Ali Alizadeh

Ali Alizadeh is a Melbourne-based author and scholar. His literary interests include Marxist theory, Horror, Continental philosophy and history. Among his favourite authors are Shirley Jackson, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Richard Matheson, Alain Badiou, H.D., and Bertolt Brecht. His books include the collections of poetry Towards the End and Ashes in the Air, the novels The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc and Transactions, and a work of aesthetic theory, Marx and Art. He is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne.

The Fall of the West

Despite cutbacks, delays, interruptions the poison in my stomach didn’t succeed. Had to walk from the station of course, no more buses after 11pm. Feet sincerely sore, the night suitably spooky, at least rain didn’t add to my despair. Public …

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The Non-Vegetarian

(after Han Kang) It makes perfect sense, really to make the most of this body before the rot sets in. Maybe a premature sky burial, and who better than the ghost in this deadbeat machine to preside as chef de …

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The 3rd Poem

(for Sin Yong-Mok) Cross-cultural implies there are cultures to cross. There are bodies and languages sure, but cultures? What is so innately different between kimchi and vegemite these things one eats, then one forgets about as they’re transformed into a …

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‘Beware! This is not a real biography!’: Ali Alizadeh Interviews Jessica L Wilkinson

To many, biographies are a generic section in a bookshop which showcase – as this interview will discuss – a supposed element of ‘truth’. Suggestions of worthiness through platitudes such as ‘based on a true story’ or a ‘definitive biography …

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Plato, Badiou and I: an Experiment in Writerly Happiness

I have many irresolvable arguments with a close and particularly argumentative friend of mine. We regularly disagree, in a civilised, congenial way, on specific topics to do with politics, love, the weather, Asian food and ethics.

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Off Kilter

This be the fulcrum, order’s pivot. Powers oscillate my words the rivet, evil, chthonic, to show you malfeasance, the urgency to recompense, the levers wholly off kilter: 1) The tigerfish is the carnivore of the Congo. Obtruding fangs eyes tenebrous …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Chris Andrews

In a recent article published in Sydney Review of Books, Emmett Stinson argues that Australian reviewers’ and readers’ responses to Australian short story collections are regulated by the receptions of these authors in the US. And so, according to Stinson, the so-called cultural cringe lives on. But is this really the case? And should we really be suspicious of internationally recognised Australian writers such as Chris Andrews whose second collection of poems has been published by Baltimore’s Waywiser Press, the publishers of such giants of US poetry as Anthony Hecht, Richard Wilbur and W. D. Snodgrass?

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Ali Alizadeh Interviews Paul Kane

Paul Kane is the Professor of English and Co-Associate Chair of English at Vassar College in the Hudson Valley, 75 miles north of New York City. In addition to being a prolific poet and scholar of American literature, he is one of the world’s foremost scholars of Australian poetry.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews ‘The Best Australian Poems 2012’

Whatever one may expect from an anthology of contemporary poetry released by a mainstream commercial publisher – an accessible selection of diverse voices and styles, one for both the non-specialist, general reader as well as the (less snobbish) connoisseur, a selection featuring promising emerging writers as well as more prominent authors, and so on – Black Inc. Publishing’s annual Best Australian Poems Series has been meeting these expectations, more or less consistently, for close to a decade. And despite the series’ many specific strengths and few weaknesses, the latest addition to the series follows the same general tradition successfully.

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FOR TOO LONG has poetry been disregarded as a valid vehicle for the exploration of real world experience. Too often has poetry been filed in the ‘too hard’ basket and deemed ‘irrelevant’ and ‘inaccessible.’

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Act #12

Vintage in verisimilitude. Private Sale – Vacant Position – Business 1 Zone. Scent of sandalwood, inconsequential bells, organic food and runes. Fortitude begs futurism. Health store – Home ware – Souvenirs. Unrequited regret: fetish value fades from my wallet, untold …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews David Brooks

‘Ern Malley? Again?’ asks David Brooks at the outset of this new reading of what is, arguably, the central event in the history of modern Australian poetry. Brooks’s account is an engrossing, at times exhilarating journey through the landscape of early-mid twentieth century Modernist poetry, but it also leaves the question of the need for yet another volume about the infamous hoax more or less unanswered.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Maria Takolander and Claire Potter

In his 2007 essay ‘Surviving Australian Poetry: The New Lyricism’, David McCooey identified the prevailing mode of poetry in contemporary Australia as a negotiation between experimentalism (the new) and traditional composition (lyricism). This view is apposite in describing the work of many important poets of the last couple of decades; but a number of newer Australian poets have gone beyond and broken with this conciliation.

