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George Town Tasmania
4 times in 4 posts
LANDSCAPES AND ELSEWHERES
My poetry has come to be defined by some things, some topics, to such an extent that it is simply unimaginable to contextualize my total oeuvre without recognizing the significance, the importance, of these subjects; the essence of my poetry is so much associated with this typical, prototypical, subject matter and so detailed in the particularities of description and definition that I construct, in the process of writing my poetry, a world, a home, a place, a mise en scene, where these topics invariably occupy locations in a physical and intellectual landscape and domain. These subjects appear again and again. For some readers this repetition will be tiresome, I’m sure.
I have made my home, my place of residence, in life in so many places, so many towns and houses where the sense of home did not exist before. It had to be created, recreated, again and again. I always had a mother, a father or both, a wife or children or both to help now, as I go about articulating, excavating, the archeology, the layers, of the myriad deposits that make up my memory. I’m not so sure I would have done a very good job of giving my life its text and context, if I had been on my own: a single man, a loner, alone and by myself in the vast and spacious landscapes of the two continents and dozens, indeed, 1000s of places I have come to inhabit for various lengths of time.
I would have found the task too lonely and immensely routine to do as good a job. Indeed, on the two occasions before each of my marriages, when I had the opportunity to live alone, I went for companionship and sex, marriage and the family over a solitary life-style. I may never have the opportunity again to live alone. In the meantime I will try and get the best of both worlds as I go through my 70s and 80s, if I last that long.
None of us are islands; we all tend towards insularity in some respects and sociality in others. That has been especially true of me since I retired. We also contain multitudes within us. I became very conscious of this internal diversity as the decades advanced in the 50 years before I retired(1949-1999), years filled with high levels of social interaction. Shakespeare says that we need to be able to people our solitude and know how to feel alone in a crowd. That is what I do now that I am in my seventies. These insularities and these social engagements are, it could be said, the countries of our soul, countries mostly unnamed and unknown. My poetry begins to name, to describe, these unknowns.
We all have, too, what Hugh Kenner calls ‘elsewhere communities’, places we travel to and things we do and think about to find out who we are. The traveler, the pioneer-travel-teacher absorbs this ‘elsewhere community’ into himself to become what defines him throughout life.1 -Ron Price with thanks to 1Hugh Kenner, Massey Lecture, 1997.
I have my own Grand Tour1 now,
my elsewhere community, my own
journey through what I know to
what I have yet to know; and when
the war is over I will go home.
1 In the eighteenth century the Grand Tour was the trip from some place in European civilization through Europe to Italy and Rome. This is no longer the Grand Tour. We all make our own now.
22/4/'06 to 8/1/'15.
married for 48 years, a teacher for 32; an internal and external student for 32, a writer and editor for 16, as well as a Baha'i for 56(in 2015)