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Journeys : Jun Jul 2011
My slice of the island Ben Walter Apoetr y festival unfolds in Launceston every year, one of the many reminders to southerners that Tasmania happens throughout the state, and not just in the capital city. It’s an October weekend full of readings from poets from around the world, w ith warm, appreciative audiences. At the festival last year, I was at one point described as a wilderness poet. It was difficult for me to understand why I immediately felt so fr ustrated. After all, isn't it obvious that that is exactly what I am? From the dolerite lifting up the Central Highlands to the way a certain wattle may appear in evening light, the natural world is constantly present in my writing. And not just mine; at my day job with Fullers Bookshop, there’s a huge range of titles obsessed with our landscape. The wilderness photography volumes, unearthing more and more images of the island. The shelves of popular field guides to flora and fauna, of bushwalking tracks, bike trails, 4WD routes. There’s debate about the histor y of environmentalism. There are novels and poems ref lecting on the Tasmanian wilderness experience. Why is it so ubiquitous? Certainly the environmental debates, whatever side we come down on, have thrust the natural world into our minds. We notice more detail about the objects we can name, we can be awake to the subjects that are spoken of by others. But I wonder if there’s something else. If it has something to do w ith the way the natural world seems conspicuously ours. So often our cities, our regional towns and even our relationships with others appear to be governed by the idea that life is happening elsewhere. In Melbour ne, or further afield, in the dazzling inter national centres. The places where our fr iends have moved to find work, our children to study. Federation Peak; The Blade and Cape Pillar from Tasman Island TourismTasmania&SarajayneLadaTourismTasmaniaandChrisBrayPhotography In Tasmania today 44 June / July 2011
Apr May 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011