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.