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2
Jun

#Play Waiting For Godot

 

Conclusion:

  1. Reading time: 1 hour 40 min
  2. Waiting for Godot  is theater of absurd.
  3. Beckett thought the audience
  4. …MUST feel what it is like to be in an ABSURD world.
  5.  Beckett used bizarre characters speak in what sometimes
  6. …appears to be illogical, banal, chit chat.
  7. One cannot read Godot for the story because there is no story
  8. Waiting for Godot does not tell a story
  9. It explores a situation….2 tramps..waiting for Godot.
  10. What are the abusrd characteristics?
  11. No plot, no recognizable characters, no beginnings no ends,
  12. …reflections of dreams and nightmares, incoherent babblings.

 

Last Thoughts:

  1. The only way to gain any insight is to
  2. read a summary before starting this play.
  3. I used this LINK at Free Online Dictionary website.
  4. This is an excellent summary.
  5. Waiting for Godot
  6. …left critics bewildered and is now a classic.
  7. Nr. 7 on List 50 Best Play in Past 100 yrs.
  8. I was absolutely dreading this play...
  9. Need #Heineken

 

 

 

 

29
May

#Play Noises Off by Michael Frayn

 

Introduction:

  1. The play has received two major Broadway productions and
  2. …numerous regional ones in the United States,
  3. United Kingdom, and  other countries in Europe and Asia.
  4. In response to its popularity, Frayn has continued to
  5. rewrite the play in the thirty years since he first wrote it.

 

Conclusion:

  1. For once a blurb has lived up to expectations
  2. …this is surely the funniest farce ever written!
  3. This play-in-a-play left me laughing out loud!
  4. Noises Off  (1982) by Michael Frayn.
  5. It is said to be one of the
  6. ...greatest comedies ever preformed on stage!
  7. Reading the introduction…and discover the first laugh!
  8. Prague: play performed without Act 3 for 10 years…
  9. NO one noticed until Frayn arrived for a show!
  10. The play is available on Kindle.
  11. Reading time: 2 hr 55 min
  12. Perfect poolside
  13. …reading this summer.
  14. #LOL

 

27
May

#Poetry Blakwork (title poem)

  • Author: Alison Whittaker
  • Title: Blakwork
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: @MagabalaBooks
  • Trivia: 2019 shortlist Victorian Premier’s Award Indigenous Writing
  • Trivia: 2019 WINNER Mascara Lit Review Avant-garde Award for literature
  • Trivia: 2019 shortlist ABIA Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters
  • Trivia: Review:  poem  Cotton On   (pg 15)

 

Cover:

  1. I was staring at the book  turning it front to back.
  2. Why the choice of a bird on the cover?
  3. Perhaps if you live in Australia  you know what it means.
  4. I had to find out more about the metaphor of a blackbird.
  5. Difficult to read….
  6. Origin of the term ‘blackbirding’:
  7. The term may have been formed
  8. …directly as a contraction of ‘blackbird catching’.
  9. Blackbird’ was a slang term for the local South Pacific indigenous people.
  10. It might also have derived from an earlier phrase,
  11. blackbird shooting’, which referred to
  12. recreational hunting of Aboriginal people by early European settlers

 

Title poem:      Blakwork  (pg 3)

  1. The sun rises 0530 am on this side of the world.
  2. No matter how hard I try…I’m wide awake at 0600 am.
  3. My eyes are not yet focused so I use a magnifying glass to
  4. …read the first poem in the chapter Whitework.
  5. Blakwork: 41 words that pack a punch.
  6. I didn’t realize that today (26 May) is #SorryDay in Australia
  7. This poem sums up the sentiment of
  8. …reconciliation from an other perspective.

 

  1. Type of Poem:  poet-in-conversation (present tense)
  2. Who is speaking?  Alison Whittaker the poet
  3. Who is ‘you’  in the poem?    White Australia
  4. Title:   Blakwork
  5. Australia’s slavery started because other countries abolished it.
  6. Aboriginal people were used in
  7. the pearling, sugar cane and cattle industries.
  8. They suffered terrible abuse and were denied their wages.

 

Conclusion:

  1. There is an energy…tension  in this poem.
  2. I tried to discover the  starting subject and
  3. …then the discovered subject in a poem.
  4. There is always a door to be opened the
  5. will lead you down another path
  6. …in this poem a ” cynical path”.

