Autumn Royal Reviews Martin Langford and Dan Disney

29 February 2016

Disney’s poetry not only offers a representation of transnational spaces. Academic and editor (Jo) You Chengcheng has also translated the poems in this collection into Chinese. Disney’s book is part of the ongoing Australian Pocket Poets Series by Flying Island Books edited by poet and academic Christopher (Kit) Kelen. This poetry book series literally expands the readership for Australian poetry and pushes against language barriers by providing readers with parallel translations. Currently the series has focused on connections between Australian and Chinese writers, but the series is expanding with additional books in more bilingual translations.

As Harrison points out, land and ideas of country may be ‘active and malleable’ as well as ‘oneiric and ancestral’. While they take on varied approaches, Langford’s and Disney’s poetries recognise the impossibility of neutral spaces both real and imagined, and use language to interrupt comfortable understandings of country, history and identity. Both these writers realise that poetry may cause friction and unsettle seemingly impenetrable foundations. While it can be difficult to maintain a balance on unstable surfaces, slippages and disruptions can be vital for forming new understandings of histories – especially for those who have been silenced – and allow for the reshaping of identities.

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About Autumn Royal

Autumn Royal is a poet, researcher and teacher based in Narrm/Melbourne. Her current research examines elegiac expression in contemporary poetry. She is interviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review, editor of Liquid Architecture’s Disclaimer journal, and author of the poetry collection She Woke & Rose. Her second collection of poetry is forthcoming with Giramondo Publishing.

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