Michael Blackburn's ART ZERO


There can surely be no doubt now in the mind of the perceptive reader that Ern Malley, Australia's greatest poet of the twentieth century, was a real person and not the product of the the embittered imagination of McAuley Stewart. It was Stewart who claims to have written the 16 Malley poems first published by the avant-garde magazine, Angry Penguins, and subsequently as a separate book (which is still in print).

...[text totally unreadable]...

the streets where Mally [sic] lived and worked have long since disappeared, buried under Walmarts, Coles' supermarkets and drive-in bottleshops. But in my researches I have managaed to track down a genuine relative of Malley's, by the name of Larry Chester, who now lives in Windsor, west of Sydney. For many years Chester ran a secondhand bookshop in Paramatta before selling up and retiring.

...[text unintelligible]...Malley well and has written a memoir of his friend (unpublished and unread) he is extremely reticent on the personal details of his friendship. 'The literary business,' he says, 'is still twitchy even after all these years.' However, Chester, now a neat and sprightly 92-year-old, showed me manuscript copies of some of Malley's unpublished poems.

mcAuley Stewart, he said, a b [text unreadable as a result of wine-staining]...but 'I've seen truth rot like an apple by the side of the road'

passed me another tinny

From the rescued papers of the late Alan Renfrew