23rd Novem­ber 2005


Dear Frieda,

Be­lat­edly — very be­lat­edly, I am re­ply­ing to your let­ter-poem, your epis­tle. I am work­ing on a book with the work­ing ti­tle First Meet­ings with Poets, and you’re the sub­ject of one of the chap­ters. And that got me to think­ing about text as the first and truest of meet­ings, that ‘in-per­son’ sup­ple­ments the poems, the emails... in­creas­ingly, and not the other way around. But then, whole friend­ships have been his­tor­i­cally con­ducted through let­ters — El­iz­a­beth Bar­rett, though she fi­nally met her close but dis­tant neigh­bour, Boyd, be­com­ing his scribe... At the mo­ment, for me, it’s all ne­ol­o­gisms. Oh, I did draft an ear­lier let­ter — god, it would be over two years ago now, not long af­ter re­ceiv­ing yours... iron­i­cally, I’d just got back from out­side Aus­tralia — there’s Aus­tralia, and then there’s ‘out­side Aus­tralia’ — as you know — when a hor­ren­dous ac­ci­dent (chop­pers, nu­mer­ous po­lice cars, even a crane to re­move steel rods that had bro­ken loose from a semi — we later heard it was the lo­cal MP’s wife who had been crushed un­der the ver­nichteten weight) caused

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