ACCA Book Club: Justin Clemens

Thu 14 May 2020

This is a past program.
Online via Zoom
Free, registration essential and places are limited

Please direct all enquiries to us at: or call (+613) 9697 9999

Hello, how are you going in isolation? Are you reading something, writing something or listening to something? Let’s share it at ACCA Book Club, our new monthly lunch-time catch up about reading, writing and more. Each month, we’ll invite a special guest and previous contributor to ACCA publications, to lead an open and active discussion with participants about a written or spoken-word work of their choice online via Zoom to a small group.

First up is Justin Clemens, who will discuss his 2019 publication Limericks, Philosophical and Literary (148 pages, published by Surpllus). To take part in this May Book Club, register online as soon as you can (as places are limited to 25 people) and get reading! If you don’t have a copy, you can purchase one ($15) from the following independent bookstores: Avenue Bookstore, Books at Manic, Metropolis Bookshop, World Food Books.



Introducing Limericks, Philosophical and Literary the publisher notes: 

“Brief, risible, finicky, the limerick is a form whose greatest successes never rise above the mildly embarrassing. Yet despite never having enjoyed unqualified approbation from critics or public, the form has its enthusiasts and eminent aficionados: there is no lack of literary luminaries who have lavished love on the limerick. This title continues this queer minor tradition, ­presenting seventy-seven limericks about writers and philo­sophers from St Thomas Aquinas to Simone Weil. Of all the grades of doggerel, the limerick is one of the lowest. Populist and participatory if not precisely popular, the limerick first becomes a hit in Victorian England with Edward Lear’s books of nonsense. It spreads at once across the English-speaking world like a highly contagious linguistic rash. Including a critical essay that delineates the limerick’s salient features, along with a dictionary that collects brief physiognomies of the subjects of the limericks, this book dares to descend into the maelstrom of ­mediocrity and to return, arms overflowing with mixed metaphors and mouldering microplastics.”


Justin Clemens has published extensively on Australian art, literature, and culture, as well as in topics in contemporary philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political theory. He is the author of three monographs, two co-authored monographs, seven edited collections, over 50 refereed articles, and several translations of French philosophy. His work has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Korean, and Portuguese. He regularly gives invited lectures in Asia, Europe, and the US on a range of topics. He also publishes poetry and fiction, including the collections Villain (Hunter 2009), Me ‘n’ me trumpet (Vagabond 2012), and the long mock-epic poem The Mundiad (Hunter 2013), which was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize. His most recent book is Limericks, Philosophical and Literary (Surpllus 2019). He is Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Clemens contributed an essay titled ‘She felt the shame would outlive her’, to ACCA’s publication accompanying the exhibition On Vulnerability and Doubt 2019.