Nicholas Powell

Christopher Brown Reviews Pam Brown and Nicholas Powell

The last poem of Pam Brown’s Stasis Shuffle, ‘(fundamentals)’ begins with the lines: “make a distinction / between imagery / & reality” (103). As much as the distinction in question evokes the verisimilitude of the fake, a need to separate unreliable image from truth, Stasis Shuffle’s interest in reality and authenticity goes deeper.

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Vernal Funks & Bluffs

Training wheels won’t help you owe it to yourself Listening for bell-birds along a sagging power stave. If it seems too far-fetched a clue for going about it Bathe and persuade, establish evening routine. If it seeps too far forward …

Posted in 92: NO THEME VIII | Tagged

Function of a Function

A little light on the reckoning stone lets limits become infinite for some value varying with the spheres, whatever the size of the constants. Bending the moment, the body will reach. Approaching zero our next step is to find value …

Posted in 83: MATHEMATICS | Tagged

Flat Pamphlet Chat

The Slow Coach runs hourly for the liturgy and watercolours where the teddy bears’ fur shows how well loved they were. In addition to the sheep-pen and The Best Years of My Life, community singing, appealing figures in traditional dress. …

Posted in 82: LAND | Tagged


You slept on a bench and woke to trace a con- trail to dim rooms where you and I are inseparable. And yet you are alone, staring at wall- paper fairytales, hearing rumours on the lawn, tennis, tinkling cutlery and …

Posted in 70: UMAMI | Tagged

Review Short: Nicholas Powell’s Water Mirrors

Winner of the 2011 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, Water Mirrors is Nicholas Powell’s first full-length collection of poems. Structured around an interweaving of landscapes – some real, others dreamed or imagined – the forty two poems that lead up to ‘The True Map’, the book’s final poem, can read as an exercise in cartography.

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Review Short: B.R. Dionysius’s Bowra

B.R Dionysius’ Bowra is a collection of fifty-two prose sonnets of sustained intensity and engagement with place, from the fringes of southeast Queensland’s urban sprawl, west to Cunnamulla, with excursions to California and Kazakhstan. These poems count the human and environmental cost of various man-made tragedies. The fourteen-line constraint works to unravel an anecdote and/or piece of narrative sequence at once self-contained and part of the larger ambition of the book: to serve as a selective local history. The consistently restive and physical language is as uncompromised, and at times bewildering, as the landscapes and situations it describes.

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Soft Classic

New room. Pillows thumped into shape. Twilight, pink and slim as hotel soap unwrapped and lathered, shrinks. From the bed, two small windows, one above the other, separated by a strip of wall which breaks the contained palm in two. …

Posted in 54: TRANSPACIFIC | Tagged

Why Islands

For our next trick we disfigure the puma. O to be marooned with Ginger or Calypso. You have committed a horrible act involving an orange. Cheerio black sheep, dark horse, sore thumb. Go hunt coconut with slingshot, prize silence, imbibe …

Posted in 54: TRANSPACIFIC | Tagged

Postcards from ‘The Neon Cactus’

I ‘Mother me, sunlight’. Fashionable mantras pass the time from one damp hand to the other, anesthetizing the old embarrassments I am writing you in order to water down. The hotelier has me make up the rooms, tart up the …

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This issue is a poetic conversation between a source poem and ten poems found from within its lines. It’s a refraction of language and image through poetic prisms, an intersection of the familiar and unfamiliar, blurring the edges through the 11 authors’ interpretations.

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Q, Without My Female Typist

          I believe I was the first to see the possibility of pulling up the             timber and opening up this land.                                         -J. Bjelke-Petersen. At the window ledge, meadow-edge, misreading Tranströmer: ‘The mind wind walks in the pine forest’. wind ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ mind …

Posted in 51: GIBBERBIRD | Tagged

Nicholas Powell Reviews Grant Caldwell

glass clouds by Grant Caldwell Five Islands Press, 2010 For nearly three decades Grant Caldwell has been writing some of the more interesting and fearless poetry in Australia. A relentless observer of the absurd and odd, Caldwell’s predominant tone has …

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My foot on the wood and the heat surging through it seems a bourgeois grandeur here in the public sauna. A long way from the hot bitumen of home. I am no exile, though I doubt I belong here in …

Posted in 35: CUSTOM | Tagged


Looking out across paddocks I fall silent. Here is the expanse I wanted inside myself. I am looking forward to an unbroken horizon the sun has disappeared behind. Say, I try to fly there, opening and closing a little wingspan …

Posted in 33: PASTORAL | Tagged

Variations in the Pupils

Say it is a pink deceit, the dawn sky, a trick of light and atmosphere shaped in the eye. The outlook varies depending on whose eye we look through. Yet for every eye it is true enough, trawling over peculiar …

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Late Winter

Sunday night. Faint sirens paint the town. I am thinking of the forest at the city limits, of tall pines creaking in the still air. How long they have stood there waiting for the osprey to return and fix their …

Posted in 31: SECRET CITIES | Tagged

Nick Powell Reviews Robert Hass

'Poets are turtles', the American poet William Matthews once remarked, meaning that with few exceptions, the good ones mature slowly, often producing strong verse into their sixties, an age that he, unfortunately, didn't reach. Matthews shared with Robert Hass a rare skill for the long, intricately made, rhythmic lyric, which Hass has been perfecting for over thirty years.

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