Angry Penguins: 1944 Autumn Number to Commemorate the Australian Poet Ern Malley
Limited facsimile edition, $5.95
by Max Harris
Mary Martin Books, 50pp, $4.95
In his introduction to The New Australian Poetry, reviewed elsewhere in this issue by Thomas Shapcott, John Tranter declares that this poetry has no allegiance except to itself. Some characteristics of works regarded as modernist are: ‘self-signature’ – the work validates its own technical innovations – and self-reference, where the ‘method’ is reflected consciously in the ‘medium’. He contrasts this modernism with such work as Vincent Buckley’s ‘Golden Builders’, which elicits a response of ‘quasi-religious rhetoric . . . a natural outgrowth of Australian university English departments’, and one sufficient to explain the ‘anti-academic bias’ evident in much of the work of the new poets.