Will we miss nature, asks Em König in Breathing Plural? In ‘dreams of stale breath’, maybe. Or ‘in another life, on another planet … maybe’ (echoing The Only Ones’ only hit). Glenn Albrecht says in Earth Emotions, ‘It [nature] effectively no longer exists’.
I’ve noticed that Prithvi Varatharajan thinks carefully about offering a true gesture, word or position in every social exchange. I sense that, for him, all communication is an art defined by authenticity rather than decadence. His reflective nature is continuous with the character of the poetics in Entries.
John Mukky Burke – one of my favourite philosophers – is the most underrated poet in Australia. His usual lacerating intelligence and empathy are here in this sensational collection, but ‘exuberance’ is the word that keeps occurring to me as I read. Burke is a poet who, in maturity, has shed many masks and is the better for it.
This book is titled Labour and Other Poems. Just as Astrid Lorange speaks of building a poetics – intensive and intentional – as a way of perceiving the world of relations in their shadow, every poem here requests an attentiveness to the multiple relations of our lives, to the entwining of senses and references.
BUY YOUR COPY HERE Caren Florance works in the Venn overlaps of text art, visual poetry and creative publishing. Her work is hard to pin down, principally because the artist herself is not interested in a static outcome. Much of …
BUY YOUR COPY HERE Philosophical questions of reality and duality underpin many of the poems in Zenobia Frost’s After the Demolition, leading to a sense of rebuilding and remembrance in the aftermath of abodes. The potency of houses is a …
Since Charmaine Papertalk Green’s poetry was first published in The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets in 1986, her voice on the page has been consistent: eloquently powerful, respectfully challenging and true to her role in life as a Yamaji Nyarlu.
Read. This is poetry. Both a praise and a lament for Country. Read. There is little like it. Australia struggles with an embrace of the past, but Louise Crisp does not flinch from the intimacy of fact.
Photo by Gen Ackland. BUY YOUR COPY HERE Marjon Mossammaparast’s That Sight offers us a wide-ranging series of viewpoints, taking the reader through various locations and histories. It zooms out to cosmological heights, and even beyond to God (or the …
There’s a difference between occupying a seemingly unceasing parade of subject positions through a kind of colonising, thieving, dissipatory borderlessness … and inhabiting them as a form of aesthetic and political revolt.
Helen Lambert’s work is as new to me as it will be to others – she has been operating away from Australian poetry for some time, with long periods in Ireland and, lately, Russia. One approaches a new poet warily. Yet the inventive and capable intelligence behind the poems here is immediately apparent. It is wonderful to be able to drop one’s guard, to forget it – and to enter a wonderful world.
Justice for Romeo, as a title, will seem both accurate and misleading for most readers; this is a book decidedly concerned with justice, and Siobhan Hodge’s sense of ethical responsibility pervades the poems. Hodge’s book includes as epigraph the exchange between Romeo and a servant in Act I, Scene ii of the most famous love story of all time; the servant asks, ‘I pray, can you read any thing you see?’, to which Romeo replies, ‘Ay, if I know the letters and the language.’
Lindsay Tuggle’s poetry is uncomfortable to read: the discomforts one feels in reading her work are the very thing that make it memorable. At once immensely personal, ornate, and unapologetically embedded in female experience, it is a style unconcerned with irony or terseness. It is a verse informed by the still-alive alternative histories of the American South and haunted by the Southern Gothic literature that these histories inform.
Pascalle Burton’s About the Author is Dead refers to, and opens with an epigraph from, Roland Barthes’s seminal essay, ‘The Death of the Author’. Inside the collection, we find not one author but many: David Byrne and Grace Jones, Miranda July and Jacques Derrida; authors who are filmmakers, authors who are poets, philosophers and musicians.
In Walk Back Over, Wiradjuri woman – read: poet, academic, historian, teacher – Jeanine Leane takes off our wallpaper to reveal the personal and political layers of a nuanced history.
What is happening in these poems? Or do I mean what happens to us, the readers? But which ‘us’? And what reader? I am not really talking about feeling, although who couldn’t, wouldn’t, feel when ‘School Days’ – a poem that records every detail of white skin and soul, sun-warmed government-issue school milk and British ritual in one colonial Australian home – has another child, likely an Indigenous Australian child, stolen ‘while waiting for a train’.
The greatest thing, writes Aristotle in the Poetics, is the command of metaphor, an eye for resemblances. The first overt metaphor in Tanya Thaweeskulchai’s A Salivating Monstrous Plant appears in its second sentence: ‘These noises conglomerate, building like a nest of waking vipers’.
A first book of poems needs no introduction, being its own forerunner. As a consequence, this note merely states the obvious: that Broede Carmody is a young writer with a great lyrical talent.
Fruit is the apogee of the pastoral. It’s what the work, the waiting, the ritual and the thanks are for. But the making of fruit is costly and even the ‘natural’ cycle of things will be managed so some factors are privileged over others. In this cycle of post-lyrical poems, Hall questions the form and circumstances of these factors. What are they?
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Mez Breeze’s mezangelle language needed explication. People who were unfamiliar with internet and new media culture did not get the references. Those who were already immersed in this culture often considered it a separate realm, a cyberspace, and thus had difficulties with the blending of the digital and the physical, technology and embodiment, code and subjectivity in Mez’s writings.
The Only White Landscape is melancholic, in this Wilsonian sense. The poems are scenes of ambivalence and loss, moving between states of recollection and projection, regret and desire, clarity and obscurity. There are preoccupations that link the poems across the collection: bodies (and the clothes they wear, the language of their presence and absence), light (and its close relationship to time), administration (and the twin labours of work and home).
Omar Sakr’s These Wild Houses is a complex exploration of identity, an identity exposed in clear yet layered language, a language that takes us to the core of what he has experienced as a ‘queer Muslim Arab Australian from Western Sydney, from a broke and broken family.’
How can one write words about a poet? Last year, Kris Hemensley and I considered Émile Chartier (Alain)’s assertion that ‘men are afraid to complete their thoughts’, on our way to visit Greta Berlin, whom I had first met in Zennor as a small child and whose father, Sven Berlin, had enthralled a young Kris Hemensley in 1963 with the accoutrements of the artist and his first taste of red wine. And down by the harbour in Weymouth, we had already discovered a shared admiration for W S Graham. A framework was emerging.
Chris Mann read at Melbourne’s La Mama in the early 1970s, where he first impressed me as a bold exponent of a sort of critical, larrikin and compositional linguistics, and seemed very much at home in the theatre’s performance space, with its nascent egalitarian ethos. Some listeners I noticed may have been equally perplexed as intrigued by his well-timed delivery, his knowingly artful shtick and highly patterned patter.