A cracking opening to Australian Literary Review editor Stephen Romei’s new blog. Thank goodness he tried to keep the whole thing unpretentious.

IT may be an inauspicious start but I need to open this blog with a confession: it was supposed to be up and running a few months ago. All was in readiness until The Australian’s webmaster told me the blog had to have a name. Weeks of paralysis followed. What to call a blog about books and writing and culture in general that wouldn’t sound pretentious? I was conscious of a bad track record in this regard: some years ago I bought a share in a racehorse and wanted to name him Dostoyevsky. His sire was Semipalatinsk, I explained to my co-owners, who laughed even harder and named him Classic Sam. He raced six times and each time struggled to beat the ambulance home. I don’t suppose he would have ran any faster had he been named after a great Russian novelist. Anyway, I digress. The name of this blog is A Pair of Ragged Claws, which is taken from one of my favourite poems, T.S. Eliot’s The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock:

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

I have alwas loved that image: the solitude, the silence, the humility it implies. It also seems an apt description of my job as editor of The Australian Literary Review. At a time of rapid diversification in the media, especially in delivery platforms, the ALR seems a bit like an old crab: a monthly journal of books and ideas running to about 50,000 words, printed on paper no less. But nimble! Note we are scuttling. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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