Proust Questionnaire: 17 questions with Michael Farrell
By Yong Shu Hoong
According to Australian poet Michael Farrell, his poem Beautiful Mother "betrays several hauntings: not least a scene from television… of Kimba the white lion swimming back to the jungle, a vision of his mother in the sky encouraging him."
Selected by judges Judith Beveridge and David McCooey from close to 800 entries, this winning poem added the 2012 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, one of the genre's most lucrative and respected awards in Australia, to Farrell's list of accolades.
Born in Bombala, New South Wales, in 1965, he is the author of several poetry books, including ode ode (2002), a raiders guide (2008) and open sesame (2012). He also edited Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets (2009). Presently living in Melbourne, he recently submitted his PhD thesis on the beginnings of Australian literature.
1) What are you reading right now?
2) If you were a famous literary character in a novel, play or poem, what would you be and why?
3) What is the greatest misconception about you?
4) Name (1) one living author and (2) one dead author you most identify with, and tell us why.
5) Do you believe in writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?
6) What qualities do you most admire in a writer?
7) What is one trait you most deplore in writing or writers?
8) Can you recite your favourite line from a literary work or a piece of advice from a writer?
9) Complete this sentence: Few people know this, but I…
10) Over easy, or hard boiled, which?
11) What is your favourite word, and what is your least favourite one?
12) What's one thing that you'd change about the Australian poetry scene?
13) What object is indispensable to you when you write?
14) What is the best time of the day for writing?
15) If you have a last supper, which three literary figures, real or fictional, would you invite to the soiree?
16) Using poetry, what's the most surprising thing you've managed to achieve?
17) What would you write on your own tombstone?