- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
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’.
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.