In response to popular demand, ie two people have said it would be kind of nice, and as a late gesture to Australia Day, I here reprise the Australian Literature meme I made up and posted over at A Fugitive Phenomenon shortly after I took up blogging. It's been tweaked a bit, but most of my answers are the same as they were in December 2005 -- nice to think there are some things I'm consistent about.
AUSTRALIAN LIT MEME
1) Which Australian poem are you most confident you could recite from memory?
Gwen Harwood's 'Suburban Sonnet' -- only because Robyn Archer set it to music and I used to have the album ('Wild Girl in the Heart', title taken from a Dorothy Hewett poem). We're talking vinyl here.
2) Which of the Seven Little Australians are you?
Bunty. No question.
3) Which is your favourite Patrick White novel?
The Eye of the Storm.
4) Which is the best Patrick White novel?
Gah. Um -- A Fringe of Leaves or The Tree of Man, I think. [UPDATE: I don't know what I was thinking about here. Clearly the answer to this question is Voss.
5) Which Australian fictional/dramatic/poetic character do you fancy most?
There's a sailor in a Dorothy Hewett poem called 'Go Down Red Roses' that I always rather liked the sound of.
6) And which do you identify with most?
Shannon in Ride On Stranger.
7) If you had to read five Australian poems to a heterogeneous unknown audience, which five would you choose?
John Shaw Neilsen's 'The Orange Tree', Gig Ryan's 'If I Had a Gun', all of Kenneth Slessor's 'Five Bells', all of Les Murray's 'The Buladelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle', and all of Judith Wright's 'The Shadow of Fire: Ghazals' ("There's altogether too much I know nothing about.").
And I'd allow breaks for meals.
8) Which five Australian books would you take to a desert island?
Voss, Come In Spinner, Carmel Bird's Penguin Century of Australian Stories, David Marr's bio of P White, Nadia Wheatley's ditto of Charmian Clift. This is about memory -- these are the books that would elicit the greatest breadth, depth and variety of memories to contemplate as I sat on the beach getting skin cancer.
9) If you were a guest at Don’s Party, would you be
(a) naked in the pool
(b) upstairs having sex
(c) outside having sex
(d) sulking with a headache
(e) huddled round the TV
(g) more than one of the above (please specify)
(h) other (please specify)
(g), namely (d), (e) and (f) -- I'd be huddled round the TV with a headache, sulking and crying.
10) Tim Winton or Christos Tsiolkas?
Gotta be Christos.
11) Banjo Paterson or Henry Lawson?
Gotta be Henry.
12) Henry Lawson or Barbara Baynton?
Gotta be Barbara. The blacker of two options, every time.
13) What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen at a writers’ festival?
Edmund White saying to a fellow-panelist as they climbed onto the stage to do their thing: 'What is it that we're supposed to be talking about?'