Thursday, September 20, 2007

Books, books, books

One of the fringe benefits of being a writer is that I seem to get constant deliveries of books. Not just the books we buy and read, but mysterious parcels that arrive in the post. Sometimes they're books by friends, usually poets; sometimes they're my own books (I have a shelf full of Pellinors!) and sometimes they're books to which I've contributed in some way.

In the past couple of days I've had two of those. One of them is an handsome orange paperback called Contemporary Australian Poetry, in which I have a poem. I'm not sure which poem it is - I contributed it along time ago - because I can't read a word of it: it's all in Chinese. It's edited by John Kinsella and Chinese-Australian poet Ooyang Yu, and translated by Ooyang. Translation is a mysterious business. In European languages, you might not understand the words, but you can still see the shape of the poem. In Chinese, I can't even see that - I just stare at the page in baffled admiration!

I can read the other book, though. This one is called The World of the Golden Compass, and it's a collection of essays on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, written by young adult authors (including not a few Australians, such as Juliet Marillier and Sophie Masson). It's edited by Scott Westerfield and put out by Ben Bella Books as a Borders exclusive. For that one, I wrote about the poetry Pullman used - there's a lot of it - thus combining two of my passions, poetry and fantasy. I loved writing that essay. The whole thing is a great read, so look out for it. (I think, though, that it's only available in the US).


Sophie Masson said...

Alison, as one of the contributors you mention, i just wanted to say hi! I loved writing my piece on the Golden Compass too--it really brought up some unexpected things for me! Great to be given a chance to really be expansive in an essay, isn't it..
i love the sound of your books too. must read them!

Steve Harris said...

Alison, I just ran across your fantasy series the other day at the store. Good for you! I had the pleasure of reading some of your poetry many years back (I loved the one on the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva) at the Alsop Review, and exchanged a few messages back and forth (though I doubt you would remember me). Anyway, to see a poet of your abilities is something I want to check out. For what it's worth, I've recently been reading the Paul Park series --Princess of Roumania. Here's a link to review in the Washington Post:

Best of luck to you!

-- Steve

Leslie said...

yay, scott westerfield!
I want to read the Golden Compass-sort of. Mom won't let me caus an atheist wrote it
so I sorta want to read it and I kinda don't
have you read anything by Scott Westerfield? My favorite trilogy by him is Midnighters

Hilary said...

Terribly sorry to be nitpicky, but it's Westerfeld, not Westerfield. Don't hurt me! I just like his stuff a lot and I know it would bug me if my name was misselled/mispronounced regularly (because everyone does it with his name, and mine as well. Stupid Hillary Clinton).