1962. Menzies was in power, Whitlam was deputy Opposition Leader, and the cold war was in full swing. Canberra was steadily transforming froma town in a paddock to a city with a lake. This is a year in the life of the building that held all the action: Old Parliament House. One of the outcomes of a collaborative project between poet Melinda Smith and artist Caren Florance, this poetic work is an exercise in re-voicing the past and placing it in conversation with the present.
The palette of poems, phrases, fragments and assemblages in Members Only bear testimony to Australian history. They question poetry’s relationship to public institutions and the language they use, and to what effect in the wider culture and society – review by Dominque Hecq, Cordite