Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra and has published twenty-two collections of poetry as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and 2015 (Black Inc).

Review Short: Jill Jones’s Brink

It’s a neat twenty-five years since Jill Jones’s first book, The Mask and the Jagged Star, was published and in that time she has built for herself a reputation as a serious and ambitious poet whose work demands, and generally rewards, close reading. She is certainly not a poet of easy gestures or flashy effects.

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John Woodcock Graves the younger [with] Truganini

So often reproduced and yet the message so elusive. John Woodcock Graves the younger, lawyer, writer, poet, ‘friend’, is standing high beside her, not quite profile, looking down, frock coat reaching to his knees. Truganini, Trugernanner, also known as Lalla …

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Review Short: Amanda Anastasi and Robbie Coburn’s The Silences

These 41 pages from a revived Eaglemont Press (once run by the late, revered Melbourne poet, Shelton Lea) contain the first collections (or first half-collections) of Lea’s much younger fellow-Melbournians, Amanda Anastasi and Robbie Coburn. It’s analogous to two good friends buying a very small inner-city flat to get a toe-hold in the daunting real estate market of that city. Bigger things are sure to come later.

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Review Short: Mike Ladd’s Invisible Mending

Adelaide poet, Mike Ladd, is best known for his long-running Poetica program on the ABC’s Radio National (eighteen years all up before its casual destruction in 2014). The breadth of taste and openness to a wide range of influences Ladd displayed in Poetica is also to be found in Invisible Mending, his first poetry collection since Transit in 2007.

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Review Short: Dennis Haskell’s What Are You Doing Here? Selected Poems

Dennis Haskell’s new selected is part of an interesting trend. In the past few months three other Australian poets (Adrian Caesar, Jan Owen and Robyn Rowland) have also had books published overseas that, in more congenial times, might well have been published here. In each case there’s a plausible explanation but it’s an interesting phenomenon even so.

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Sometimes in your later

Sometimes in your later years it is enough to read the titles only. shorthand for the contents you cannot quite recall. The sleety ironies of Philip Larkin, say, a flatness everybody knows but he defined, bending to his bike-clips. Wallace …

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Geoff Page Reviews John Kinsella

John Kinsella’s latest foray into what has become known as ‘ecopoetics’ raises many more aesthetic and political questions than can be resolved in a short review. As in his Divine Comedy: Journeys Through a Regional Geography (2008), Kinsella makes vivid and considerable use of autobiography. He and his family are presented as embattled eco-pioneers in a region already much destroyed by bad farming practices, partly multi-national in origin, and roamed over at will by township hoons ready to shoot up anything that moves.

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Art Tatum

1909 — 1956 The legends and the anecdotes are only half of it; Charlie Parker early on, night-club kitchen, washing plates just to hear the sound then saying as saxophonist ‘I wish I could play like Tatum’s right hand’; the …

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A Silence

We watch them sitting down beside us, (she, the latte; he, long black) and see them splitting up the paper (he, the sport, and she, the crossword). Five or forty years ago, we would have seen them leaning inwards antiphonal …

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Geoff Page Reviews Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Now a youthful 79, the Melbourne poet, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, has been an important figure in Australian poetry since the early 1960s. As a teacher, scholar, anthologist and organizer – as well as a poet with at least fourteen volumes to his name – Wallace-Crabbe has been central to much that has happened in Australian poetry over the past fifty years, especially in Melbourne. As with his friend, the late Peter Porter, Wallace-Crabbe’s lightly-worn erudition and distinctive sense of humour have ensured that his work is admired by many poets (and readers) across the aesthetic divisions in our poetry reaching back to the 1970s.

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The Interlocutors: Poetry and Jazz in Collaboration

How do jazz and poetry talk to each other? Of course, they can lament their shared marginality to the majority culture – but that will take us only so far. They can boast of their heroic figures over a century (jazz) or the millennia (poetry). They can hyperventilate about the talents of the latest prodigies in either form, but that will almost always be ahead of the facts.

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The Anthologist

Of course, it is a work of love — and has the smell of dust about it, the love that settles from the air on everything unread. It has the whiff of toner, too, the creak of books split newly …

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Pasternak and David Lean Maurice Jarre and Stalin

The bits don’t fit. . . Mr Whippy in the suburbs between the psalms of mowers and clean cars of a Sunday. The tune is mixing up its message: 6/8 on a high celeste the kind that wings might stroke …

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The History of Mr Howard

Give me back the smell of pencils Monday morning in their boxes the mucilage and ink in inkwells the Mercator’s above the blackboard with half the world in red give me back that ‘firm but just’ preceptor of my childhood …

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