pilgrimage
to find some relic, read an earlier page
than the known text..."

From "Another's Childhood," by Gwen Harwood, as Miriam Stone

On my first extended visit to Melbourne in 1998, I hunted my partner's book shelves to read all I could about my new geography. I have never stopped my search for  Australian texts that would help me read this land, these histories. Here are a few books, some old, some new, that have given me insight and  pleasure. [Given out at my first Brunswick Library talk about home and exile.] 

Armstrong, Diane. The Voyage of their Life: The Story of the SS Derna and its Passengers, 2001.
Astley, Thea. It's Raining in Mango, 1987.
Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology, ed. Robert Dessaix, 1993.
Australian Short Stories,  ed. Kerryn Goldsworthy, 1983.
Bail, Murray. Eucalyptus, 1998.
Cornelius, Patricia. My Sister Jill.
De Kretser, Michelle. The Hamilton Case, 2003; The Lost Dog, 2007.
Gardner, Helen. Monkey's Grip, 1977.
Grenville, Kate. The Secret River, 2005; Searching for the Secret River, 2006.
Growing Up Asian in Australia, ed. Alice Pung, 2008.
A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia, ed. Michael Hurley, 1993.
Harwood, Gwen. Collected Poems (1943-1995), 2003.
Hazard, Shirley. The Great Fire, 2003.
Hewitt, Dorothy. Everything I could find. Wild Card: An Autobiography-1923-1958;Collected Poems, 1995; The Chapel Perlious, a play, 1972; Bobbin Up, 1959; The Toucher, 1992;Neap Tide, 1999. Wrote an essay on Ms. Hewitt's work for the American The Women's Review of Books. Honored to have spoken to her on the phone.
Hughes, Robert. The Fateful Shore.
Langford, Ruby. Don't Take Your Love to Town, 1988.
Miller, Alex. Journey to the Stone Country, 2002.
Modjeska, Drusilla. Stravinsky's Lunch, 1999.
Morgan, Sally. My Place, 1987.
Moorhouse, Frank. Days of Wine and Rage, 1980.
Park, Ruth. The Harp in the South, 1948Aand all else I could find of hers.
Patterson, Banjo. Collected Poems.
Prichard, Katharine Susannah. Coonardoo, 1929; N'Goola and Other Stories, 1959.
Summers, Anne. Damned Whores and God's Police: The Colonization of Women in Australia, 1975.
Temple, Peter. The Broken Shore, 2005.
Tsolkas. Christos. Loaded,1994; Dead Europe, 2005.
White, Patrick. The Tree of Man, 1955. I can still hear the creaking wagon wheels of the opening paragraph.
Winton, Tim. Cloudstreet, 1991.
Wright, Alexis. Carpentaria, 2006. An epic writer, not only of Australia but of the world. Her language is the living hope of the oldest people speaking, waiting, for a moved white heart.
Wright, Judith. Collected Poems, 1994; Half a Life-Time, 1999.

And so I started my 20 year sojourn in this wide brown land.



Earning My Keep, Melbourne, 2003

Many thoughts set off by Megan Marshall's Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast.  How do you begin another life in a different geography, what is the meaning of traveling and how does one earn this second chance. And so many other reflections and sadness too. My desk being put in order because two old NY friends, Morgan and Saskia, are coming for a three week visit. All my tumbled papers must be given some kind of order. One fell to the floor.

                                                                                                                 November 4, 2003
Dear Peter,*
I just wanted you to have a more formal sense of what I have been doing during my honorary fellowship in addition to my writing and research. Before I begin my list, I want to thank you and every one in the English Department, Cultural Studies and Creative Writing Programs that have so warmly welcomed me.
1. Met with students approximately once a week to discuss their work.
2. Reading with Andrea Goldsmith and Lisa Davis, "Writing Live," at the Lesbian and Gay Cultural Festival, Adelaide, November 2003.
3. Department slide show and talk, "Where Do Stories Come From: The Creation of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City," March 26, 2003.
4. Involved students in a public reading, "Personal Dispatches: Writers Confront War," Builders Arms Hotel, Melbourne, march 16, 2003.
5.Held small seminar in reading a text from my book, Persistent Desire, February.
6. Spoke at premiere showing in Australia of "Hand on the Pulse: The Life and Times of Joan Nestle," by Joyce Warshow, Sydney, February; Melbourne, ACMI Cinema, March 19th; Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, May 30-31.
7. Reading, "Beyond the Primary," Builders Arms Hotel, Melbourne, April.
8. Talk and slide show, "Images from the Margins," Victorian College of the Arts, Honors Seminar, May 14.
9. Co-facilitated Gender Workshop for the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, May 6.
10. Met with book club reading A Fragile Union, June 4.
11.Gave an hour lecture in Prof. Stiben's Gender, Sex and Power class, University of Melbourne, October 15.
12. Keynote speaker at the 25th anniversary dinner for the Australian Lesbian and  Gay Archives, October 25
13.Wrote essay, "Wars and Thinking" to be published in the American Journal of Women's History, spring, 2004.

I hope to have the opportunity to continue my contributions to the educational community at the University next year. Happy holidays,
                                                                              Joan Nestle

* Peter is my partner's brother who is a distinguished professor in the Univ. of Melbourne's English Department. No pay is involved in being an honorary fellow but my appointment did help me win the right to stay in Australia for six months, to be with Di. I was awed by the appointment and felt very much I had to deserve my time here. The reading against war came about after Barbara Bush banned the reading of American poets Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Muriel Ruckeyeser and others in a Washington D.C. literary event because she considered their work too anti-American.