Toby Davidson

Review Short: Anthony Lawrence’s Headwaters

Headwaters is Anthony Lawrence’s fifteenth collection and his first with Pitt Street Poetry, whose website memorably suggests the humble reader should ‘Find yourself a shot glass, take a seat, and take a shot.’ This is the first time I’ve seen a publisher suggest their books be read thus, though in their defence, they do so in relation to lines from Lawrence’s ‘Wax Cathedral’. Ah well, when in Rome … a thimble of Lagavulin scotch as required and I’m finally ready to review. Non-drinkers may read on as they are.

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Review Short: Amy Brown’s The Odour of Sanctity

The Odour of Sanctity is New Zealand poet Amy Brown’s second collection, and a substantial one too, weighing in at 240 pages. It is a speculative work which postulates the potential canonisation of six historical figures, three granted sainthood (St Augustine of Hippo, St Rumwold of Buckingham, St Elizabeth of Hungary) and three non-saints in Margery Kempe, Christina Rossetti, and contemporary American indie rocker Jeff Mangum. The Odour of Sanctity takes these six subjects through six sections of the sainthood process, finishing with a seventh sestinesque envoi section in which the subjects converse in three pairs.

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You Yangs and Diving Boards

Waves, gravitational mind-mussings teem, plunge for the jewel in the clouds and hit clean. Car-roar obvious, Where can it bring? You Yangs are slumbering, no slumbering thing. Refineries, youths to the ultramarine excite to become what they thought they could …

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Review Short: Anthony Lawrence’s Signal Flare

Some months back, I ended up sitting next to a fairly eccentric white-bearded bloke on a Sydney bus. Upon hearing I was an Australian poetry researcher, my new acquaintance exclaimed ‘Australian poetry!’ with obvious distaste, followed by ‘Fu–ing Anthony Lawrence!’ He went on to detail how feral Aussie upstarts like Lawrence and ‘bloody Adamson’ were bastardising the great tradition of English Romanticism. As he rose to hop off, I asked for his name. He cheerfully declined.

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Review Short: Toby Davidson’s Beast Language

In the introduction to the collected poems of Francis Webb, Toby Davidson observes that the immediate influences behind Webb’s poems ‘do not supersede his locales.’ Webb’s poems are informed by a topophilia, a love of place and its ambient lore, a topographical attentiveness to detail that includes not just spatial but also temporal resonances. Davidson has inherited this attentiveness to space and place, and his debut collection, Beast Language, attempts a topo or ecopoetics that traverses a spectrum of geographies, mapping the Australian continent from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific seaboard, attempting not only terrestrial readings but taking cosmological measurements as well.

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Three Poems and Webb Lecture by the Inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry

Robert Adamson began his post as the inaugural CAL Chair in Australian Poetry at UTS in February 2012. Funded by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) for three years, the Chair in Australian Poetry is the first of its kind in Australia.

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Plato at the Pictures

For the briefest of moments, a glimmering sketch, I incline my right cheekbone one degree, untransfixed by the knowledge of him, the frame of his arm, his crumpled penumbra, a whisker perhaps. As much in character as anything else, I …

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Chair Insider: An Intimate Access in Photo Narratives

Andrew Sayers, director of the National Portrait Gallery, wrote of my work, ‘Trust is an important quality in portraiture. Trust is self evident in Juno Gemes’ photographic portraits’. The portraits published here were created in trust with literary friends.

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Toby Davidson Reviews Michael Brennan and Barry Hill

Unanimous Night and Four Lines East are very different collections physically, the latter being a limited edition chapbook of thirty-five pages, but they both revolve around a central theme of the Australian poet out in the world, away from home, discovering new dwellings for body and mind in the process.

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Toby Davidson Reviews The John Moran Corperation

Since renowned works such as Kenneth Slessor's ‘The Night-Ride' and Judith Wright's ‘The Trains,' trains have been natural subjects and carriers of Australian poetry. TrainRide by John Moran and his small posse of musicians is very much off the train, stuck in the kind of gritty, gothic country town that transfixed Wright in her debut The Moving Image.

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