Sarah Day


Sleeping in its brick tabernacle the still water is like an ear or radar dish attuned to distant pulse. Incurious, we’ve walked forever to school and work past locked gates. The saw tooth roof gives nothing away but scission with …

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Paul Munden Reviews The Best Australian Poems 2016

In her introduction to this anthology, editor Sarah Holland-Batt claims for the work ‘a colloquialism, contrarianism and playfulness that separates it from its counterparts in the northern hemisphere’. Being hitherto more familiar with that northern hemisphere, this reviewer’s critical interest was immediately aroused.

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Review Short: Gwen Harwood’s Idle Talk Letters 1960-1964, edited by Alison Hoddinott

The letters in this illuminating and entertaining volume, written by Gwen Harwood to her friend Alison Hoddinott (the collection’s editor) and her husband Bill Hoddinott, cover the period leading to the publication of Harwood’s first book of poems. 1960-1964 were the years in which Gwen Harwood’s poetry was coming to light in literary magazines in Australia, sometimes under her own name, sometimes under one of her three nom-de-plumes: Walter Lehmann, Francis Geyer and Miriam Stone.

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Review Short: Sarah Day’s Tempo

There is much poetry about currently which does not value rhythm and music as integral to its sense. Day’s poetry absolutely does; filled with assonance and internal rhyme which renders many individual lines beautiful and suggestive. The first poem, ‘El Iskandariya’ is one of the best, capturing a moment without labouring it:

When marsh birds pooled out of the sky like ink
on water to devour the barley flour 
that Alexander’s men had laid to mark 
the city’s boundaries, the hour 

seemed lost beyond recall ...
(p. 1)
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Review Short: Vivian Smith’s Here, There and Elsewhere

It’s a long time since I’ve read Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, but I find myself lifting it off the shelf again and flicking through the contents page. I’ve been reading Vivian Smith’s new book, Here, There and Elsewhere, a reflective collection that is mostly linked by notions of memory, age and time, enduring themes that Smith handles with dignity and sleight of hand. But space is interestingly also central to this collection, in subject as well as craft. In Bachelardian fashion, Smith, in many of these works ‘explores the significance of the various kinds of space that attract and concentrate the poetic imagination’ (The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, 1964). It’s not surprising therefore, that almost all of the poems in this book are sonnets, the poetic form which to my mind makes the most adroit demands on space.

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