The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

ROSE­MARY Neill’s over­view of the state of po­etry pub­lish­ing ( Re­view , July 7- 8) claims that by the end of the 1990s canon­i­cal po­ets such as Ju­dith Wright and Les Murray were ‘‘ tem­po­rar­ily pub­lish­er­less’’. This is false. Wright has been con­tin­u­ally in print, ei­ther through my pub­lish­ing her Se­lected Po­ems from 1996, or by HarperCollins pub­lish­ing her Col­lected Po­ems. Tom Thompson ETT Im­print, Syd­ney, NSW PUB­LISH­ERS say they don’t pub­lish po­etry be­cause the pub­lic doesn’t read it. Yet given the ap­par­ent resur­gence in the pop­u­lar­ity of po­etry, de­scribed in Rose­mary Neill’s ar­ti­cle, isn’t this pub­lish­ers’ lament tan­ta­mount to ad­mit­ting the fault might be their own; that what po­etry they do pub­lish is not what the pub­lic wants to read? But is such po­etry not be­ing writ­ten? Well, maybe not by those the ar­ti­cle de­scribed as ‘‘ aca­demic po­ets’’ and those who im­i­tate them, but prob­a­bly by a le­gion of ( ob­vi­ously un­pub­lished) po­ets who still re­mem­ber their fun­da­men­tal three Rs — rhyme, rhythm and rea­son — and whose po­etry would res­onate with the pub­lic that would then buy it. John R. Sabine Hazel­wood Park, South Aus­tralia AS Bruce Dawe is re­garded by many as Aus­tralia’s un­of­fi­cial poet lau­re­ate, he should rate a men­tion in any dis­cus­sion about the pub­lish­ing his­tory of Aus­tralian po­ets. His best- known work, Some­times Glad­ness , has been set in schools and univer­si­ties across the coun­try since the first edi­tion ap­peared in 1978, thus ob­vi­ously boost­ing sales. Nev­er­the­less, to sell 120,000 copies of a book of po­etry ( a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate of sales of Some­times Glad­ness , now in its sixth edi­tion) is re­mark­able by any stan­dard. In­ci­den­tally, those en­gaged in the po­etry re­vival to which Rose­mary Neill refers could have no bet­ter ex­am­ple than Dawe, one of Aus­tralia’s first, highly suc­cess­ful, per­for­mance po­ets. Stephany Evans Steggall Kal­bar, Queens­land QUITE apart from word of mouth, the rea­son for the suc­cess of The Lives of Oth­ers with cin­ema- go­ers ( Re­view , July 7- 8) was its per­fect end­ing. There was a point in the de­noue­ment that Hol­ly­wood may have cho­sen, but di­rec­tor Flo­rian von Don­ners­marck skil­fully en­hanced the poignancy of the film to present us with the un­for­get­table fi­nal re­sponse. My tears welled even more the sec­ond time I saw it. To fur­ther il­lus­trate his hu­man­ity, on re­turn­ing to Ber­lin, von Don­ners­marck pre­sented the pupils in his chil­dren’s kinder­garten with plas­tic sil­ver Os­cars. Louise Lus­combe St Ives, NSW NEVER hav­ing watched McLeod’s Daugh­ters , I was be­gin­ning to think I was miss­ing some­thing when I read David Kennedy’s re­view, ‘‘ Pros­per­ous prog­eny of sun and fan­tasy’’, which ad­vised the show had been pur­chased by more than 230 coun­tries. A re­mark­able Aussie prod­uct in­deed be­cause ac­cord­ing to my ( up- to- date) fact- finder the world con­sists of 208 coun­tries. More a case of sum and fan­tasy, I think. Ted Fu­gler Too­goolawah, Queens­land

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