Mark Tredinnick


Annandale Nocturne

The city was a subdued
bright spectre through the window
of the upstairs room where she
slept. Centrepoint, Citigroup,
some blue and nameless neon
lightstack. All of it at once
a vivid and sepulchral
topography in the night,
and none of it yet a bad
idea in a town planner’s
head when the house itself
went up at the end of the
century before the
century before this one.

And she lay asleep in this
bedroom into which the future
leaked thus and their son lay there
beside her and their newborn
daughter at her breast when he
came up the stairs in his socks
after one and he stood in
the door and looked at them and
thought what joy life had brought him.
He went downstairs and wrote this
down so that he would not for-
get and checked the locks again
and went upstairs to sleep with
most of what he loved till day.

— Annandale, late October 2006



Mark Tredinnick’s poem ‘Eclogues’ won the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2007; his essay ‘A Storm & a Teacup’ won the Calibre Essay Prize in February this year. Mark’s other honours include the Wildcare Nature Writing Prize (2005) and the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize (2005). His poems have appeared in ABR, Island, Manoa, Mascara, PAN and other journals; his prose has been published in Best Australian Essays, Island, isotope, Orion, Southerly, World Literature Review, other journals and many newspapers and anthologies. For many years he wrote on books for The Bulletin. After seven years in Katoomba and a few years in Lavender Bay and Sydney’s inner west, Mark moved with his young family to Burradoo, in rural New South Wales, in 2007. Mark’s books include The Little Red Writing Book (2006) The Land’s Wild Music (2005), and A Place on Earth (2003). Cambridge will release Mark’s little red book (as Writing Well: the Essential Guide) later this year in the US and UK, and his landscape memoir, The Blue Plateau, a lyric prose book on which he’s been at work for way too long, will come out in 2009. Mark runs the Cowshed Classes (a long-haul creative writing workshop) from the old dairy on his land at Burradoo; he is at work, between classes, on his first volume of poems and a book about the consolations of literature in a frantic age. A selection of his poems (Old South Road) will appear on CD in the River Road Series in mid 2008.

Tredinnick writes: “‘Annandale Nocturne’ comes from a time (in 2006–07) when we were living in a terrace in Annandale Street. We’d moved there from Katoomba, and we never quite settled in the city, and even as I wrote this poem we were thinking of moving to the country again. The best part about that house was the view toward the city from the upstairs bedroom, especially at night. I wrote this poem after reading some Raymond Carver poems, struck by their beautiful plainness. ‘Annandale Nocturnes’ was an attempt to write, out of my vernacular life as he wrote out of his, a kind of everyday (everynight) epiphany. Unlike Carver, I worked the poem into a particular form (two casual sonnets, each made of seven syllable lines) because I find a certain loose mathematics helps me find a poem I’m listening for. Particularly after midnight. That time—when the house, and the whole world, it seems, is sleeping—is the poet’s hour. It’s mine, anyway. The poem’s about night and love; it’s also a little about the fear that inhabits both. But who can say what a poem’s about?”