Ali Alizadeh

Joan of Arc

She and the fire fight adjectives. Their concreteness deflects reification by language. She simply is a pronoun. It may signify say, my wife (coming from me 'she' often does) or, yes a medieval French woman, her being so roughly abridged …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Bronwyn Lea and Kevin Hart

One of the most prominent features of these two recent titles – by two of Australia's most successful poets, published by one of the country's most exciting literary publishers – is their emphasis on the erotic. By engaging with unambiguously sexual themes and imagery, Bronwyn Lea and Kevin Hart have produced texts that beguile and entertain their reader through the evocation of, or a yearning for, romance and sensuality, whilst also running the risk of reducing allusion and openness in meaning by describing a definite, rather familiar, concept.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Philip Mead

Once every decade, it seems, a scholar succeeds in writing an all-encompassing account of the practice and development of poetry in modern Australia. The 1980s saw Andrew Taylor's Reading Australian Poetry; and in the 1990s we had Paul Kane's Australian Poetry: Romanticism and Negativity. Now, Philip Mead, senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania's School of English, Journalism and European Languages, has provided what is perhaps the most ambitious and provocative overview of the agonistic and at times conflicting discourses of Australian poetry in the 20th century.

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Hidden Signs of a City

How does one read a city? More specifically, how does a poet decode, and in turn re/present, the language of a man-made space? In Australia (and other 'New World' constructs) much poetry has been devoted to the natural world; but …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Charles Simic

An interesting aspect of Serbian-born Charles Simic's being chosen as the United States' 15th Poet Laureate is that Simic, partly due to his experience of a European childhood during the Second World War, has often been something of an 'anti-war' poet. What makes this dimension of Simic's work somewhat odd is that the United States is, of course, currently engaged in an interminable 'war on terror'.

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The Suspect

Over there, in the Other land, I was gharb-zadeh, Farsi to the effect of west- smitten. Over here, in 'Our' land, I am Muslim immigrant, nomenclature with grave allusions: unemployment, anger, and unpredictable police attention. Over there I was an …

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Dimitris Tsaloumas

In a recent article titled 'Only Pinter remains to question authority', English literary theorist and thinker Terry Eagleton bemoans the decline of politically-engaged writing in English. He criticises, among others, the once radical, now conservative migrant writers like V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie who, after an initial period of producing exciting work, have become 'more interested in adopting than challenging the conventions of their place of refuge'.

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Heather Taylor-Johnson Reviews Luis Gonzalez Serrano and Ali Alizadeh

If Australian poetry is meant to reflect the lives and times of the people who inhabit this red and green land and its blue surf turf, then it is essential that the diminutive canon embrace the émigrés. They are the voices of a multi-culturally inclusive (or exclusive, as sometimes the case may be) society and what is truly unique is that they have a certain amount of inherent distance from the Australian culture which enables them to go where others have not the means to consider.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Anthony Joseph

One of the great challenges facing artists from post-colonial and/or ethnic minority backgrounds is meeting the demands of two potentially conflicting ideals. As surrogate – and often unwilling – cultural ambassadors, such artists are required to be 'responsible' and represent the reality of their communities/ethnicities for a mainstream Western audience; but as artists they need to be adequately 'irresponsible' in order to produce provocative new works that do not merely replicate but (as Russian Formalists would have it) violate reality.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Ian McBryde and Tim Sinclair

Two recent Australian poetry titles – one from a 'cult' adult (and at times 'adults only') poet, another from a newcomer writing for 'young adults'; the former published by a new small press and the latter by one of the world's most recognisable publishing empires; the former experimental and minimalist and the latter conventional and extensive; and so on – offer formally different yet discursively complimentary views of the state of the poetic word.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Mohsen Soltany Zand

There is a spectre haunting Australian poetry – it is the spectre of spoken word. The explosion of spoken word publications (mostly in the form of CDs) and live events (such as poetry soirees, 'slams' and 'open microphones') across Australia's poetry scene over the past decade or so may in due course determine the future of Australian poetry.

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Wandering in Wuhan

I am astounded to find that ancient and medieval poetry occupies a uniquely central presence in Wuhan's contemporary identity; that, in spite of ideological and legal issues and restrictions, new cutting-edge poetry grows across China's cyberspace; and that all of this is happening in spite of a rapid, and some might say rabid, modernisation and commercialisation.

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Writer in Prison

Your cell is a cavern; the guards grinding teeth outside your grotto marginally refined ape-men; you the last human in the world of triumphant beasts. Is your pen the key to emancipation? No. The lock has no keyhole and welded …


Call Me Filth

Ali Alizadeh is Cordite's reviews editor.


Ali Alizadeh Reviews Geoff Goodfellow

The concept of working-class poetry may seem like an oxymoron to the uninitiated. Isn't poetry, after all, as Harold Bloom would have it, “the crown of imaginative literature”; an elitist, royalist member of the family of letters, on par with other 'high art' and upper-class forms and genres such as Classical music, opera and ballet?

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Paul Mitchell Reviews Pushing Words

“Pushing Words”, a poetry reading held as part of the Castlemaine State Arts Festival, featured Melbourne poets Dorothy Porter, Ian McBryde, Lauren Williams, Kevin Brophy, Ali Alizadeh, Jennifer Harrison and Myron Lysenko.

Organiser Ross Donlon promoted the event as a chance to catch top poets who you'd never see reading together on the one bill. Each poet gave a strong performance, no doubt influenced by the company around them.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Ouyang Yu

´Multiculturalism', when all has been said and (often very little) has been done about it, remains a difficult, even paradoxical, idea. It is an English-language term invented by, and used for the purposes of, the dominant Anglo-Celtic culture; yet it supposedly represents the reality of being from the ´minor' cultures that, at least in Australia, do not have English as a first language.

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews Ian McBryde

In the media release for Ian McBryde's latest collection, Domain, Peter Porter states that World War II and the Holocaust &#151 the content of McBryde's collection &#151 have been “subjects defiant of poetry”. Here, I think, Porter is trying to make a claim for this collection's uniqueness.

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