Mike Ladd

A Poet’s Progress in the ABC: Reflections on a Life in Radio

On my job application to the ABC in 1983 I mentioned that I was a poet, even though the job advertised was for a purely technical position as a trainee sound engineer.

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The prime-minister’s words fill the air – they hang over the bays, obscure the roads to the little towns, drift between the bridge’s cables. His words turn the sunlight a dirty orange. You need a breathing mask to get through …

Posted in 97 & 98: PROPAGANDA | Tagged

Paleontology Archeology

At twelve, I wanted to be a paleontologist digging up bones in the paddocks round here, easing a scythe of jaw from the creek bank – not Diprotodon, but horse. Still, I remember the thrill carrying it home through that …

Posted in 89: DOMESTIC | Tagged

Sonic Twin? A Poetics of Poetic Radio

When I reflect on the last decade of my engagement with poetry, I hear a presence shadowing many of my encounters. ‘Hear’ is an apt verb, because this presence is aural.

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Undulant pinecone, needle-nose sniffer, I imagine you mountain-size, monstering a city. You are harder to pick up than Hungarian, more stand-offish that a stylite saint. Little high judge in your wig of thorns, its pattern complex as a deal in …

Posted in 86: NO THEME VII | Tagged


At the edge of the caryard the bunting in cloudless air framed by two poles triangular flags clap in the wind lift, flutter, clap again: petro-chemical colours the retina loves the shape, feel and hue of our times styrofoam grains …

Posted in 84: SUBURBIA | Tagged


This curvy horse will gallop in your dreams. The fruit so fat, the watermelon splits with its own weight. Can that parrot even fly? The squishy hands pluck the strings of the guitar? The dancers’ heft makes a slow music. …

Posted in 79: EKPHRASTIC | Tagged

Review Short: Mike Ladd’s Invisible Mending

Adelaide poet, Mike Ladd, is best known for his long-running Poetica program on the ABC’s Radio National (eighteen years all up before its casual destruction in 2014). The breadth of taste and openness to a wide range of influences Ladd displayed in Poetica is also to be found in Invisible Mending, his first poetry collection since Transit in 2007.

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Heather Taylor-Johnson Reviews Mike Ladd

I find it a rare and lovely treat when a poet can become androgynous, or cross over discretely from a masculine voice to one that is feminine. While some of my favourite poets are steeped entirely in one gender or the other and that, indeed, can be their strength, I do want to draw attention to Mike Ladd.

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Magdalena Ball Reviews Mike Ladd

Mike Ladd's poetry works best when it traverses the line between prose and poetry, creating meaning in the face of irony. Simultaneously satiric and poignant, Rooms and Sequences takes the reader to a modernised first century AD through the eyes of an anachronistic Roman functionary, a Kerouac inspired look into life via various hotel rooms `on the road', pain and loss distilled through portentous animals, a series of short stories which look into the heart of loneliness, the human side of politics, and a series of self-referential poems about the writing process.

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One gets sick, the other follows — and drag out blue irises and lines by Tennyson, the only one that really fits: “We know nothing.” When they call for a minute’s silence there’s always some chicken truck roaring past, or …

Posted in 06: NEW POETRY | Tagged

Fishing Shacks

A shocking mismatch of colours, a love of galvo, these bachelor beach pads say “eternal boy” in the boofiest way, sometimes edged with shotgun warnings — the skull and cross bones on the cubby door. A total lack of tizz …

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