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Melbourne Writers Festival 2009 diary: words like triangles

By Angela Meyer - posted Wednesday, 27 January 2010

This post is a creative, experimental mash-up of personal experience plus one of the poems Bernhard Schlink read on Sunday 23 August in RMIT Capitol Theatre, in a session called “Pleasure and Pain: Poetry and the Body” at the Melbourne Writers Festival. The poem is called “Ballad of the Outer Life” or “Ballade des auBeren Lebens”, and is by Hugo Von Hofmannsthal. I stole the English translation from here.

Where do you look, during a poetry reading? Where do you look, during a poetry reading?

And the children grow up with deep eyes

I study the face, and hands. There is often a wobble, even in the chin of the experienced. I look at how old they are, the gap between their legs, the way their hair falls back into the same place or the glasses slip down and they unconsciously push them back, back. I often imagine them naked.

who know of nothing, grow up and die,

I walk up and down Swanston Street wanting an item of food, something sweet, and a corner where I can open my book before the event. The book is scary and it can’t be read in a jumpy place. I am frustrated by my own indecision on the food. Yoghurt? Cake (but only banana)? Chocolate? No. A fight. I am eating too much. I need vegetables. Just get a coffee. No. I have real hunger. And I’m craving something sweet. Probably my iron is low again.


and all people go their ways.

The walking is nice but the people are justgetoutofmyfuckingway. And my sister in a foreign city with the same frustrations.

And the bitter fruits become sweet

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First published in the author’s blog LiteraryMinded on August 25, 2009. Best Blogs 09 is run in collaboration with Club Troppo.

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About the Author

Angela Meyer is a Melbourne-based, Gen Y writer, reviewer and editor.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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