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David McCooey

David McCooey

About David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems is Star Struck (2016). His previous collection, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). He is also a composer and sound artist. His second album, The Double, was released in 2017 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria, where he lives.

Questions of Travel

Elizabeth Bishop packs for Seattle, December 1965 Thus, liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon. Victor Turner, The …

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Posing Cards

found poems i) Mom + Dad Hug Have the couple half hug with their arms crossing in the front. Tell Mom to slightly lean her head into Dad. ii) Family of 5 Standing Have Mom and Dad stand together and …

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Playing with Light and Dark: Amy Hilhorst Interviews David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest book of poems, Star Struck, was published by UWA Publishing in October 2016. His previous collection of poems, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’.

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Intensive Care (ii)

There had been an earlier waking, though, in the ICU, a time you have deeply forgotten, when you had the worst of it—the pain, the detubation, the harrowing scenes of your return to life. Your wife witnessed it, graphically laying …

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Jim Morrison’s Aubade

You grab my morning hard-on, and we are borne to the immortal motel where we will lodge a brief lifetime, sheltering from an Egyptian sun that burns down upon the illegible gravestones in the withered cemetery. The feathered Indian chants …

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Review Short: John Tranter’s Heart Starter

What is more old-fashioned than modernity? New York in the 1960s; Paris in the 1920s; Edwardian England: how entranced we are by the bygone milieu of modernity. John Tranter has long appreciated the poetic potential of the almost-new, almost-old, as seen in his poems on movies, jazz, the New York School, and so on. But as seen in his latest book, Heart Starter, his interest in such things is not merely nostalgic. Rather, his work is obsessed with remixing the magic pudding of modernity. The past, in other words, is there to be used, not revered or sentimentalised. Tranter’s poetic revisionism treats source texts and forms as transitional objects (to use Winnicott’s term) that offer open-ended play and creativity, rather than demand compliance.

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David McCooey Reviews Jennifer Maiden

Jennifer Maiden’s Drones and Phantoms opens with ‘Diary Poem: Uses of Live Odds’, a poem that juxtaposes – in a way characteristic of Maiden’s intensely synthesising work – politics, aesthetics, and gambling. Poetry, of course, is a kind of gamble, one in which the stakes are at once ridiculously low (financially speaking) and ridiculously high (personally speaking). Writing a poem – like any creative act – is a risky venture. One’s subjective experience of being creative never fully underwrites the created artefact. And as a communicative act, poetry runs the ever-present risk of obscurity and/or inconsequence.

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David McCooey Reviews Peter Rose and Ken Bolton

Selected Poems
Roseland and Boltonia

Crimson Crop by Peter Rose
UWA Publishing, 2012

Selected Poems 1975-2010 by Ken Bolton
Shearsman, 2012


The opening poem of Peter Rose’s Crimson Crop – which recently won a Queensland Literary Award – brings together illness, noise, and madness in a powerful vision of human frailty. In that poem, ‘Prelude’, the poet relates seeing a man at the Rome Railway Station banging his head on vending machines, while his countrymen ‘rushed to their trains, / fearful, cashmered, blinkered, / avoiding this glimpse / of what their brother had become’.

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Collective Hypnosis (Found South American Poem)

[audio:http://cordite.org.au/audio/McCooey_CollectiveHypnosis.mp3|titles=Collective Hypnosis – David McCooey] Collective Hypnosis (Found South American Poem) (1:41) Written and produced by David McCooey

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David McCooey reviews Craig Sherborne

Necessary Evil by Craig Sherborne Black Inc., 2006 As illustrated by his extraordinary memoir, Hoi Polloi (2005), Craig Sherborne has many strengths as a writer. He has immense tonal control (and can range from the tragic to the farcical in …

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