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David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet, critic, and editor. His latest collection of poems is The Book of Falling, published by Upswell Publishing (2023). His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His website is:

David McCooey reviews 'Graphology Poems 1995–2015, Vols I-III' by John Kinsella

March 2017, no. 389 26 February 2017
John Kinsella, who lives mostly in Australia, is a transnational literary powerhouse. Poet, fiction writer, playwright, librettist, critic, academic, collaborator, editor, publisher, activist; his activities and accomplishments are manifold. He is best known as a poet, and the publication of Graphology Poems 1995–2015 – a mammoth (and ongoing) discontinuous series of poems published in three v ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Hatred of Poetry' by Ben Lerner

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
Do people hate poetry, as the title of Ben Lerner's terrific book-sized essay implies? In Lerner's account, poetry is associated with hatred and contempt, even by its practitioners, because of the gap between the ideal, imagined poem and the real productions of poets; between 'Poetry' and the embarrassing existence of actual poems. Between these two poles we find poets, and those who, along with P ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | State Editor's Introduction by David McCooey

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One 29 February 2016
Melbourne is home to numerous poetic institutions, including Australian Poetry Inc, Collected Works (Australia's best bookshop for poetry), and, of course, Australian Book Review. Among these institutions there are vibrant – if sometimes occult – print, audio-visual, and spoken-word scenes. Regional Victoria is far from eclipsed by the metropolitan centre. The Bellarine Peninsula, for instance ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Falling and Flying' edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle

March 2016, no. 379 25 February 2016
Ever since the baby boomers hit middle age, the supposed gerontophobia of their youth has been sent back to them with interest. One-liners from the 1960s – such as Pete Townshend's 'I hope I die before I get old' and Jack Weinberg's 'Don't trust anyone over thirty' – have circulated in popular culture like ghostly refrains haunting an entire generation. Falling and Flying, an anthology of cont ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell

June-July 2015, no. 372 29 May 2015
As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, masculinist forms of Australian nationalis ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Sack' by John Kinsella

March 2015, no. 369 01 March 2015
The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animals), and the potential for langua ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition' by Roland Greene et al.

October 2013, no. 355 27 September 2013
It’s not just history that is written by the victors, but the encyclopedias, too. The eighteenth-century encyclopedias, such as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, were the projects of emergent superpowers, evidence of both the Enlightenment dream of universal knowledge and burgeoning colonial impulses. (That the Encyclopedia Britannica was an initiative of the Scottish Enlightenment only supports this i ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Collected Blue Hills' by Laurie Duggan

June 2013, no. 352 27 May 2013
In The Resistance to Poetry (2004), James Longenbach claims that ‘Distrust of poetry (its potential for inconsequence, its pretensions to consequence) is the stuff of poetry.’ The Australian poet Laurie Duggan has based a career on a creative distrust of poetry, or at least a certain kind of attitude to poets and poetry. Duggan is especially suspicious of the idea of the poet as inherently int ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'On Poetry' by Glyn Maxwell

February 2013, no. 348 28 January 2013
‘T his is a book for anyone,’ begins On Poetry, by the English poet Glyn Maxwell. It is a bold gesture, returning an ancient art to ‘anyone’ interested in it. Inasmuch as any book can be for everyone, On Poetry is such a book. It is funny, original, and doesn’t presuppose expertise on the part of the reader. It is the best book on reading and writing poetry for a general audience that I ... (read more)