Alice Allan

Alice Allan Reviews Watching the World: Impressions of Canberra

What is it about Canberra that invites so many definitions? Comparing where we live with where we don’t is an Australian fixation, but there’s a specific energy to the way that people with a connection to Canberra go about this – they will start deriding or defending the place minutes after you’re introduced.

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Alice Allan Reviews Lisa Brockwell and Tamryn Bennett

Lisa Brockwell’s Earth Girls and Tamryn Bennett’s phosphene are both compelling first collections in their own right. Reading them side-by-side, however, an equally compelling contrast emerges. Where Brockwell looks for clarity and direct engagement with her audience, Bennett invites interpretation, offering many clues and few concrete answers. This contrast reveals something else: the strengths of one approach do not threaten, or cancel out, those of the other.

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Alice Allan Reviews Rabbit, Verge and Cuttlefish

The Australian poetry scene, however you define it, is definitely thriving. So much so that it sometimes causes consternation. Perhaps you’ve been there at a poetry gathering or launch when someone wonders aloud whether, ‘thriving’ is one step removed from ‘overgrown’ – whether this healthy scene is actually in need of some ruthless pruning.

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The Quiet Man

If I told you, I was lying. I’ve never seen past your front door. The quiet man in the kitchen sings this is all my business. I’ve never seen past your front door and I still forget your birthday. This …

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Alice Allan Reviews Nola Firth, Richard James Allen, Liz McQuilkin, Sandra Thibodeaux, and Wendy Fleming

Whether new or established, it’s part of a poet’s work to ask: How far can my words go; how much can they capture; where are their limits? The five Australian poets reviewed here each have their own methods of asking these questions. As a reader and writer of poetry I’ve learned a lot from the sometimes quiet, sometimes bold and always courageous ways they’ve answered them.

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Ordinary soul stands up to trace a pattern the length of a cracked planet with no good excuse follows the crush of mountains along coin-coloured ocean you do the reading mark the margin lucky red watch the paragraphs turn out …

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