Bev Braune

Review Short: Jordie Albiston’s XIII Poems

XIII PoemsXIII Poems might be seen as a snapshot of what Albiston’s main concerns have been since Botany Bay Document (1996) appeared culminating with, I think, Vertigo (2007). Her publications since the mid-2000s reflect on similar concerns but with more biographical tones. Albiston’s main interests have been history, limitations or framed lives, their voices and interpretations of them, often using easily located words to tie groups of poems (‘heart,’ ‘black,’ and ‘white’ feature in XIII Poems).

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Essentially Human

In the Southern Highlands I think I’ve made a friend on the ground. She tells me the baby inside her has not moved. Her husband doesn’t know how not to smile anymore. The baby is dead but she does not …

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Bev Braune Reviews Kate Lilley

LadylikeKate Lilley’s second collection, Ladylike, is a tightly constructed and complex work on love and language. Reminding me of Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis’ wry, poignant words concerned with Welsh language, use of English and meaning-frauds, Kate Lilley enlivens her readers to assumptions, contradictions and the various erections of judging behaviour that surround the definition of a woman today or in any recent age.

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The Geography Lesson

from Skulváði Úlfr: Legends Skulváði challenges Fossiker in ‘the simple game’1 to win a compass sought after by Sultans They faced the cups. They sowed. They winnowed. Four cards moved. They tilled. Amulets danced. Hunter drew. The Wolf dodged. Less …

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Supra-text Sequences

Image: A series of frames require me to shade some of the evenly-distributed sets-of-3, black or blank. How I apply notions of form (actual space) and appearance (virtual space) to my experience in the world is very much like my …

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Bev Braune Reviews Jill Jones

Dark Bright Doors by Jill Jones Wakefield Press, 2010 An intriguing haphazardness is the first thing that strikes you about the language of Jill Jones’s new book. Dark Bright Doors is at once familiar and strange. The tone is highly …

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So the story goes: Glámis, the bride

So the story goes: Glámis, the bride was a sad one when he was found by the tide veiled seaspray, dead urchins daughter of ambition, queen of blood sickened by the dark fate of her deepest love Sickened with herself. …

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from Skulváði Úlfr: The Legend of the Son of Nadlan the Rus’

So the story goes: Glámis, the bride

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Bev Braune Reviews David Malouf

width=150 class=”alignleft” vspace=5 hspace=5 />Revolving Days: Selected Poems by David Malouf

University of Queensland Press, 2008

In the very appropriately titled Revolving Days, David Malouf has put together a selection of poems that addresses the past, place and its importance to self-definition, the memory of houses emptied of family and objects yet full of what's left behind and filling up the present. The poems exhibit a quality which, with political comments more subtle than Les Murray's and longings less romanticised than Robert Adamson's, declares that the places where the emotions taken from another world rendezvous are always present and clear in comprehending the discrepancy between place-and-mind and feeling-and-emotion.

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Concentrate on the Utensils’ Constructions

It is not uncommon to accept dinner invitations here. An evening with a Chinese ambassador, a Chef and a Snake Charmer is unexpected. The dates are closely timed. Each man wants me for himself. A tour bus arrives to cheer …

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Bev Braune Reviews Angela Gardner

Parts of Speech by Angela Gardner

University of Queensland Press, 2007

Angela Gardner's Parts of Speech shows what a substantial first book of poetry is all about. Gardner has responded, above all, to an ideal opportunity to show what excites her thoughts and propels her into action as a poet. Her ability to turn that initial energy into a form of words both excites and challenges the reader. In this regard, Gardner seems urged to speak about what small actions may be worth pursuing to maintain or re-create a natural and preferred order of events.

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Bev Braune reviews Peter Minter and Nathan Shepherdson

blue grass by Peter Minter

Salt Publishing, 2006

Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror by Nathan Shepherdson

University of Queensland Press, 2006

Peter Minter's latest book blue grass and Nathan Shepherdson's début collection Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror work with extraordinary images to convey the demands made on memory for accuracy in its language. Both poets set out, deliberately, to interrogate such a language and its subsets – naming, recognition, and the calculation and politics of categories. For while as writers and readers, we have limitations on the material claims we can make to increase emotional satisfaction in our lives, we have an unlimited capacity to request answers from what appears to be immaterial – the memory of words spoken by both loved ones in absentia and barely remembered friends. We not only demand these words, but also try to challenge their immateriality with concrete language.

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