The centre cannot hold… when it’s not really the centre

Rosemary Sorensen

Yeats’s glorious poem, The Second Coming, is often quoted, and unforgettable for its mysterious foreboding: “Things fall apart; The Centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”

When the Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, used Things Fall Apart as the title of his novel about Nigerian independence, it was symptomatic of the rich ambiguity in the idea that when something disintegrates there may be a release of a new form, another way.

Now, that sounds very grand to describe what happens when a social, political or cultural centre gives way to a different focal point, but put it this way: sometimes, things falling apart is not a bad thing. Like an orange breaking into segments of sweet and juicy fruit, falling apart may also be opening up.

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What makes a great festival?

Rosemary Sorensen

Each year, at Bendigo Writers Festival, we survey the audience, as well as participating writers and volunteers, to monitor what worked and what needs improving.

You can hear how things are going across the weekend, but it’s always interesting when people take the time to write down their responses, and it helps us with all the planning that goes in to the festival, not just the programming but all the organisational details.

This year, following the festival, August 8-10, the responses were collated, and we were given a very high rating on quality of presentations, on the variety of the sessions, on the friendliness and helpfulness of our volunteer staff (thanks!) and on the signage to venues.

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Meet… Bruce Oakman, poet

I’m Bruce Oakman. I live in Bendigo and I write poetry as ‘B N Oakman’. I was formerly an academic economist.

My most recent full length collection of poems, Second Thoughts (Interactive Press), was launched in October to a large and enthusiastic crowd at Castlemaine Art Gallery. It contains 51 poems. All of them, with the exception of the title poem, have been published in journals, newspapers or magazines in Australia or overseas.

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It’s not a furphy… this prize is fair dinkum

The Furphy Literary Prize is not widely known outside Shepparton, where it’s administered by the Shepparton Library in conjunction with the Goulburn Valley Writers Association.

We’re coming up to the 22nd year announcements – it’s actually a suite of prizes, for poetry and short story,  youth and open sections for poetry, junior, youth and open for the stories.

It was set up in 1993, at the 150th anniversary of Joseph Furphy’s birth, and the prize monies are provided by the Furphy Foundry, which was founded in Shepparton in 1910 by John Furphy.

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Honestly… online is easier than real

Julie Proudfoot comes clean about her fear of going public

I sit at a desk every day laying out words for a tome I might never find a home for. So, it’s difficult to imagine myself functioning in the real world, you know, where people have clocks, and shower in quick flash time.

So when my controlled disorder was high-jacked to attend a social media conference, I went into lockdown. Could I be dressed for public by 9:30am? I became Hugo Weaving in Little Fish, ‘I’m so un-fucking public!’

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