An Open Book
University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 104 pp, 9780702260308
It is a curious thing, and not a little moving, to see writers celebrated for their work in other genres turn in later life with renewed vigour to poetry. David Malouf, like Clive James, has avowed a desire for poetry now, as the main form of writing his expression wants to take. Certainly, its brevity has a part in this, for the best of poems can happen, if fortunate, in minutes, not months, as Malouf himself observes. Yet the cogency of poetry speaks also to an impulse to voice the essential in life and nothing but, and to do it in a way that calls on all the writer’s powers of sound and gesture and concision.