From my first efforts as a literary journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald in the late 1950s, I have always treated even the merest book review as an article, and have tried to give it as much content as will fit the shape, and as much shapeliness as the prose will allow without becoming precious. As with any other form, the aim is compression, but in the case of the article a compression that doesn’t flow will quickly coagulate into prose poetry, usually with dire results. The test should be, I think, that the piece, if need be, can be read aloud at all points, as something you might conceivably say. Most of the prose writers I admire take that approach. The articles I have written recently are given in sample if they have become available in book form, and given complete if they as yet haven’t. Sanity demands that I should ease off on writing articles if I want to get bigger things done, but I have always found the article the perfect complement for the poem: another version of it, in fact, although laid out differently.
There is also a link to a section that preserves a few of my lectures. In most respects, lectures are like articles, but there are two crucial differences. The article should pass the test of speakability, but it can allow all kinds of complications and elisions because it won’t actually be spoken in one piece. The lecture allows no such luxuries. Hence its rhetorical structure, on the page, looks far more obvious. But I have secured some of my favourite effects in the lecture form and don’t want them consigned to oblivion just yet. I would take the effects out of context and mount them separately if I could, but the context is nearly always crucial, and anyway the viewer is under no obligation to go on scrolling.
The section About Television provides channels both to my longer writings on that subject and also to a preliminary batch of pieces from each of my three collections of pieces from my Observer column written between 1972 and 1982.
Pieces from the Past leads to entries which give brief information about some of my books that have gone out of print, and also give links so that some of the pieces from each book can be read in their entirety.