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Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His most recent books of verse include The Universe Looks Down (2005), and Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw (2008). He is Professor Emeritus in Culture and Communication at Melbourne University. Also a public speaker and commentator on the visual arts, he specialises in ‘artists’ books’. Read It Again, a volume of critical essays, was published in 2005. Among other awards he has won the Dublin Prize for Arts and Sciences and the Christopher Brennan Award for Literature. His latest book is Rondo (2018).

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Changes: New & collected poems 1962-2002' by Keith Harrison

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
The word ‘collected’ on a book of poems has its embedded dangers. Collected Poems are like autobiographies: they encourage readers to confuse them with the writer’s flow of life. And we can all see what’s wrong with that, I hope. That cagey old player, W.H. Auden, issued this injunction: Great writers who have shown mankindAn order it has yet to find,What if all critics say of youAs per ... (read more)

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews '80 Great Poems: From Chaucer to now' edited by Geoff Page

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
Fancy an editor in this post-whatnot era using the word ‘great’ to describe the poems he publishes. Lord save us! It is almost as though recent decades hadn’t been, and we still wore the mild woolly clothing of the postwar years. But here is the Canberra poet and longtime schoolteacher Geoff Page offering us a high road through poetry in English: a series of touchstones, as our serious uncle ... (read more)

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language' by Laura (Riding) Jackson and edited by John Nolan

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
Laura Riding, sometime poet and citrus-grower has risen from the grave to deliver this series of attacks on poetry and its untruthfulness. She comes back to us now in a posthumous gathering of essays and shorter notes, The Failure of Poetry: The Promise of Language. It will certainly get people’s backs up. There is something very strange about this collection of her essays and fragments, for al ... (read more)

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Stunned Mullets and Two-pot Screamers: A dictionary of Australian colloquialisms, Fifth Edition' by G.A. Wilkes

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 July 2008
Gerry Wilkes has done the state a great deal of service, and he should get full credit once again, as the eclipsed terrain of Australian literature emerges into the sunlight: which it seems to be doing right now, to judge from some recent movements in publishing. So let’s keep abreast of our language, all the while: that is to say, of our dominant or mainstream language, amid whatever others we ... (read more)

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews ‘Blue grass’ by Peter Minter

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
Approaching a new book by Sydney’s Peter Minter, we are afforded the opportunity to see where a maturing poet is headed. A few years ago, he was very much identified with cutting-edge poetics. More interested in the epistemology of language than most of our poets, he could be seen as an experimental ally of, say, Michael Farrell and the American, Andrew Zawacki. Yet there was sometimes a whiff o ... (read more)

‘Gallery Notes’ by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

August 2003, no. 253 01 August 2003
Art is a strange posing of discoveries, a display of what was no more possible. For it is the task of the creative artist to come up with ideas which are ours, but which we haven’t thought yet. In some cases, it is also the artist’s role to slice Australia open and show it bizarrely different, quite new in its antiquity. Half a century ago, Sidney Nolan did just this with his desert paintings ... (read more)

Diary | ‘2007 - about must and about must go’ by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2007
January 5: Planning for the Australian Poetry Centre (APC), thanks to the largesse of CAL; we’ll be in ‘Glenfern’, the handsome Boyd/a’Beckett house in St Kilda. Otherwise I’m feeling fit as a whippet, unlike Peter Costello. January 17: Drove to windy Ballarat for Jan Senbergs’s drawings, David Hansen keeping us wittily diverted – the drawings, after 1992, suddenly very good, as J ... (read more)