Anthony Lawrence

Review Short: Anthony Lawrence’s Headwaters

Headwaters is Anthony Lawrence’s fifteenth collection and his first with Pitt Street Poetry, whose website memorably suggests the humble reader should ‘Find yourself a shot glass, take a seat, and take a shot.’ This is the first time I’ve seen a publisher suggest their books be read thus, though in their defence, they do so in relation to lines from Lawrence’s ‘Wax Cathedral’. Ah well, when in Rome … a thimble of Lagavulin scotch as required and I’m finally ready to review. Non-drinkers may read on as they are.

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In a country town, the doors and poor boxes of churches left unlocked, I would steal away in cricketing heat. The Baker sisters – veiled spinsters in black, were gardening like keepers of bees and secrets. Inside the church the …

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I did it like you said I would in terms of how we thought things would go accord- ingly. And yes there’s blood in family, love and sport or making from our words a tight, confused assembly of musical notation, …

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Review Short: Anthony Lawrence’s Signal Flare

Signal FlareSome months back, I ended up sitting next to a fairly eccentric white-bearded bloke on a Sydney bus. Upon hearing I was an Australian poetry researcher, my new acquaintance exclaimed ‘Australian poetry!’ with obvious distaste, followed by ‘Fu–ing Anthony Lawrence!’ He went on to detail how feral Aussie upstarts like Lawrence and ‘bloody Adamson’ were bastardising the great tradition of English Romanticism. As he rose to hop off, I asked for his name. He cheerfully declined.

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Review Short: Mark Reid’s Looking out from Bashan: the republic of Og

Looking out from Bashan: the republic of OgMark Reid’s poetry has always delighted and challenged me. His distinctive voice and finely-tuned ear for just the right music has given his work a potency that’s been hard-won. Reid is a craftsman. His tight phrasing and impeccable sense of where to break a line give even his more narrative poems an intense lyrical presence – particularly evident in these marvellous new poems. Reid’s invocation of and ruminations on the biblical giant Og never resort to parody or impose themselves as alternatives to autobiography. It’s hard to pin these poems down, and that’s what makes them so fresh and compelling.

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The Glance Returned

When you are seven years old, lying in the back of a station wagon while your parents play night tennis; when the knowledge that you are going to die one day comes through the rallies, players’ voices, and songs from …

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Chapman River

At dusk, on a narrow path by the Chapman River, trying to locate myself, I peel the skin from a honey-locust thorn, and watch black ants move along a branch. The ants have made a dark stain on the bark …

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