 

  1. Starting subject:
  2. blakfella works –> payment callous hands –> profit to white Australia
  3. Door: words   “white guilt”
  4. Discovered subject:
  5. Blakfella works –> payment now bound by contract (indentured)
  6. profit –> white Australia can have “soothing” feeling of reconciliation
  7. “nine to five forgiving you.”
  8. #powerful

 

 

BLAKWORK

  • Fresh blakwork; industrial complexes
  • hands with
  • smooth and flat palm callouses.
  •      Soothing re —
  •                         –conciliation
  • That dawdling off-trend meme
  • white guilt. To survive it; well,
  •      it’s naff to say, but compul–
  •                       –sory to do. Indentured blakwork, something like
  • nine to five, forgiv–
  •                      –ing you.

 

 

  1. Words I had to look up for a clear meaning of the poem:
  2. industrial complexes – (self-interest ahead of the well being of the Aboriginal people)
  3. dawdling – wasting time, idle, trifle
  4. meme –  behavoir
  5. naff – clichéd, unstylish
  6. indentured – bound by contract

 

26
May

#Non-fiction August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle

 

Introduction:

  1. August Wilson understood the power of the theater.
  2. He used it to its full potential by
  3. …inserting honesty and realism into every play.
  4. Some consider August Wilson “America’s Shakespeare”.
  5. August Wilson was an American playwright
  6. …who did the unheard of- penning ten plays.
  7. …one for each decade of the 20th C.

 

  1.  Wilson received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama:
  2.  Fences (1987), The Piano Lesson (1990)
  3. These 10 plays gives a glimpse into
  4. …American history through the
  5. …lens of the Black experience.
  6. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is a
  7. …series of critical essays about the plays.
  8. I have reviewed the first 5 essays
  9. …you can discover the rest of the book yourself!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Essays 1-6 were interesting
  2. Essays 7-13 …seemed to repeat many thoughts
  3. about two plays: Gem of the Ocean and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
  4. Weak point: the essays do  NOT explain all 10 plays
  5. One of the most famous play is Fences  NOT reviewed!
  6. It is considered  the African-American version
  7. ot The Death of a Salesman
  8. A few essays were very instructive about…
  9. Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  10. ….but still feel  that the book
  11. does not live up to my expectations.
  12. #Disappointed

 

Plays:

 

Essays:

1. The  emancipated century – J.H. Scott  ( 2 plays discussed) – easy to read

  1. Play: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone 
  2. Set in 1911… the play is about African Americans cut adrift  by
  3. The Great Migration to the North and by slavery from their African past.
  4. The  characters meet in a boarding house
  5. They represent a cross-section of  African Americans.
  6. The boarders are  in the midst of a
  7. …massive search for their “song,” or identity.

 

  1. Play: The Piano Lesson
  2. Set in 1936…this is a …
  3. Family conflict between Bernice and her
  4. …brother Boy Willie about the family piano.
  5. For Boy Willie the piano is a way to get some quick cash to buy land. 
  6. For Bernice, the piano is a source of strength.
  7. It reminds her of the courage and endurance shown by her ancestors.
  8. Boy Willie looks to the future
  9. …while Bernice looks to the past.

 

2. Situated identity in The Janitor (J. Zeff):  short essay about a play that is NOT in the cycle.

  1. The Janitor is a 1985  4 minute play.
  2. A janitor is someone society ignores.
  3. He is left to sweep the floor.
  4. The janitor gets an idea.
  5. …sees a microphone in an empty hall
  6. …and just starts talking.
  7. Messageidentity is a work in progress which is in your control,
  8. “…but what you are now ain’t what you gonna become.”

 

3. Two Trains Running (S. Saddler, P. Bryant-Jackson) – This essay did not appeal to me. SKIM!

  1. This was a  comparison of two books by
  2. American scholars Living Black History, M. Marable and
  3. The Archive and the Repertoire, D. Taylor.
  4. Where is the play?
  5. I noticed they referred to the play
  6. Two Trains Running  but do NOT review this play at length
  7. …so I decided to skim this essay and
  8. …investigate the Pulitzer Prize 1992 play on Wikipedia.
  9. I learned more on Wiki…than in his essay!