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Aa-zaa-dee (아-자-디)

How can I define this Real of language in words? Signs betray its unsayable being like a hoax. Has no authenticity cheated by fakeness; condemns all things to fantasy. How can I praise this enemy of appreciation? When it’s around …

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Grey (회색빛)

for Felicity Plunkett i In this World – which is not a world – black and white withhold truths. In a world we’d have multiplicities, the purity of unqualified impurities. In ours we possess , are possessed by, the comprehension …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews John Mateer

Since the publication of his startling first collection Burning Swans in 1989, John Mateer has established himself as one of the key Australian poets who, for the absence of a better term, can be broadly labelled post-Generation of ’68. What my clumsy terminology seeks to indicate is that Mateer (alongside other younger poets such as those appearing in the seminal 2000 anthology Calyx) follows in the general direction of earlier innovators while making crucial, although not necessarily generational, departures.

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Vicki Viidikas Rediscovered: Ali Alizadeh’s Q&A with Barry Scott

In May 2010, Melbourne-based publisher Transit Lounge will release a much-anticipated collection of published and unpublished poetry and prose by the iconic Generation of '68 poet and l'enfant terrible, Vicki Viidikas (1948-1998). The book, simply titled Vicki Viidikas: New and Rediscovered, has been edited by Transit Lounge co-founder Barry Scott. Cordite's reviews editor Ali Alizadeh spoke to him about Viidikas, her iconoclastic work, her unconventional life, and her legacy.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Tatjana Lukic

With the success of novels and short story collections such as The Slap and The Boat, it seems multicultural writing is enjoying something of a revival in Australia. Yet poetry written by non-Anglo-Celtic Australians does not usually garner much recognition. It is the prose narratives of dislocation and cultural transition, and not poetry dealing with these themes, which are de rigueur.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Jen Hadfield

Jen Hadfield's winning the 2008 T. S. Eliot Prize for this collection seems truly sensational. Since the UK's most prestigious poetry prize is usually given to older male poets, the 30 year-old woman poet's success could be seen as a radical event. Furthermore, the ecologically conscious discourse of Nigh-No-Place can also be seen as a new, exciting development in the context of mainstream English poetry.

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Epic Editorial

When ‘Epic' was suggested as a theme for an issue of Cordite, I was expecting it to be either rejected outright or at least modified into something less archaic. When it was actually chosen as the theme for issue 31 with myself as the guest editor, I was faced with a more pressing concern: would we receive enough suitably epical submissions to justify our choice of this theme? Or would the dearth of appropriate contributions confirm that, as literary critic Tom Winnifrith has written, the epic is ‘as antique as a dinosaur', or, as Mikhail Bakhtin would have it, the epic poem is ‘an already completed genre … distanced, finished and closed'?

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Ali Alizadeh Interviews John Kinsella

John Kinsella’s most recent book Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography is an incredibly ambitious and meticulous rewriting of that great epic poem of the Middle Ages, Dante's The Divine Comedy. Our guest poetry editor for Epic, Ali Alizadeh, interviewed Kinsella recently, via email. Their discussion ranged from traditional notions of the epic form, and Kinsella's relationship with it, to ecological manifestoes and collaborative projects, and the concept of 'pushing against form'.

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Joan of Arc

She and the fire fight adjectives. Their concreteness deflects reification by language. She simply is a pronoun. It may signify say, my wife (coming from me 'she' often does) or, yes a medieval French woman, her being so roughly abridged …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Bronwyn Lea and Kevin Hart

One of the most prominent features of these two recent titles – by two of Australia's most successful poets, published by one of the country's most exciting literary publishers – is their emphasis on the erotic. By engaging with unambiguously sexual themes and imagery, Bronwyn Lea and Kevin Hart have produced texts that beguile and entertain their reader through the evocation of, or a yearning for, romance and sensuality, whilst also running the risk of reducing allusion and openness in meaning by describing a definite, rather familiar, concept.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Philip Mead

Once every decade, it seems, a scholar succeeds in writing an all-encompassing account of the practice and development of poetry in modern Australia. The 1980s saw Andrew Taylor's Reading Australian Poetry; and in the 1990s we had Paul Kane's Australian Poetry: Romanticism and Negativity. Now, Philip Mead, senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania's School of English, Journalism and European Languages, has provided what is perhaps the most ambitious and provocative overview of the agonistic and at times conflicting discourses of Australian poetry in the 20th century.

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