michael farrell

‘Bombala Boss’: Harry Reid in Conversation with Michael Farrell

How on earth to interview Michael Farrell? I once introduced Farrell at a reading as one of my ‘top five dead or alive’ Australian poets. I still believe this to be true. I once watched him eat a falafel during the open mic section of a poetry reading in Sydney. Once, while driving the work van, I saw Farrell on the way to the pool and honked the horn, realising later he’d have no idea it was me. What does this all mean?

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The Stakes of Settlement: Fences in Ned Kelly and Michael Farrell

Signalling possession, privatisation, and productivity, the fence was one of the main props by which a cadastral grid (comprised of adjoining rectangular land parcels) was imposed on the Australian landscape.

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Joel Ephraims Reviews Ashbery Mode Edited by Michael Farrell

The presence of John Ashbery shines over contemporary literature, for many as an enigma, indisputably as a catalyst. Part of the post-World War II wave of new American poetry, his name is grouped not just alongside his contemporary poets but among their literary schools and movements: the L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E school, the New York School, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beats, the Black Mountain poets, our own ’68ers and J.A.

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Never Be Alone Again: Hip-Hop Sampling as a Technique in Contemporary Australian Poetry

One of those most important battles of hip-hop’s first two decades wasn’t waged between two MCs at a cypher. And it wasn’t a couple of b-boy crews popping and locking at a block party. Instead, it pitted a hip-hop clown against a puffy-sleeved Irish balladeer.

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A Deaf Rough Trade: Defending Poetry to ‘regular people’

The poem is from page 37 of Michael Farrell’s latest collection, I Love Poetry. The poem on page 37 has no title, so I will refer to it from here on out as ‘37’. Not only is 37 untitled, but it is also without words.

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Knitting A Poem By The Hoover Dam

Knitting a poem for Husker Du by the Hoover Dam And other monuments. The poem looks like a bee (to Knit Keatsianly). Knitting poems by the Harbour Bridge, letting moisture into the wool As it rises, as it sprays from …

Posted in 88: TRANSQUEER | Tagged

Mysteries of the South Coast

We all need a methodology to live by To take just one example, Catholics are rarely ashed on on the sports field, but public life is another matter. Such unfortunate exhibitions are not beyond the episteme of The Sorrowful Cappuccino, …

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Three Trees

You I put the old apple pie at your roots I try to make you worth searching for, in the blah- blah forest But I’m not sure if I’m trustworthy / ranger material Digital harmony, now that’s something worth striving …

Posted in 83: MATHEMATICS | Tagged


The radio, for the serial, ’s propped against a turnip to maximise reception It’s a kind of stereo for the neighbour My very head’s a paddock he says checking a hedge for catching pricks He’s been crutching poems since six …

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Or this – I have an autistic child, and when she repeats the whole Catholic Mass at lunch the medical team call it echo- lalia. Dock their lunch says Bruce, say hello to reverse red tape prejudice The trees won’t …

Posted in 78: CONFESSION | Tagged

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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Michael Farrell Reviews Philip Hammial

Poems don’t need condescension any more than we do. If we pick up a book and the poems come to life only at a certain page, maybe it’s our brain that needed a refresh. Philip Hammial is certainly up for a refresh of everyday culture: of foodie-ness, for one, such as in the high school project scene of ‘The Float’, where food is garbage and his art teacher gives him an A; or the vegetables of death in ‘The Vehicle of Precious Little’. There are enough stories in his poetry – represented here through a selection from twenty-five collections – to replace a whole bookshelf of novels.

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‘I Love You’ and ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ Meet at Daisy Bates’

A solid phrase can be hard to grasp. I can say it and mean it here but not there, where Daisy Bates is a conduit. Places where Peter Allen irons the Dadaist blue skies, with the Nolans and a few …

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Michael Farrell Reviews Grant Caldwell

Publishing a selected poems is an act of confidence. While no one who writes poems would want to be judged on their worst effort, a selection suggests these are the poems that – if readers must judge – the poet be judged upon. The act is, however, doubly denied by Caldwell in the qualified title, Reflections of a Temporary Self, and by the front cover author photo: is he asleep or isn’t he? The I-don’t-necessarily-give-a-fuck attitude is part of the package. I qualify the attitude because Caldwell, in producing an eighth book (consisting of poems from six previous books and new poems), clearly does give one.