 

4. World War II History (E. Bonds) – excellent essay,  I learned a lot about the difficult period just after WW II.  Black men struggle to move on after the war. They feel they are not benefiting from the post WW II economic boom.  They feel like…they are still fighting.

  1. Play: Seven Guitars
  2. Set in 1948…
  3. …The play begins and ends after the funeral of one of the main characters.
  4. Events leading to the funeral  are revealed in flashbacks.
  5. The essay explains the 7 characters (7 guitars) and their
  6. individual out-of-tune chords (life experiences).
  7. What I did not realize was how important the boxer
  8. Joe Lewis was for the African American community.
  9. Wilson uses Lewis’s fame and downfall as an essential part of the play.
  10. It is so sad to read that  African American GI’s were fighting
  11. …on two fronts:
  12. the enemy overseas….and racism at home.

 

5. Stereotype and Archetype in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (M. Downing) – best explanation difference stereotype vs archetype I’ve ever read.  Excellent essay, lucidly-written, logically-structured, and convincingly argued.

  1. Play: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  2. Set in 1920s…the historic exploitation of
  3. black recording artists by white producers.
  4. The essay explains how August Wilson started with
  5. stereotypes assigned by whites to blacks in the play.
  6. Then he remakes them into archetypes.
  7. I would have missed this
  8. …completely by just reading the play!
  9. Wilson places the stereotype (ST) at the beginning of the play
  10. …adds monologues…adds POV of African American characters
  11. …draws the original ST (evokes criticism, suspicion, scorn)
  12. …into an archetype (evokes empathy, understanding, compassion)
  13. Example: Ma Rainey is introduced as
  14. ST: chaotic, unreasonable, difficult, a risk with the law
  15. Wilson breaks this ST into components and rebuilds Ma as
  16. AT: mother, queen, goddess
24
May

#Poetry Alison Whittaker “Blakwork”

  • Author: Alison Whittaker
  • Title: Blakwork
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: @MagabalaBooks
  • Trivia: 2019 shortlist Victorian Premier’s Award Indigenous Writing
  • Trivia: 2019 winner Mascara Lit Review Avant-garde Award for literature
  • Trivia: 2019 shortlist ABIA Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters
  • Trivia: Review:  poem Blakwork  (pg 3) (title poem)

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book consists of 15 chapters and 94 poems.
  2. I still am trying to learn how to read a poem.
  3. I am going to read a poem …then really try to figure
  4. …out what the message is…or what do I see in the poem.
  5. More of my reviews about these poems
  6. …will appear during the summer..in drips and drabs.
  7. These poems will take time to read.
  8. The author has put so much thought into her words
  9. …I don’t want to rush my reading

 

  1. Poetry does not need a story…that is not its function.
  2. That is why poems sometimes make people cringe!
  3. The reader speaks English, the poem is in English
  4. and still the  reader (me)  has no idea what it means.
  5. This will be my biggest poetry reading challenge.
  6. Just look at the way the poems sit on the page!
  7. I glanced through the book and see images, emojis,
  8. poems with unique shapes, punctuation and lists.

 

  1. I am not going to review them in lofty poetic terms
  2. …but just by asking myself some basic questions.
  3. What is the shape of the poem? Who is speaking?
  4. What images does the poet use? Allusions?
  5. How do they make me feel? Stumped or enlightened?
  6. I’m even going to read the poems to the cat
  7. …I need to hear the sound!

 

  1. Poems tells us the history of the human heart.
  2. All poets are struggling with the different things:
  3. loneliness, racism, gender roles, sexuality
  4. colonialism, family, class, history,
  5. …violence, culture, pleasure, joy.
  6. I’m eager to learn what Alison Whittaker….
  7. …is struggling with.

 

 

Poem:      Cotton On            (pg 15)

 

let’s compare hands              s t r e t c h

 

tendons wrists across            o c e a n s

 

 

 

 

 

 

here: a common                     wound.

