Salt Room interview: Shane Strange

Thursday, 23 February 2017

For each edition of the Salt Room in 2017, our poetry curator, Andrew Galan, is asking performers a series of questions to provide some insight into their practice and themselves, as well as a short work they would like to share. Each of these questions has been found in the interviews of well-known poets.

‘Is there anything else you would rather have done than writing poetry? Because this is something, obviously, which takes up a great deal of one’s private life, if one’s going to succeed at it. Do you ever have any lingering regrets that you didn’t do something else?’

(1962, Peter Orr to Sylvia Plath)

I’m very hesitant to call myself a poet. I’ve always thought poetry beyond my capacity as a writer. I suppose poetry is the ‘other thing’ that I’ve always wanted to do with my life.

‘What do you think of the label “confessional poetry” and the tendency for more and more poets to work in that mode?’
(1995, Drue Heinz to Ted Hughes)

I don’t mind the label. I think that the pendulum is swinging the other way right now in Australian poetry. It’s becoming all about form. In the right hands, confession can be a revelation. If the confessions are interesting or gripping or well-written or surprising then confess away.

‘What sort of things did your mother read to you?’
(1960, Richard Poirier to Robert Frost)

My mother never read to me. She did allow me to watch a lot of TV, though. I remember ‘Days of Our Lives’ quite vividly, and I still hum 1970s and 80s advertising jingles to myself sometimes.


(black and white) staring ahead with shadow placed so.
(in colour) bright tangerine backgrounds as bracing as any mid-range polo-shirt circa 1985.
(in the corner) a child’s scrunched face in front of wood panelling, like that from his childhood bedroom circa 1980: pale skin, flat light, icy-blue jumper. The colour of memory, and the texture as well.


Shane Strange’s writing has appeared in various print and on line journals, including Overland, Griffith Review, Burley, Verity La, foam:e, Cordite Poetry Review, and Axon: Creative Explorations. He is currently studying at the University of Canberra, where he also tutors and lectures in Creative Writing.

Shane will be performing as part of the Salt Room alongside poets Jacqui Malins and Sandra Renew, and musician Paul Heslin, at 7:30pm on Friday 3 March at the Gorman Arts Centre. The Salt Room is produced by BAD!SLAM!NOBISCUIT! with the support of the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres. Tickets $15 full or $10 concession available online or at the door.