Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell's Australian books are published by Giramondo, most recently Googlecholia and Family Trees. Other publications include Writing Australian Unsettlement (Palgrave Macmillan), and A Lyrebird: Selected Poems (Blazevox). Michael grew up in Bombala, NSW, and is based in Melbourne (Carlton, as of October 2023). Follow @limechax for Michael's Instagram art.

‘Bombala Boss’: Harry Reid in Conversation with Michael Farrell

How on earth to interview Michael Farrell? I once introduced Farrell at a reading as one of my ‘top five dead or alive’ Australian poets. I still believe this to be true. I once watched him eat a falafel during the open mic section of a poetry reading in Sydney. Once, while driving the work van, I saw Farrell on the way to the pool and honked the horn, realising later he’d have no idea it was me. What does this all mean?

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Knitting A Poem By The Hoover Dam

Knitting a poem for Husker Du by the Hoover Dam And other monuments. The poem looks like a bee (to Knit Keatsianly). Knitting poems by the Harbour Bridge, letting moisture into the wool As it rises, as it sprays from …

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Mysteries of the South Coast

We all need a methodology to live by To take just one example, Catholics are rarely ashed on on the sports field, but public life is another matter. Such unfortunate exhibitions are not beyond the episteme of The Sorrowful Cappuccino, …

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Three Trees

You I put the old apple pie at your roots I try to make you worth searching for, in the blah- blah forest But I’m not sure if I’m trustworthy / ranger material Digital harmony, now that’s something worth striving …

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The radio, for the serial, ’s propped against a turnip to maximise reception It’s a kind of stereo for the neighbour My very head’s a paddock he says checking a hedge for catching pricks He’s been crutching poems since six …

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Or this – I have an autistic child, and when she repeats the whole Catholic Mass at lunch the medical team call it echo- lalia. Dock their lunch says Bruce, say hello to reverse red tape prejudice The trees won’t …

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Michael Farrell Reviews Philip Hammial

Poems don’t need condescension any more than we do. If we pick up a book and the poems come to life only at a certain page, maybe it’s our brain that needed a refresh. Philip Hammial is certainly up for a refresh of everyday culture: of foodie-ness, for one, such as in the high school project scene of ‘The Float’, where food is garbage and his art teacher gives him an A; or the vegetables of death in ‘The Vehicle of Precious Little’. There are enough stories in his poetry – represented here through a selection from twenty-five collections – to replace a whole bookshelf of novels.

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‘I Love You’ and ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ Meet at Daisy Bates’

A solid phrase can be hard to grasp. I can say it and mean it here but not there, where Daisy Bates is a conduit. Places where Peter Allen irons the Dadaist blue skies, with the Nolans and a few …

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Michael Farrell Reviews Grant Caldwell

Publishing a selected poems is an act of confidence. While no one who writes poems would want to be judged on their worst effort, a selection suggests these are the poems that – if readers must judge – the poet be judged upon. The act is, however, doubly denied by Caldwell in the qualified title, Reflections of a Temporary Self, and by the front cover author photo: is he asleep or isn’t he? The I-don’t-necessarily-give-a-fuck attitude is part of the package. I qualify the attitude because Caldwell, in producing an eighth book (consisting of poems from six previous books and new poems), clearly does give one.

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Put Your Helmet On

get your chewing Gum. get Time like a Man in a tin Frock. in the Field, the naked Butterfly is fending off the Microscope. a giant Sunflower is roaring Seeds at the Enemy. it’s Autumn, and the carrot Pickers bend …

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2015 Val Vallis Winners

Winner: ‘Precedent‘ by Andrew Last That rare thing: a non-ponderous sonnet sequence full of surprising imagery, humour and light touches. The poet is obviously at home with the form, the way they vary stanzas and run meaning from one sonnet …

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War Doesn’t Happen

Face that way and walk out of the building. Face that way and walk out of the room. Keep it comic or dramatic – just not tragic. Separation of drone and you. Separation of drone and you No revisiting past …

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Michael Farrell Reviews Hong Ying, Translated by Mabel Lee

Hong Ying’s I Too Am Salammbo is a selection of poems from 1990-2012, based on a Chinese selection published in 2014. Though almost all the poems contain conceptual, or imagistic, interest (bar some of the ‘city’ poems: ‘Berlin’, ‘London’, etc.), the formal repetition gets a bit wearing.

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Sid Vicious Underlined by the Tiber

He walks in rubbish like the street. Having risen from The waters like a painter and left his work for the less Nice people to observe. The sea would be punk but’s Too major You Embrace Apollinaire Like a Problem …

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Introduction to Alan Loney’s Crankhandle

Cover design by Zoë Sadokierski

Since moving from New Zealand to Australia back in 2001, Alan Loney has carried on a prolific, internationally recognised career in Melbourne. Crankhandle, Loney’s latest published work, follows on from 2014’s chapbook collaboration with Max Gimblett, eMailing flowers to Mondrian, and the books from Five Islands Press, Nowhere To Go (2007) and Fragmenta Nova (2005). Borrowing his contemporary Laurie Duggan’s term, Loney can be read as a ‘late objectivist’: worrying at that particular American formal legacy, with its attendant philosophical and ethical concerns.

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The National as A Way of Interpreting My Favourite Martian

I’m thinking about how I understand you; if garages or Martian food were made illegal. If I name George by looking at Nigel. I look at Nigel: I look at night. Like a storybook, yet much more visceral I get …

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Cosmic Primness

They settle on me like a dress, or lobby. The more gestures Manners of an astronaut? The richness comes out eventually. The close star wood promises being and eternity, but turns managers. Princess talk turns into legislation; knowledge is coming …

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Perhaps a good day doesn’t involve getting on a bus, but they are more interesting than trams or trains. It probably involves writing a poem, there’s plenty of it going on.

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The Snow

Blue flakes are falling on the tents and the tongues of the kangaroos. It becomes white on contact. It becomes warm. It’s one of the magics of the Monaro of Kosciuzko. My arm and hair are one with the kangaroo …

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Submission to Cordite 46.1: MELBOURNE Now Open!

Poetry for Cordite 46.1: MELBOURNE is guest-edited by Michael Farrell. This will be Cordite Poetry Review‘s first special issue that includes a number of poems selected from open submissions. It is supported by the City of Melbourne through its Arts …

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Janet has been busy turning a banal bourgeois home into a suburban crocodile farm. This morning however she went outside to find her neighbour Bruce had eaten several of the crocodiles and had the head of one in his mouth. …

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Eulogy For Someone In The Room

Recently I’ve been thinking about ghosts ones that seem to have nothing to do with the enhanced or rather … accentuated being of those they appear to, but have their own quest … Elena told me that her husband had …

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Michael Farrell Reviews MTC Cronin

A book as an experience of sampling, and of reading over a long period of time, may be ideal for the writer; but it won’t be that for all readers, especially not reviewers.

MTC Cronin has published several highly structured books in the past: Talking to Neruda’s Questions, 1-100 and The Flower, The Thing. Here the double title functions in a looser, more umbrella-like way; the book apparently aims to use death as its guiding concept: the assertion that the poems are themselves metaphors suggesting flexibility in her use of death as her theme.

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He’s cutting my hair and flipping his braid imagining the amassing of casualties. he’s A fine rider, and likes a good chestnut for preference, in the. field muttering that’ll Be twenty-nine cents thanks giving you a bullet as if. mogadon …

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