John Mateer

Christopher Brown Reviews John Mateer

Of the 62 sonnets that make up John Mateer’s João, 58 are given to ‘Twelve Years of Travel’ and only four to the second and final section, ‘Memories of Cape Town’. This weighting emphasises travel not so much as the mode of exception but as regular or even habituated experience, while suggesting only a marginal place for the ‘home’ of Mateer’s South African origins.

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Jennifer Mackenzie Reviews John Mateer

A defining scene in Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel, Arus Balik (Cross-currents), portrays the moment in 1511 when colonial power came to the Southeast Asian archipelago. In the following passage about the fall of Malacca, Pramoedya presents a society unaware (or ‘becalmed’ as Pramoedya puts it) of what is about to confront it.

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Unbidden: Settler Poetry in the Presence of Indigenous Sovereignty

Influenced and shaped by some fifty years of Indigenous poetry in English, the last couple of decades of Australian settler poetry have advanced prolific attempts to ‘write (oneself) into the country’ (Van Teeseling 209): producing varied and sometimes radical poetries of regionality, topography, climate, and the histories, narratives and landmarks running through and over them.

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead

As Feature Reviews Editor and sometime reviewer for Cordite Poetry Review it is an unusual (and therefore fun) privilege to consider a title in which poetry is critically addressed in the company of other forms. Too often it is it either quarantined within poetry-only criticism, or mentioned as an embarrassing aside to discussions of prose.

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Sonnet from João of iGoli

Sublime, as the cliché would have that aria, at breakfast in a Brisbane cafe. Which? João can’t remember the opera, though he does, well, the Singaporean poet Cyril, the singer. Years later João would read, when young, he had been …

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I.M. Tomaž Šalamun (4 July 1941- 27 December 2014)

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The War Hero and His Poem

Photo by Kent MacCarter On the weekend after Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, announced that the Australian Defence Force would be assisting the US forces in attacking ISIS, the war hero Ben Roberts-Smith was featured in the magazine section …

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E is for Errand (East Coast of Africa)

Introduction ‘E is for Errand’ is an extract from the draft of a libretto named The Bones of the Epic. As it stands, it is a work from regress – not in progress. Regress because the current text is a …

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Lucy Van Reviews John Mateer

In his two most recent books, the prolific John Mateer presents work developed over the long haul. His concluding essay in Unbelievers is a reflection on the seven years of writing behind that body of work, and Emptiness emphasises in its subtitle the 14-year scope of that collection. Despite the years of writing they represent, both collections bear a freshness of focus, expressed through Mateer’s formulation: ‘the irony of Elsewhere’.

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David Shook Interviews John Mateer

I first met John Mateer in London, at a reading at PEN International’s Free the Word! festival, where the international outlook of his poetry intrigued me. We corresponded regularly by email from that point forward, both of us often on the road, discussing poetry, translation, and travel.

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Nativism and the Interlocutor

He couldn’t remember having read the Lorca poem before, but he must have as the parallel between the two poems was too great to be coincidental, besides, he had certainly read the book years ago.

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Adam Aitken Reviews John Mateer

Southern Barbarians is a book that explores both the colonised and the colonizing impulse through the inflections of the Portuguese epic Os Lusíadas by Camões, the explorer/soldier/poet-traveller and heroic poet of the Portuguese. The book ranges from Lisbon to Macao, taking in Indonesia, Malaysia, Warrnambool, and Japan on the way. This is a world where African businessmen in Macao see ‘African wildlife’ in a travel agent’s window, in an image of savannah they are no closer to than the Macanese.”

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Ali Alizadeh Reviews John Mateer

Since the publication of his startling first collection Burning Swans in 1989, John Mateer has established himself as one of the key Australian poets who, for the absence of a better term, can be broadly labelled post-Generation of ’68. What my clumsy terminology seeks to indicate is that Mateer (alongside other younger poets such as those appearing in the seminal 2000 anthology Calyx) follows in the general direction of earlier innovators while making crucial, although not necessarily generational, departures.

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Towards Wilpena Pound, South Australia

When salt- and bluebush country gives way to the small yellow constellations of wattle, the mind enters existence.Then native pines stand, where rabbits had cleared the undergrowth and where they themselves were wiped out by an island virus, echoing plantations. …

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On the Train to Geelong

The train pulls us along. Who knows the difference between travelling and waiting. The window has a flat tawny landscape. Einstein has the clock. Factories muddy with rust and pastures fenced by threads of sunlight tear past our eyes. The …

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The Norm

But when I saw her ‘my first fuck’ in the supermarket both of us doing our weekly chore the place polished by fluoro-green was not so much a maze as a gallery of itemized lust. Here’s a black pen, draw …

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