 

Cotton On:

  1. My FIRST reading:  12 words  placed on the page leaving a 10×10 cm blank center page.  words describe hands ready for planting and harvesting. The key word is ‘oceans‘ referring to the overseas labor force that is used in this industry. The blank page could indicate a field that is planted with cotton seeds. TitleCotton On is perhaps a reference to seeds…starting.
  2. I then contacted the poet via Twitter:
  3. “I’m just starting to read poetry and I admit I don’t understand it after a first reading…so I re-read alot. Reading: Cotton on (pg 15) in Blakwork. May I ask…why the big open space in the poem? What am I missing! Thank you for your time #justasking”
  4. Reply  from  Alison Whittaker:
  5. “I try to not be too prescriptive with the poetry, but in Cotton on, the spaces denote the physical space across the pacific between communities wounded by cotton, and the act of stretching out to touch. it’s whatever you make of it!”
  6. My SECOND reading: Then I put my thinking cap on.
  7. Who was wounded by cotton?
  8. USA the slaves on the plantations.
  9. AUS the aboriginals who see their sacred rivers drying up.
  10. The aboriginals say:  “If there’s no river, where’s our culture?”
  11. The landholders (cotton farms) are pumping all the water out
  12. for irragation and water management.
  13. Now I see the connection in the poem.
  14. The slaves and aboriginals are stretching their hands
  15. across the Pacific Ocean.
  16. Both wounded by cotton.
  17. “The last line “here: a common wound.
20
May

#20BooksOfSummer 2019

  • I just love this photo from last years’s post #20BooksOfSummer 2018.
  • I’m using it again because it always makes me smile and
  • …I have the urge to make a  Gin & Tonic !

 

Read:

  1. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet READ
  2. The Glass MenagerieTennessee WilliamsREAD
  3. Waiting for GodotS. BeckettREAD
  4. Twenty-First Century American PlaywrightsC. BigsbyREAD
  5. The Mueller Report READ
  6. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of FreedomD. Blight – READ
  7. Stamped From the Beginning I.X. Kendi – READ
  8. The New Negro: The Life of Alain LockeJ.C. Stewart  – READ
  9. The ArsonistC. Hooper – READ
  10. HimselfJess Kidd – READ
  11. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle (13 essays) – editor S. Shannon #20BoS – READ
  12. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  – E. Ablee – READ  (play
  13. Noises OffM. Frayn – READ  (play)
  14. FencesA. Wilson – READ  (play)
  15. Streetcar Named DesireT. Williams – READ
  16. Blakwork – A. Whittaker – READ
  17. James Tiptree, jr. The Double Life Alice Sheldon – J. Phillips – READ 
  18. Ghosts of the Tsunami R. L. Parry READ
  19. Indecent (play) – Paula Vogel READ
  20. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – J. Boyne – READ
  21. The Coddling of the American MInd G. Lukianoff, J. Haidt – READ
  22. Astonished Dice – G. Cochrane (short stories) – READ
  23. We Can Make a Life – C. Henry – READ
  24. Seeing Yellow (poetry) – E. Bourke – READ  shortlist Irish Times Poetry Award 2019

 

Using this list for #20BooksOfSummer….

#Challenge read 50 Best Plays in the Past 100 Years:     12/50

  1.  Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller (Pulitzer 1949) – READ  (review)
  2.  Streetcar Named Desire – T. Williams – READ (review)
  3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? E. Albee (Pulitzer 1963 READ (review)
  4.  Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill  – READ
  5. Fences – A. Wilson – READ  (review)
  6. Angels in America: T. Kushner
  7. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett – READ  (review)
  8.  Pygmalion (1913) by George Bernard Shaw
  9.  A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry READ  (review)
  10.  Our Town (1938) by Thornton Wilder
  11.  Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) by Luigi Pirandello
  12. The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams – READ (review)
  13. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet – READ  (review)
  14. August: Osage County (2007) by Tracy Letts
  15.  True West (1980) by Sam Shepard READ  (review)
  16.  The Iceman Cometh (1946) by Eugene O’Neill
  17.  Look Back in Anger (1956) by John Osborne
  18.  A View from the Bridge (1955) by Arthur Miller – READ
  19.  The Little Foxes. (1939) by Lillian Hellman
  20.  The Real Thing (1982) by Tom Stoppard
  21.  Master Harold and the Boys (1982) by Athol Fugard
  22.  The Homecoming (1965) by Harold Pinter
  23.  Ruined (2008) by Lynn Nottage (2009)
  24.  Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) by Bertolt Brecht
  25.  Six Degrees of Separation (1990) by John Guare
  26.  Doubt (2004) by John Patrick Shanley
  27.  Top Girls (1982) by Caryl Churchill
  28.  Present Laughter (1942) by Noel Coward
  29. Noises Off – M. Frayn – READ  (review)
  30. Marat/Sade (1964) by Peter Weiss
  31.  The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001) by Martin McDonagh
  32.  Machinal (1928) by Sophie Treadwell
  33.  The Norman Conquests(1973) trilogy by Alan Ayckbourn
  34.  The Bald Soprano (1950) by Eugene Ionesco
  35.  M. Butterfly (1988) by David Henry Hwang
  36.  The Dybbuk (1920) by S Ansky
  37.  Saved (1965) by Edward Bond
  38. Topdog/Underdog (2002) by Suzan-Lori Parks 
  39. The Front Page (1928) by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
  40. Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) by Dario Fo.
  41. Picnic (1953) by William Inge
  42. Journey’s End (1928) by R.C. Sherriff
  43. The Odd Couple (1965) by Neil Simon
  44. The Orphans Home cycle – 3 one act plays by Horton Foote (masterpieces!)
  45. The Women. (1936) by Clare Boothe Luce
  46. What The Butler Saw (1969) by Joe Orton
  47. Awake and Sing! (1935) by Clifford Odets
  48. The Piano Lesson (1987) by A. Wilson
  49. Uncommon Women and Others (1977) by Wendy Wasserstein
  50. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson*

