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Posts Tagged ‘TAG Hungerford’

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When I met 90 year old Tom, he was a West Australian Living Treasure and an absolute gentleman.

Also the winner of the Patrick White Award in 1992, Tom was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1988 for services to literature, the author of many novels, including The Ridge and The River, Sowers of the Wind, Swagbelly Birdsnatcher and the Prince of Siam.

He’d been writing for 60 years and celebrated his 90th birthday with a collection of stories & poems which illustrated his life.

At the official launch, I sat in selfish wonder listening to the magnificent voice of Jack Thompson booming, blasting passion into the masterly poetry and prose of T.A.G. Hungerford’s new book.

Taken from the back cover of  What’s Happened to Joseph?:  “With dazzling ease he moves from prose to poetry, from the ancient past to the present, from the small, absorbing passions of suburbia to the grim demands of jungle warfare. Hungerford makes us wonder just what did happen to Joseph, farther of Jesus Christ- did he continue to work in his carpenters trade, perhaps in Jerusalem?- then takes us to the heart of Anzac Day, to the shimmering colours of outback Australia, or to his own front garden, and with every word he illuminates our own experience.”  

I loved every word of his book and want everyone to enjoy his insight, his sensitivity and his ability to place me right there, where he was when writing them.

‘ANZAC Day’ is a poem I believe would work well on screen; the opening lines; dense, establishing and heartfelt:

“This spot at the corner of Pier Street and the Terrace

between two churches – Presbyterian one side,

C. of E. on the other – is just made to order

for us Second Eighth blokes to form up for the March

this mild April morning.  Wild men we were, all of us.”

When Tom allowed me to host ‘An Afternoon With Tom’ during a very special Poet’s Corner event, devoted entirely to him, the place was packed with lovers of words wanting to hear him read and provide further insight to his writing.

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T.A.G. Hungerford graciously allowed me to interview him for BOOKS Australia during Poets Corner. FMF © 2006

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Kevin Gillam playing ‘Fascination’ for “An Afternoon with Tom” at Pages Cafe during Poets Corner. FMF © 2006

The last poem in his book; ‘Fascination Waltz’ is another favorite and made me cry.  That’s why I asked Kevin Gillam, a fellow poet, admirer of Tom and professional cellist to play ‘Fascination’.  I felt the love and saw a tear in Tom’s eye, too.

Although he’s gone now I still think of him and his words, often. I treasure the firstly hand-written, then typed letters we exchanged and an (as far as I know) unpublished poem “Grey Ghost”, which would also make a fantastic film.

I want to pay a larger tribute and help make his writings available to more by getting them up on the big screen. Any producers out there, interested?

 

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #TAGHungerford  #What’sHappenedToJoseph? #JackThompson  #Stories&Poems   #Poetry  #KevinGillam  #PoetsCorner  #PagesCafe

 

 

 

 

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