Michael Aiken

The Secret Council of Raphael and Michael

A secret cave in the glacial wastes of gas and air stretching beyond all comprehending: a light, tiny, unwavered, the faint glow a beacon to that chiefest coven of principals, prior to the fall the greatest array of lordly wings …

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Michael Aiken Reviews Dave Drayton

Dave Drayton’s Haiturograms is a brief but confounding volume, available as a free PDF download and print-to-order book from Sydney-based SOd press. Like Drayton’s other work, HaiturogramS is driven by formal constraint and innovation within that constraint.

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Michael Aiken Reviews Monty Reid

Composed of nine distinct sections, Canadian poet Monty Reid’s Meditatio Placentae is more like a collection of chapbooks than individual poems. Most of those nine sections have previously appeared as separate publications, and each certainly works as a discrete sequence. The whole is loosely held together by a combination of mundane subjects and a nightmare-like, alien perceptiveness; rather than building a continuous collection, the sections create a context of transition from one mode to another.

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Michael Aiken Reviews Duncan Hose

The bio of Duncan Bruce Hose describes the Australian poet as coming from ‘the softslang line of the chansonnier, whose reference points range between Trefoil Island, Melbourne and Coney Island.’ In Bunratty, his third collection, that ‘softslang line’ delivers a suite of deftly composed (post)modernist folk songs, characterised by a highly idiosyncratic orthography and a preoccupation with sex and booze.

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Michael Aiken Reviews Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu is a prolific writer whose combination of occupations – poet, novelist, translator, academic – gives some context to this book’s obsessive engagement with word, language and meaning. His biographical note mentions that he came to Australia at the age of 35, and there’s a pervasive trope in Fainting with Freedom of a stranger-in-a-strange-land’s curiosity for the materiality of language and its malleability: something akin to what Kerouac once alluded to when he described his relationship to English – a language he didn’t learn until he was eight – as a tool he could very consciously manipulate as necessary for effect and meaning.

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Oliver Shaw Reviews Michael Aiken

Reading Michael Aiken’s A Vicious Example is like walking out of the pub and wandering city streets at 4 am, half-drunk and in sub-conscious wonder. The strangeness of it all: What year is it again? Where are we? Aiken’s collection is fragmented, forming thought-voices into obscure imagery that settles and unsettles on the mind. Aiken’s voice is lethargic, hopeless. There is only one narrative to this text that I can find, which from the beginning locates us and the poems in the Australian city. In the opening poem Aiken welcomes us to ‘come and see …’ what the rest of the country looks like after colonisation’s ‘Theft by Discovery’.

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Michael Aiken Reviews Louis Armand

The title of this book is an early manifestation of its endless intertextual referencing, as well as one example of the author's restrained penchant for relatively silly puns. It is also an understatement of the viciousness of some of this poetry.

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