Emma Rooksby

Michael Farrell Reviews Fremantle Poets 1: New Poets

There is an apt awkwardness and uncertainty in all three poets – Emma Rooksby, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, J.P. Quinton – here: in the expression of sentiment (‘Preparations’, Rooksby), in the use of syntax (Mitchell) and archaisms like ‘verily’ (Quinton). All three are skilled poets, but they are new, and there is a sense that they are still trying things out. As editor Tracy Ryan writes, the three are ‘extremely diverse in tone and approach’ and this diversity is pronounced in a way that would be tempered were there more poets in the book. Ryan’s selected poets represent three modes, rather than merely variety itself. This is not a sampler, however, but three books in one, and perhaps not designed to be read sequentially.

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South from Belconnen

The sign among the trees says City, points into drifts of sclerophyll and scrub to a fanfare of parrots, crickets, cockatoos. There's a scenic drive up a hill, a kiosk, a carpark, a view. There's a museum, no make that …

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The water's bobbing higher against the markers; it's no longer safe to drive the underpass, where we'd disturb the drowned body of a fox. Having always dreamed the ocean would rise and infiltrate the city by the cuttings you hang …

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