 

19
May

#Poetry Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

 

Introduction:

  1. I’m reading this book very slowly.
  2. I will review a few poems at a time
  3. because I want to give each poem the attention it deserves.
  4. I loved the explanation I learned in
  5. “How Does a Poem Mean?
  6. …about the beauty of poetry and
  7. …the technical sources of this beauty...
  8. by John Ciardi (1916-1986)  who was a
  9. poet, professor Harvard, Rutgers University.
  10. “Greeting cards are pretty…no card is beautiful.”
  11. In Ciardi’s book he teaches the difference between
  12. pretty (greeting card)….and beautiful (poetry)

 

Comments after my first reading of all the poems in the train:

  1. I read all the poems…could not find any emotional ‘feeling’
  2. with this collection.
  3. I was so disappointed and was about to give this book a 2 score.
  4. Then I told myself…go to bed…sleep on it.
  5. Poet Laureate USA, graduate of Harvard,
  6. …studied with the eminent Helen Vendler (see Google)
  7. and professor at Princeton University
  8. …Smith  MUST be doing something right.
  9. I’m just to blind to see it!
  10. I start a re-read of each poem today!
  11. #GiveBookAChance

 

 

Garden of Eden (1 stanza 25 lines)

My reaction: (….personal poem)

  1. Poem describes Smith’s joy of shopping in local Brooklyn Market.
  2. After some research
  3. …a critic claims she is commenting on capitalism in USA.
  4. What?
  5. Is it me…or do pundits go out of their way and try to find the most
  6. erudite explanation for every poem.
  7. The girl just likes some retail therapy…we all do!
  8. Smith mentions:
  9. “Where I seldom shopped,
  10. Only after therapy”.
  11. Shopping in an European Market store…
  12. filled with warmth, abundance and
  13. baskets of colorful and fragrant vegetables and fruit
  14. …foreign cheeses, glossy pasteries,
  15. teas, coffees.
  16. This  “Garden of Eden…is the BEST therapy
  17. Close reading of language:
  18. oxymoron “desolate luxury”
  19. alliteration: “bag of black beluga lentils…”
  20. Assonant rhyme – rhyming of vowels iwith different consonants.
  • “Everyone I knew as living
  • The same desolate luxury
  • Each ashamed of the same thing
  • Innocence and privacy.”

NOTE:

  1. I am unable to discover the hidden meaning of a poem
  2. without the help of  pundits and critics.
  3. In this poem…one sees a message about capitalism
  4. the other see a strong Biblical allusion…I see the
  5. therapeutic  effect of retail-therapy!

 

The Angels (10 stanzas, 40 lines)

My reaction:  (difficult poem to process…..)

  1. The first 5 stanza’s described
  2. 2 angels in speaker’s motel room.
  3. (clothes, their smell, playing with deck of cards)
  4. They even speak!

 

  1. “Quake, then fools, and fall away
  2. What God do you imagine we obey?”
  3. Annunciators of death?
  4. “Emissaries for something I needed to see.”

