Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

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Tom Clark

Why be a delegate?

Alright, we're ready now. Not all issues
are black and white. Not all issues
are about how to fight. But the facts
are: this one's different. We're not it.

A creature marries. Is reborn. It
marries again. The history, thus,
lives on. A moving feast. Our structure:
it's ad hoc, sure, but improving.

And can I just say? Can I just?
Say that they have to, now,
building and strengthening, building
our networks, some of our members.

The structure grows. It goes thus:
You're at the coal-face. You are,
you are our members, a structure
that informs and helps us grow.

Growth is systematic activity,
and it relates to our peculiar
structure. Over time, this devolves
into a kind of third party activism.

You look! They pay their fees. They
expect their – what are they going
to do? You look, and we'll review it.
Unpack it. Finesse it even. Of course.

Tom Clark’s “Why be a delegate?” was first published in Cordite 26: Innocence (2007). The guest poetry editor for this issue was MTC Cronin.

Tom Clark

Since 2006, Tom Clark has been an academic in the School of Communication and the Arts at Victoria University, Melbourne, where he teaches and researches in political rhetoric as a family of performance poetry. Previously he completed a PhD, writing his thesis on irony in Beowulf, which Peter Lang (Bern) published in 2003. He works intermittently as a political speechwriter. He has a prose book on poetry and truthfulness in political speech due out in April 2012. “Why be a delegate?” will be included in an anthology of his political poems, also due for publication in 2012.


A Typical Day At Work 

Leave home at 8:00. Catch tram into city. Delete unwanted emails on iPhone. Catch train from city to my campus. Delete more unwanted emails on iPad. Read up on all the urgent things before arriving at work. Trip takes 65-75 minutes from door to door. Arrive in office. Try to get writing done, whether creative or scholarly, but in fact spend most of the day responding to queries from students and colleagues. Teach a class somewhere in there. Take a half-hour lunch break somewhere in there. Make espresso for favoured visitors on my electric Bialetti. Typically afternoons are taken up with a couple of formal meetings. When they're over, typically between 5 and 6, pack up and read on my way home. Delete more unwanted emails on iPad.