Poetry might be whispering these days, but only fools fail to hear it. The whisper might be the tough sibilance of protest, it might be the swirl of nostalgia for what will soon be lost and irretrievable, it might be the resilient, gnomish murmur that tells of what cannot be suppressed, and cannot either ever be quite directly expressed. And so, Huginn and Muninn open Libby Hart’s new collection of poetry.
2014 intercepted electronic communications, DOD… aphorism identified as a threat to national security. The aphorism envies the novel, the novel, of course, envies the haiku and the haiku envies the brief life of the leaf. – Gen PJ Burke, U.S. …
Poetry collections aren’t prone to extensive reprints, so Kevin Brophy’s Walking, – which includes selections from five previous books – is somewhat of a trove for anyone wanting to access his earlier work. It also features a suite of new poems which, in their gentle complexity, are among his most interesting – testimony to a writer who’s carefully honed his craft over a 30-year stretch.
In a 2007 review of one of Geoff Page’s previous verse novels, Lawrie & Shirley, Peter Goldsworthy names Page as a verse-novel ‘multiple offender’ in the excellent company of Murray, Porter, Wearne and Rubinstein. Goldsworthy approaches discussion of the form by reflecting, ‘If poetry is the most ancient literary form, as old as music, then the verse novel is surely the most ancient form of poetry, using the word novel loosely’ (Australian Literary Review, May 2007). The long and respectable polygamous marriage of poetry with narrative and history was, we might say, dissolved during the Romantic period, allowing the novel to find its ecological niche – and more than a niche, a whole territory.
Radar. Green blips on a black screen. A large and vulnerable craft navigating a changeable world. A technological attempt to locate an invisible danger, or to give shape to darkness. All these associations emerge out of the poetry of Kevin Brophy and Nathan Curnow in their joint collection Radar, albeit in an intimate mode: these poets observe the ways in which we navigate through our lives in the contemporary world and improvise meaning. It is difficult, though, to talk about ‘the book’ because these two poets differ strikingly in their approaches.
I was out drunk with friends one night in Perth, Western Australia. My father had just died. We were walking home, so to speak, and our path took us past the Church of Christ. At that, I launched myself at the wall of the church, found a toehold and lunged up into the air. I grasped the ‘t’ decal and with all my weight managed to prise it from the wall. The Church of Chris looked down upon us all. I continued on my way home, or rather to here, but not without the occasional somewhat gratified memory of the incident. I cannot help thinking of the sudden appearance of the Church of Chris as a sort of revelation, with something to say about the truth of something. That is what reading Finnegans Wake is like.
The four star fridge is on its side, surprised To find sunlight on its shelves, ice tray dry And its arctic green inside slowly warmed. Hopes once hung with suits in wardrobes are out with posters of the stars we …