A double issue from Island, no 93/94, at Hobart Bookshop last Tuesday (30th September); Sarah Day's last as poetry editor, James Charlton takes over next issue. The emphasis this issue: on environmental debate with essays by winners of a nature writing prize. Geoff Page reviews Adrienne Eberhard and Kevin Brophy, Pam Allen review Ouyang Yu - poetry, the judges report on the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize (won by Kathryn Lomer, runners up Susan Kruss, Sue Lockwood, Ronn Morris, other poetry including work by Andrew Sant, Diane Fahey, Peter Bakowski, John Kinsella and Hugh Tolhurst.
Island was launched by conservationist Peter Timms. Enjoyed his slant on eros being a missing element of the makeup of those in power. He began by recalling a dinner party where political discussion came up - of Howard, Bush, the refugees, clearfelling - saying he found the dinner conversation stimulating, with responses on the whole being mainly those of anger and despair (could particularly relate to despair). Then (he said) one woman, who'd previously been quiet, took advantage of a lull in the conversation, saying something along the lines of … I think those in a position of power … have no love in their lives. Those in a position of power are rarely allowed to express love of a kind that has no object, has no contingent - not a love that begins (not with certainty, as politics and big business rely on) but with doubt. One with wonder, delight, or even - to use another word - spirituality.
Timms quoted a line from Socrates, ('I know it's pompous to quote Socrates') - 'all I know is that I know nothing'
'You know how a line like that would go down in Parliament', Timms added.