Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Buying Books That Are Cheap Treasures

‘This is the best bookshop in town,’ I said to the librarian as I handed over the money for my armful of $1 discarded books. To my friend I said, ‘Look what I found — how can they throw these out?’

First I spotted the Collected Poems of John Forbes (Aussie poet much admired by his peers, deceased untimely some years ago ... omigosh, 17 years already!) closely followed by Handwriting: Poems by Michael Ondaatje. Two treasures already! Then a play by Alan Bennett, The Habit of Art, about an imagined meeting between Benjamin Britten and W. H. Auden. Yes I know it’s better to see plays than read them, but some are very readable too, and Alan Bennett’s a genius. Also I am unlikely ever to have an opportunity to see this one performed.

Then there was The Way Forward Is With a Broken Heart by Alice Walker, memoir and short stories in one volume. (Been loving Alice Walker for decades, but these I haven’t read before.) And a book of poetry, Duty, by an Aussie I had not heard of, Geraldine McKenzie. I had a good browse of it first — I’m fussy about my poetry — and there’s some lovely stuff in it, spine-shivering in a good way. (I expect a lot of you will say you coulda told me that, and where have I been not to have heard of her? Far away from big cities and poetry hubs for 20+ years, is where.) Then I found the complete plays of Wilde, and then the complete plays of Marlowe.

I hope they are getting some good new stuff in the literature section to replace these goodies and justify discarding them. Yes, it’s my gain, but the community’s loss. 

I grabbed The Feminist Companion to Literature in English as a present for someone and, for me again, a SERIOUS biography of Diana, Princess of Wales (by Sally Bedell Smith, 2007). And finally a book called Speaking with Beads: Zulu Arts from Southern Africa, with wonderful, colourful photos including close-ups. (No, I'm probably not going to take up beading, but I'll enjoy drooling.)

$10 the lot.

All in excellent condition. And perhaps that’s the clue. Perhaps they haven’t been much read. Well, they have come to a good home now, where they’ll be loved and appreciated.