 

  1. In the last 3 stanza’s are mentioned tree, branches,rain, wind
  2. boulders, mounds of earth, rust-stained pipe
  3. …and “Bright a whorl so dangerous and near”.
  4. Whorl: form that coils, swirls, spirals…..( metaphor for death?)
  5. #Stumped…but trying hard to understand the poem!

 

Conclusion:

  1. My problem I was looking for an object
  2. ….and missed the idea
  3. …inspired by her teacher Lucille Clifton at Columbia University.
  4. Smith was letting strange poems come to her,
  5. as if from outside her own mind —
  6. poems that were telling her about the future.
  7. This conclusion is absolutely
  8. …not apparent by just reading the poem.
  9. I had to do some research about The Angels
  10. …otherwise I’d still be stumped!
  11. Smith was still trying to work though a period of
  12. grief  after losing her mother.
  13. In a class Smith learned from teacher Lucille Clifton
  14. ..to let other voices reach her.
  15. Clifton had just lost her husband and was intimating
  16. …that her dead husband was not exactly dead.
  17. Tracy Smith recalls:
  18. “I remember her saying that there is energy all around us,
  19. communicating with us — if only we could listen,”
  20. In this poem Smith is
  21. indicating a rock (boulder), tree swaying
  22. in the wind, rust-stained pipe…an owl
  23. …are trying to communicate with her.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. It took me a week to read 32 poems.
  2. Part 1 and Part 3:  are more personal
  3. …accessible but still you need to research
  4. reviews on internet and Tracy K. Smith’s back round
  5. to understand the meaning hidden in layers of language.
  6. Part 2: These are called founded poems and erasure poems
  7. (see Google). Smith uses documents, letters   written by
  8. black African Americans during the Civil War period
  9. …husbands writing wives, soldiers requesting their  pension etc.
  10. #MyJourneyInPoetryContinues

 

18
May

#AWW2019 Maxine Beneba Clarke

 

Introduction:

  1. I needed to share
  2. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s poem on my blog.
  3. There is something so rewarding in this poem
  4. if you are willing to
  5. let go of what you already know.

 

Ritual

We’ll go cardboard-boothed

  to the primary schools

community centres

  and the churches to boot

 

and friendly neighbours

  ideologically opposed

will avert their eyes

  as they fold up their votes

 

Last thoughts:

You want a poem to unsettle something…

  1. Maxine Beneba Clarke has done it
  2. ..about Australian elections 2019
  3. There’s not a word wasted in these clean, spare lines.
  4. We could use this poem for elections all over Europe!
  5. You can read THE ENTIRE POEM  HERE
  6. Thank you @slamup 

 

 

 

18
May

#AWW2019 Lesley Williams

  • Author:  Lesley and Tammy Williams
  • Title: Not Just Black and White
  • Published: 2015
  • Genre: indigenous issues non-fiction
  • Trivia: 2016 Queensland Premier’s Award work of State Significance
  • Trivia  2014 David Unaipon Award Winner
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters

 

Quickscan:

  1. This is a writing collaboration between
  2. mother (Lesley) and daughter (Tammy).
  3. Lesley Williams was forced to leave the
  4. Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement
  5. …at a young age to work as a domestic servant.
  6. Lesley never saw her wages.
  7. They were kept ‘safe’ by the government.
  8. This book relates her nine-year journey for answers:
  9. where is all that money she earned?
  10. Lesley confronts the government
  11. …in a judicial wrestling match!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Mrs Williams describes her youth
  2. while giving the reader a clear mental image
  3. of the backdrop Cherbourg settlement.
  4. It was difficult to read about her life
  5. under  cruel Protection Act that uprooted
  6. thousands of Aboriginal people.
  7. because of her strong character and vision
  8. she was able overcome many hardships.

