Pete Spence



Review Short: p76’s Cornelis Vleeskens Special Issue

Cornelius Vleeskens Special IssueThe first indication that the contents of this special issue hovers in the Venn overlap of art and poetry lies in its ‘curation’, not ‘edit’. Spence’s project was to ‘sample from a mass of work … to (make) a small but intense window’ (p. 5), and he does this by being true to the materiality of Vleeskens’s visual output. The nostalgic production values of the journal itself – photocopied in black and white on A4 paper, stapled, and with no frilly bits – is a perfect match for Spence’s vision and Vleeskens’s visual practice, which was firmly embedded in the intersections of text and image.

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Review Short: Outcrop: radical Australian poetry of land

Outcrop: radical Australian poetry of landAs I write this review, sunlight filtered through a pall of smoke casts a dull orange glow over my kitchen bench. The Blue Mountains are burning. Sydney’s haze resembles downtown Beijing’s and it’s only October. Such an apocalyptic scene – part of the ‘Australian experience’ I am assured by our Prime Minister – provides context for the world into which Outcrop and its ‘radical poetry of land’ emerges. This is not to suggest that the anthology’s outlook is primarily environmental, but that alternative ways of examining land are sorely needed.

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Review Short: Pete Spence’s Excurses


Pete Spence’s chapbook Excurses follows closely on the heels of his excellent book-length collection Perrier Fever (Grand Parade Poets, 2011). Long known as an exponent of visual poetry and mail art, Spence’s more ‘conventional’ poetry has, somewhat surprisingly given his long publishing history going back to the 1970s, slipped under the radar to some degree. One hopes these recent books will go some way to rectifying this oversight, for Spence’s work strikes a particularly distinctive note among contemporary Australian poetry.

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