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Matthew Hall Reviews Writing Australian Unsettlement

In his essay on Charles Olson, ‘Open Field Poetics and the Politics of Movement’, David Herd bridges the geopolitical gulf between Hannah Arendt’s conception of ‘statelessness’ and Giorgio Agamben’s ongoing inquiry into the state of exception, biopolitics and nationhood. Herd contends that:

… [f]or complex and evolving reasons, the modern political state has become, by the early part of the Twentieth Century, synonymous with the idea of nation. The consequence of this was that citizenship came to be identified with national affiliation. Simply put, to fall outside of one national jurisdiction was to fall outside of all jurisdictions.

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Put Your Helmet On

get your chewing Gum. get Time like a Man in a tin Frock. in the Field, the naked Butterfly is fending off the Microscope. a giant Sunflower is roaring Seeds at the Enemy. it’s Autumn, and the carrot Pickers bend …

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2015 Val Vallis Winners

Winner: ‘Precedent‘ by Andrew Last That rare thing: a non-ponderous sonnet sequence full of surprising imagery, humour and light touches. The poet is obviously at home with the form, the way they vary stanzas and run meaning from one sonnet …

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War Doesn’t Happen

Face that way and walk out of the building. Face that way and walk out of the room. Keep it comic or dramatic – just not tragic. Separation of drone and you. Separation of drone and you No revisiting past …

Posted in 70: UMAMI | Tagged

Michael Farrell Reviews Hong Ying, Translated by Mabel Lee

Hong Ying’s I Too Am Salammbo is a selection of poems from 1990-2012, based on a Chinese selection published in 2014. Though almost all the poems contain conceptual, or imagistic, interest (bar some of the ‘city’ poems: ‘Berlin’, ‘London’, etc.), the formal repetition gets a bit wearing.

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Cordite Book Launch: Loney, Gibson, Hawke, Harkin

Collected Works Bookstore, Wednesday 6 May, 2015 I will begin with a bit of spontaneous resentful metaphysics. I am sorry to do so, for a number of reasons, but there we are. If it can be justified at all, it …

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Sid Vicious Underlined by the Tiber

He walks in rubbish like the street. Having risen from The waters like a painter and left his work for the less Nice people to observe. The sea would be punk but’s Too major You Embrace Apollinaire Like a Problem …

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Introduction to Alan Loney’s Crankhandle

Cover design by Zoë Sadokierski

Since moving from New Zealand to Australia back in 2001, Alan Loney has carried on a prolific, internationally recognised career in Melbourne. Crankhandle, Loney’s latest published work, follows on from 2014’s chapbook collaboration with Max Gimblett, eMailing flowers to Mondrian, and the books from Five Islands Press, Nowhere To Go (2007) and Fragmenta Nova (2005). Borrowing his contemporary Laurie Duggan’s term, Loney can be read as a ‘late objectivist’: worrying at that particular American formal legacy, with its attendant philosophical and ethical concerns.

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The National as A Way of Interpreting My Favourite Martian

I’m thinking about how I understand you; if garages or Martian food were made illegal. If I name George by looking at Nigel. I look at Nigel: I look at night. Like a storybook, yet much more visceral I get …

Posted in 66: OBSOLETE | Tagged

Duncan Hose Reviews Best Australian Poems 2014

Being in and of one’s time (in favour of it, in fact) means producing work that is sensitive to the discursive furies of the day – the atmosphere of mutating code that the poet must stick to poems in new and strange forms. All else is nostalgia and denial. No-one knows what it means that Australia’s imperial republic, whose god has finally been revealed as cosmopolitan capitalism, is, in the history of colonies, still in its infancy yet so impressively seems to be approaching an end of days. If you’ve got burnt chaps and a warm six-shooter (cowgirl), these are exciting times.

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