 

  1. There were several messages in the book that
  2. resonated to me:
  3. Williams feels a strong sense of Aboriginal community. (safety network)
  4. Williams struggles to fight injustice (racial, financial)
  5. Williams reminds all people who suffer racism…

 

  1. Best quote:
  2. “There are two ways to fight racism:
  3. — fight with your fists
  4. — fight with your talents and achievements”
  5. Nothing hurts a racist more
  6. …when they see you achieving

 

Last thoughts

  1. Good literature unnerves you…..
  2. …or takes you somewhere to consider things
  3. ….things that you might not have considered
  4. thinking about before.
  5. This book took me into the Cherbourg Settlement.
  6. It showed me the strength of family…
  7. that remained unbroken for Lesley Williams.
  8. It has only been in the last generations
  9. …that Aboriginal writers have been published.
  10. They now are  able to tell their stories, their truths.
  11. #ReadDiversity

 

17
May

#NSW Premier’s 2019 Special Award B. Boochani

  • Author: B. Boochani
  • Title: No Friend But The Moutains
  • Published: 2018
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #NSWPLA
  • @MacmillianAus
  • @Picadorbooks
  • Trivia:
  • A special award of $10,000 was made to
  • Manus Island refugee Behrooz Boochani
  • for his book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.
  • Boochani’s book was ineligible for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
  • which require authors to be Australian citizens.
  • Trivia:
  • The book won the top prize at the
  • Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in January 2019.
  • This year was an exception made to the eligibility requirements.

 

Introduction:

  1. Prison literature is always a difficult read.
  2. For instance the Pulitzer Prize Winner History 2017
  3. Blood in the Water  by H. Thompson (worth your reading time!)
  4. But it is necessary to know the disturbing truths
  5. ….that are not always in the news.
  6. Boochani’s book was not a pleasure to read.
  7. I persevered to force myself out of my comfort zone.
  8. My review is in fragments.
  9. I could not add any commentary to this
  10. confrontational book.
  11. According to PEN International
  12. “Manus Island has become notorious for its
  13. …ill-treatment of detainees where violence,
  14. sexual abuse and self-harm are reportedly common.
  15. No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison
  16. is an autobiographical account
  17. …of Boochani’s  perilous journey
  18. from Indonesia to Christmas Island and thence to Manus.
  19. He  tells of what life is like for the detained men.
  20. #LiteratureDoesHavePower

 

Conclusion:

0-25%:
The trip to Manus (ch 1-4)
Boochani enters Manus Prison (ch 5-6)

25% – 60%:

  1. Once a concept is mentioned
  2. it is repeated over and over
  3. …again for several paragraphs:
  4. stench of hairy man’s breath (ch 7)
  5. smell of putrid soil
  6. fans
  7. mosquitos
  8. rooms
  9. pissing
  10. filthy toilets
  11. distress caused by saying ‘hi’
  12. bellowing of profanities
  13. prison becomes hive of killer bees
  14. prisoners become wolves…threat to everyone else
  15. Generator (cuts off water and electricity)
  16. ….manipulates minds

 

Queuing for food (ch 8)

  1. everything is micromanaged and mechanical
  2. meat is like pieces of car tyre
  3. guards like shepherds guiding a herd of sheep
  4. Nicknames: the Cow…first one entering dining area
  5. starvation has a smell…
  6. officers and cooks work 2 week shifts
  7. …then leave the island to be replaced
  8. answer to all the prisoners question:
  9. …”The Boss has given orders.”
  10. queue in the telephone room

 

Father’s Day…men struggle for the telephone (ch 9)

  1. …this leads to bruises and bodily harm.
  2. power of biceps can determine many situations
  3. distributing cakes….devoured right off the cardboard
  4. …mayhem but Boochiani does not move.
  5. …he knows “I am an animal that has already lost the game.”

 

60-100%

  1. I am a child of war. (ch 10)
  2. Boochani describes the guards crushing a unruly prisoner.
  3. This chapter reminds me of a mind becoming unhinged.

 

It’s hard to discern a genuine smile…  (ch 11)

  1. Toothache…terrible pain…worse treatment!
  2. Self-harm in the prison becomes a cultural practice.
  3. When prisonor spills his blood he appears to enter into ecstasy.
  4. It is a moment emitting the scent of death.
  5. According to Boochani every prisoner must
  6. …look out for the prisoner standing next to him.
  7. The most important thing is they must challenge the
  8. Kyriarchal System of the prison.
  9. …Kyriarchy is a system that creates webs of privilege and exclusion.

 

Revolt in Mike Prison…August 2014. (ch 12)

  1. Death of Reza…the gentle giant.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Despite winning the prestigious
  2. New South Wales Special Literary Award 2019
  3. with a prize worth $10.000 dollars
  4. Boochani may not leave Manus Island
  5. …and his future is unknown.