Nick Xuereb



Review Short: Holly Isemonger’s Deluxe Paperweight and Jessica Cham’s premium pastoral poetry

Holly Isemonger is a promising new talent and it will be interesting to see her art develop from here. Though this chapbook doesn’t achieve the full potential of its ideas, Isemonger manages to showcase a surprisingly broad range for such a short collection. Like Isemonger, Cham’s poetry is juxtaposed against images, though here they appear to be the author’s original photographs. The poem is written seemingly as part of an email to independent filmmaker, musician, and actor Vincent Gallo.

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Review Short: Louis Armand’s East Broadway Rundown and The Rube Goldberg Variations

Louis Armand’s poetry is unbending in its loyalty to the aesthetic and moral responsibilities of the avant-garde. In these new chapbooks, both published by Vlak Records, Armand mines culture for its buried messages, showing how fraught with uncertain track is any search for truth and authenticity in a world made knowable by language.

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Review Short: Luke Beesley’s Jam Sticky Vision

Luke Beesley’s long-term preoccupations with film, visual art, writing and literature, return to the fore in Jam Sticky Vision, with the poet now expanding the scope of his work to include 90’s alt-rock bands, like Silver Jews and Pavement. With allusions to filmmaker David Lynch and lo-fi rock musician Bill Callahan couched unselfconsciously beside poems about James Joyce or Henri Matisse, Beesley’s poems may seem to be drawn from something of an eclectic palette. What links the poems nicely together, though, is a close examination of the here and now. In the epigraph from John Dos Passos’s essay ‘The Writer as Technician’ (1935) this idea is more precisely expressed as ‘a time of confusion and rapid change like the present, when terms are continually turning inside out and the names of things hardly keep their meaning from day to day’.

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Review Short: Maria Zajkowski’s The Ascendant

The challenge for any author in writing a book about death is to somehow make the subject seem both itself and new at the same time. Death is familiar, but poetry about death should not be. A good poet will give death impact without slipping into easy sentimentalism. Maria Zajkowski – winner of the 2011 and 2012 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize – undoubtedly succeeds in this regard with her debut collection The Ascendant, creating a vulnerable portrait of the poet through evocations of possession and loss.

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