Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell's I Love Poetry and A Lyrebird: Selected Poems are both out this year (2017): from Giramondo and Blazevox, respectively. His scholarly book, Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796-1945, was published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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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