Lucy Van

Lucy Van writes poetry and criticism. Her collection, The Open (Cordite 2021), was longlisted for the Stella Prize, shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Award, and highly commended in the Anne Elder Award. She is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

HYPERTHYROIDISM: Lucy Van Reviews Shastra Deo and Dominic Symes

I spent much of 2023 inadvertently giving Shastra Deo’s The Exclusion Zone the silent treatment. I felt, for reasons now irrelevant, consigned to my own bathetic exclusion zone, as if the book were a forbidden, inaccessible text. So exclusive: as if to read The Exclusion Zone would be in violation of the text’s manifest function.

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1. Verrition: an untranslatable term Césaire used to indicate a kind of sweeping. Not really: it was a term to indicate the double jouissance of licking words, over and over again. But that is not unlike sweeping, and sweeping is …

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2022 Queensland Poetry Val Vallis Award Winners

Introducing the 2022 Queensland Poetry Val Vallis Prize winners.

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Introduction to Lucy Van’s The Open

All doors are open in Lucy Van’s poetry. Ingress and egress are multiple, even coincident. We’ve just touched what’s here, or are about to touch it, when apprehension is quickly unsettled, halted or reconfigured.

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Because It’s Slower It Races Away

Someone at the place that used to be Michel’s Patisserie but is now called something else and is in fact something entirely else but despite efforts seems more generic than Michel’s Patisserie with its new mint green and blonde wood …

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PEACH Editorial

On 23 April 1979, Blair Peach, a teacher from New Zealand, was killed by a blow to the head delivered by an officer of the Metropolitan Police Force Special Patrol Group (SPG).

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Submission to Cordite 93: PEACH

A ripe peach may seem the embodiment of the good life, but in this issue, PEACH also stands for the bitterness of brutality as well as the richness of resistance.

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Lucy Van Reviews Merlinda Bobis

So begins ‘driving to katoomba’, from the first poetry collection that Merlinda Bobis published in Australia, Summer was a fast train without terminals (Spinifex, 1998). The opening is typical of Bobis’s inimitable gusto and extravagance: the lines follow the gesture of the body that reaches for a view, simultaneously craving and offering the world while delighting in the knowledge that both impulses remain unfulfilled.

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World of Feelings: Ghassan Hage, Bruce O’Neill, Magic Steven and the Affective Dimensions of Globalisation

Drive anywhere in Australia for long enough and you’ll pass a Bunnings Warehouse. Bunnings, a titanic home improvement merchant whose buying power enables the offering of low prices on products relating to the building and maintenance of the home, was around when I grew up in Australia, but I think my family went to a different, no-name hardware store.

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Lucy Van Reviews Little Windows 1 with Jill Jones, Andy Jackson, Alison Flett and John Glenday

The full set of LW1 arrives in the post like a present, a gift-wrapped bundle of square, slate-coloured books. It came to me looking so perfect, that a couple of days passed before I had the heart to a prise a chapbook from under the clear binding ribbon. This situation gave shape to a thought about the necessity of obstruction in order for words to seduce. Some form of this theory of desire continued to occur to me as I read the books’ divergent visions.

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Lucy Van in as Short Reviews Editor

I am pleased to announce that Lucy Van has joined the Cordite Poetry Review masthead as Short Reviews Editor. She will assume duties near the end of 2015, starting with all new short reviews commissioned at that time. Lucy Van …

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Review Short: Lucy Dougan’s The Guardians

‘The dog ran in there / It had been a mistake / to take up his old trail.’ The bold lines that open ‘The Old House’ (48) from Lucy Dougan’s latest collection, The Guardians, deliver a fine sample of Dougan’s deceptive simplicity. What better emblem for the concept of guardianship than the family dog? But the sentimental cocktail of love and loyalty embodied by this familiar friend is immediately crosscut by the ‘mistake’ of memory, an error of the senses that leads directly to the unheimlich.

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Review Short: Ivy Ireland’s Porch Light

By way of introduction permit me to share that for some reason I keep conflating this poet’s name with the title of her latest book. The result is a hybrid of name and place, forming a vague ‘place-name’ in the utterly made-up signifier ‘Porchland.’ Working back, this topos, to my mind, alluding to a libidinous, transgressive and, above all, fertile ground, is formed out of the name of the talented poet, Ivy Ireland, and the title of her second collection of poetry, Porch Light, whose eponymous poem quotes Tom Waits in the epigraph: ‘How do the angels get to sleep when the Devil leaves the porch light on?’

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Lucy Van Reviews Michelle Leber

Medical diagnosis could be thought of as a form of storytelling; an analytic as well as creative process that translates the unclear expressions of the body into a plausible narrative, ideally one that directs the way to healing. Just as diagnosis might be con-sidered an art – a speculative performance that is highly contingent, at times inspired or risky – the discipline of medical observation has itself often inflected and animated art forms.

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How Poems Work: Elizabeth Bachinsky’s ‘God of Unfulfilled Longings’

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music. And I’ve been hearing really abstract arrangements, huge production, and big, inescapable metaphors.

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Lucy Van Reviews John Mateer

In his two most recent books, the prolific John Mateer presents work developed over the long haul. His concluding essay in Unbelievers is a reflection on the seven years of writing behind that body of work, and Emptiness emphasises in its subtitle the 14-year scope of that collection. Despite the years of writing they represent, both collections bear a freshness of focus, expressed through Mateer’s formulation: ‘the irony of Elsewhere’.

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Review Short: Luke Fischer’s Paths of Flight

In Shakespeare’s last great poem, The Phoenix and the Turtle, the owl is banished from the allegorical proceedings of the bird funeral:

But thou, shrieking harbinger,
Foul pre-currer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near
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Review Short: Andrew Sant’s The Bicycle Thief & Other Poems

It’s no current reference, but reading Andrew Sant’s recent collection, The Bicycle Thief, Andrew McGahan’s Praise springs to mind. When I studied McGahan’s novel, a more astute student than I pointed out that Gordon’s only romantic relationship was with his car, and that, accordingly, his only romantic response was towards the sad demise of that Holden.

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