Pam Brown



Introduction to Ross Gibson’s Stone Grown Cold


Cover design by Zoë Sadokierski

The works that Ross Gibson has written and edited over the past thirty years could be classed as political aesthetics. In books like Seven Versions of an Australian Badland, chronicling the wretched historical miscreants of Queensland’s Brigalow country, or 26 Views of the Starburst World: William Dawes at Sydney Cove 1788–1791, speculatively tracing English astronomer William Dawes’s scientific work and his relationship with the Indigenous Eora people of Sydney Harbour in a few late years of the eighteenth century, Ross Gibson’s method is procedural. Seven Versions and 26 Views form a compositional design that he has described as ‘fractal’, allowing unfixed multiple views and patterns. The author’s practice of creative fragmentation, applied to the poems and short prose pieces in this new collection, eschews linearity and dull chronology.

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Fiona Hile Reviews Lionel Fogarty

Lionel G. Fogarty is an indigenous Australian poet who is recognised for the excavation of a poetic space in which, as Michael Brennan has written, ‘his community and culture is recuperated and asserted’ whilst ‘dominant discourses, both political and poetic’ are subverted and destabilised. These qualities make Fogarty’s work difficult to review in a context in which the status of indigenous literature remains, for some institutions at least, seemingly unapproachable.

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Blank lyric

What does the street know? both of its centuries have disappeared this was a manufacturing warehouse now a fitness gym a cafe an imported fancy european bike outlet this was a corner shop the police never come here to this …

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Riposte

Coming back to their neck of the woods, a shout was as good as a wolf and a basket
 as full as a boot full of tarnished medallions
 and useless keys, pugnacious as costume
 on a moonlit patio, swilling prosecco
 …

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Review Short: Beyond the Ohlala Mountains: Alan Brunton, Poems 1968-2002

Beyond the Ohlala MountainsThe mask on the cover of ‘Beyond the Ohlala Mountains’ suggests that there’ll be some odd theatrics inside the book. It’s a plain papier-mâché mask of a slightly jowly head with a bulbous nose and a pair of puckered, pouting, full red lips. What does it express – is it a superior sneer? Is it bourgeois disdain? Is it about to say ‘oh là là’? The mask was made by Sally Rodwell, the now-deceased partner of the New Zealand poet collected here, Alan Brunton. It was made for a theatre work called Cabaret of the Unlikely that was performed three years after Brunton had died at 55, in 2002.

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Justin Clemens Reviews Pam Brown

Home by DarkWhat does it mean to be ‘Home by Dark’? Is it a parental instruction to a potentially wayward child? Is it an expression of relief after a day of threat and uncertainty? Is it a navigational expression, a crepuscular refiguration of ‘North by North-West’? Is it a simple description of an accomplished movement, or another possibility altogether? To open this book is not to find such questions answered; it is rather to move and be moved with and by somebody who, as the epigraph from Kevin Davies has it, is prepared to ‘just keep staring into that English-language night sky.’

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Justin Clemens Reviews Pam Brown and Ken Bolton

Brown and BoltonIf there is one true love in the history of Australian verse, it’s perhaps the love of Pam Brown and Ken Bolton. As you should expect, it’s not a normal kind of love at all – or maybe it’s the only normal love, depending on how you’re predisposed to taking the word or the thing (‘normal,’ I mean), and depending whether you think you can tell the difference between the two (‘word’ and ‘thing,’ I mean).

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Two Poems For ‘M’

close to mononia espinacas con garbanzos, a rich pepper. orders have been scrawled in chalk to form a form, yes, it is El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas dishes, and 30.03 kilometres from Mononia, plates designed to be shared. so I …

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Wandering through the Universal Archive

One of the sequences produced by the collaborative entity, A Constructed World, renders the phrases ‘No need to be great’ and ‘Stay in Groups’ in a range of media – silk-stitch, screen print, photography and painting. One of the painted versions of the image shows a naked woman covered in yellow post-it notes overseen by a hulking, shadowy male. These figures represent the artists Jacqueline Riva and Geoff Lowe. The image appears again in the form of a photograph and the installation was staged in various places around the world – as if the only way to get the message across would be to subject it to constant repetition in as many different formats as possible. Indeed, a number of the collective’s performances and installations attest to the impossibility of communication – even as these take the form of images that can’t fail to deliver. Avant Spectacle A Micro Medicine Show, 2011, features skeleton-costumed performers inexpertly singing and playing instruments while six knee-high wooden letters – S, P, E, E, C and H – burn like small condemned buildings at front of stage.

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Shimmy

Short on shimmy they took to the disco with a resounding whomp of white & solid silver waves of wire; a platform to berate from, a wag the dog diorama; wearing only your shadow & shouting to the stomping throng …

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Blue or White

cento for Kate Fagan the world was a little darker before it was blue brilliant as nowhere special to go you could try double blinds machines parody all future empires say goodbye to the supermarket. unbearable authority makes me dizzy …

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(untitled)

in two hundred and fifty thousand years my sludge of waste might lose its poison but nothing’s set in stone except the joy and anguish of being here with one week to practice what we believe but can we sleep …

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