Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Ron Davidson on the poetry of Mark Reid

Ron Davidson was born into a Perth newspaper family and served his time as a journalist. Ron lectured in Psychology for twenty years and published academic papers before rediscovering the family knack of storytelling. Three books appeared, rich in the lives and times of their varied subjects. Meanwhile Ron was having a love affair with Fremantle during his thirty years in a heritage house there. He accumulated stories and characters and places, and the result, Fremantle Impressions, has been hailed as a new way of writing about cities.

Here’s what Ron had to say about his favourite poetry: ‘It is not every day that a mug who failed first-year English three times at the University of Western Australia is asked to name a favourite poetry book; and why. Here I am and Mark Reid’s book Parochial is my favourite. Mark is a Fremantle poet with the common touch. He writes accessible poems about riding his bike to work, growing a perfect tomato, Hampton Road horrors of a sheep truck, oral sex in beach sand. But he writes best as a mop man in the geriatric ward at Fremantle Hospital. This is where my favourite poem ‘Johnno’ happens. Johnno is a stroke victim who swears incessantly. Fuckin this & fuckin that: but he doesn’t want to swear. It is very sad and very funny.

A Difficult Faith is Mark’s later and more difficult book. ‘Goddess: Fremantle Love Song’ describes the faces in waiting you see in port queues, at bus stops and around supermarkets. For what is the Goddess waiting? Perhaps the attention of reader as porn star? Eventually, She is limp & exhausted. / I am aroused.’

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