Mark Tredinnick


Mark Tredinnick is a celebrated Australian poet, essayist, and writing teacher, whose books include Almost Everything I Know, Bluewren Cantos, Fire Diary, The Blue Plateau, and The Little Red Writing Book. His honors include the two Premiers’ Literature Awards, the Montreal and Cardiff Poetry Prizes, and the Calibre Essay Prize. His latest book is Egret in a Ploughed Field; two new poetry collections, Walking Underwater and A Beginner’s Guide, will be published in 2019. He is at work on the memoir Reading Slowly at the End of Time and The Divide, a work in poetry and prose on the Great Dividing Range of Eastern Australia. Mark is the father of five children; he lives in Picton, southwest of Sydney, and he teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Despair like Job’s may be understood, whatever causes it, as a falling out of wonder with the world, out of awe, a catastrophic failure of conviction about one’s own miraculous part in the larger scheme of things. Life loses shape and refuses form; the hearth that held you lets you slip. One is unhoused from one’s days and tortured by one’s nights. One is beyond one’s own or anyone’s reach. My version of Job’s lot has felt like profound disenchantment with myself and my work. Even the world of birds and ridgetops and rivers and trees lost its magic. Each morning I wake and my life is something less than a theoretical proposition. My unhearthing is a spiritual distemper; it is a loss of one’s grip on the meaning of a life, a nihilism to which, perhaps, those of us most dedicated to the making of meaning are most vulnerable. And it falls especially hard on those who never learned how to care for themselves, who never, early, learned to feel what they said they knew—that the nature of the universe is love, and that some of that love is meant for oneself, a birthright, and secure.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard