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Marjorie Pizer

A Poet’s Life is a selection of Marjorie Pizer’s poetry that covers forty-two years of writing and the filaments of love, grief and quotidian beauty that are emblems of her work. Drawing together poems from fifteen previous volumes, A Poet’s Life merges this Sydney poet’s characteristic themes and styles, fulfilling its promise to be the ‘definitive collection’. Throughout her career, Pizer writes of hidden worlds where ‘invisible rays’ bind microcosm to macrocosm, and where individuals are gently fused in an interdependent unity. However, she frequently returns to hidden disunities: wars, stolen children, environmental calamities and emotional wounds. Pizer offers up poetry as the keeper of the dead; the keeper of those questions and answers bequeathed to us by our ancestors and our descendants.

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Most of the poetry books reviewed come out in issues of less than one thousand, most of them well below five hundred. This must make Australia’s census of avid poetry readers no more than five thousand, or .002%. It is not surprising, then, that most published Australian poetry revolves around the process of writing for the poet’s poetic friends. This creates a very élitist form of communication and promises to do nothing to encourage more Australians to read poetry, because often the poetry written has nothing to do with the lives or interests of 99.998% of this country’s population.

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