An interview with Barry Lopez

News is just coming through that the American writer Barry Lopez has died. Lopez was one of the world’s most important nature writers, a profound essayist and poet of landscapes and place. I met him fleetingly and by chance in Alice Springs in the late 1980s and enjoyed a correspondence with him much later when he offered me encouragement while I was working on my first travel book, ‘Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip’. In 1999, Lopez consented to a lengthy interview with me for the Australian literary quarterly, Westerly. It was a wide-ranging and generous conversation and still holds up today as an insight into one of the great writers of our time.

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True Romance

Me and Michael Hutchence. A happy day talking in 1994, both of us feeling older and wiser at the ripe old age of 34! I was Editor of Australian Style at the time, which was really going off as a publication. He was a major rock star searching around for his next moves. I don’t think either of us knew how good we were really doing. Maybe we never do when we are inside our own experience? Three years later he was gone.

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The King is Dead

I remember the legendary chef Tony Bilson walking to meet me in Surry Hills for the first time. Physically he was probably only half the man he used to be. “Cancer,” he said, like it was something to be exasperated by. Then with a hard breath he guided me up the street to a corner café where we spoke for quite some time and with quite some intensity.

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Dead Set

Poverty is a disease. Newstart is its major vector in Australia. Sign on and you become dysfunctional and grotesque, a creature excluded from a society trying to protect itself.

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