Aidan Coleman

Aidan Coleman is a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide. His two collections of poetry, Avenues & Runways and Asymmetry, have been shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Prize, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. He lives in Adelaide and is currently writing a biography of John Forbes with the assistance of the Australia Council.

Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham

Devotees of Australian literature are unlikely to possess more than a half-dozen single volumes by poets born before Federation, and their reading of such poets is generally limited to anthologies. The problem, I’d suggest, is one of availability more than desire.

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The End of Weather

There is a way that summer stops short of nudity. The loose delight of your task as necessary as twins coordinating shirts and comedy at the exhibition match scheduled for short notice, like a low-fi Santa providing own beard. The …

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Review Short: Jeri Kroll’s Workshopping the Heart: New and Selected Poems

Workshopping the Heart brings together poems from Jeri Kroll’s five previous books of poetry, with thirty or so pages of new poems and the opening chapter of a verse novel. Her distinctive voice – lyric, tough and spare – is evident early.

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Review Short: Andrew Lansdown’s Inadvertent Things – Poems in traditional Japanese forms

Andrew Lansdown’s poetry has long been defined by the primacy of the image and a preoccupation with form. Inadvertent Things revisits the themes of nature, family and God through the familiar Japanese forms of tanka and haiku, and also the choka, a sort of extended tanka. The haiku is the form that features most often and always as part of a suite called a gunsaku, where the poems work independently but also cumulatively. All the terms are explained in a short introduction for the uninitiated, in which Lansdown expresses his intention to follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law.

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Review Short: Rhyll McMaster’s Late Night Shopping

The lyric that opens Rhyll McMaster’s Late Night Shopping begins with the recently deceased and ends in a majestic, albeit materialist, transcendence:

When molecules cease their high humming 
dark space appears. 
It radiates in waves and disperses in continuous air. (‘Shell’)

This sets the tone for a book concerned with the grand themes of life and death, time and age, philosophy and science. The poet Frank O’Hara longed to be a painter; many poets long to be philosophers. The poem ‘Philosophy in a Ghosting Universe’ is, among other things, concerned with the poet’s failure as a philosopher …

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Backyard Pool

1. Viewed from the decking above, your best friend’s pool holds the afternoon as a wobbly electricity. At the edge: puddles of deflated colour, white plastic chairs, a garden, other redundancies. 2. Far below the workings of sun, the surface-war …

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Review Short: Robert Gray’s Cumulus

Though Robert Gray’s status as a major poet is well established, both in Australia and overseas, he is sometimes dismissed as ‘merely’ a nature poet or, worse still, a poet of description. While Gray is narrower in scope than say Yeats, Auden or Murray, this charge is, of course, irrelevant to both the reader’s enjoyment and the place his poetry will find in any canon. Many leading poets of the second half of last century – Plath, Larkin, Wright, R.S. Thomas – could, to varying degrees, be similarly accused.

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