A New Year in the Melbourne Literature Seminars

Happy new year, everyone. I hope the holiday season passed both pleasantly and peacefully for you all.

Just some quick tidings about what’s coming up in the MLS. Not a lot, I’m afraid, at least not at first. I am stuck into a number of writing and getting-published projects that will demand a lot of my attention still. This may be a big year for me that way, but there’s heaps to do.

That said, I want, as I was saying last year, to keep the Refectory sessions going. The ongoing session will meet, as it has been, at 1pm on Wednesdays, beginning Wednesday 23 January. The first two sessions (23 and 30 January) will meet in fourth-floor Rm 4.2. After that we’ll be meeting in first floor 1.2 (from 6 February). The Refectory Sessions, for those of you who don’t know, are one-hour sessions in which we discuss poetry (modern Australian, at this point) which I provide each week in a handout. Each session costs $10.

A little later in the year, I’m thinking of using my backlog of Refectory handouts to start up a second session that will work through the texts the first session has already looked at. I’m open to suggestion but thinking of making that a Friday 1-2pm session. If you think you’d like to come and would be able (no commitment necessary, just an expression of interest), could you let me know in reply to this email? I know there were a number of individuals who wanted to attend but couldn’t make the Wednesday sessions. If I have a rough idea of how many might come on Fridays, I can (soon!) think about an appropriate Ross-House room to book.

All the best for the year to come!


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By The Pricking of My Thumbs

An attempt to explore the deep psychology of the Trump phenomenon, by way of Harold Bloom’s notion of the American sublime. Not exactly happy reading, but I didn’t feel I had much choice. Published in Arena Magazine no. 157 (December 2018). All comments welcome

Ahab points to (what else?) a gold doubloon. Remind you of anyone?

By the Pricking of My Thumbs

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Mix Equal Parts Dr Johnson and Ambrose Bierce

Add a little sulphur, and you get something like the following pastiche of The Devil’s Dictionary.  Enjoy as you will . . . from Arena Magazine for September.

At the Dean's Office

‘Do you know how to use PowerPoint, Mr Mephistopheles?’

Devil’s Dictionary Supplement

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And a Good Time Was Had by All

Many thanks to Maria Dahvana Headley, the Melbourne Writers Festival and the fabulous audience (and my friends and family among them!)  for helping to make our discussion of her novel, The Mere Wife, such a joy.

photos by Bec DiNapoli

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Eal is læne


Or, in modern English (sort of), ‘All things must pass’.  The old site of Flinders Books, where once I passed myself off as a bookseller, has reverted to form (after a fashion) from a Bon Bon Bakers to a Book Grocer pop-up.   There’s always the bad puns about the Book Grosser, I suppose.

Selfie in situ by a portly bookseller. It was a very cool shop.

After. ‘Oh brave new world, that has such remainders in’t”. Publisher’s leftovers. Next stop, the pulp mill.

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The Melbourne Writers Festival Update

The session I’ve been asked to participate in, which centres on Maria Dahvana Headley’s modern adaptation of Beowulf, a novel titled The Mere Wife, will be taking place in a different venue than first publicised.  Here’s the program entry:

Maria Dahvana Headley: Beowulf

Adaptations of literary classic Beowulf span both page and stage. Maria Dahvana Headley interrogates her contemporary adaptation set in American suburbia, The Mere Wife, with lecturer and wordsmith Robert DiNapoli as they muse together on the beauty of language.

3:30 PM


Mission to Seafarers Chapel

717 Flinders Street



The ship pulpit

The Mission to Seafarers

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Some New Shots of New Me

Man at work

East Village, 2017

No prizes for guessing! No one told me to jump.

Some not so new!  But the me is . . .

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A Few More Poems for Arena Magazine

A trio of shorts in Arena Magazine


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The Melbourne Writers Festival: Update

Here’s a schedule-update for the panel-discussion of the new Beowulf-inspired novel by Maria Dahvana Headley,  The Mere Wife, on which I will be a contributor.  It will happen in ACMI Cinema 1 at Federation Square, Sunday 26 August at 10 am.

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The MLS Refectory: One-Off Cancellation

The upcoming session for Wednesday 6 June has been cancelled, because I have an out-of-town teaching  commitment.  Apologies for any disappointment or inconvenience, but we’ll be back to our usual weekly schedule from Wednesday 13 June, at our usual time and place:

1-2pm, Ross House, second floor room 2.1

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