Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy divides his time equally between writing and medicine. He has won literary awards across many genres – poetry, the short story, the novel, and in theatre. His most recent book is the poetry collection Anatomy of a Metaphor (2017).

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Language Instinct: How the mind creates language' by Steven Pinker

August 1994, no. 163 01 August 1994
Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Language Instinct: How the mind creates language' by Steven Pinker
An immense irony: Noam Chomsky, one of the left-culture heroes of the 1960s and 1970s –one of mine, at any rate – was in fact all along engaged in a white-anting of the sacred central tenet that unites leftish beliefs, the notion we are products (constructs is the more fashionable term) of our culture. And its optimistic sequel: we can therefore be changed, or improved. Gender roles are suppos ... (read more)

'Shaggy God Story', a poem by Peter Goldsworthy

July 2021, no. 433 22 June 2021
'Shaggy God Story', a poem by Peter Goldsworthy
i.m. Les Murray 1938–2019, after a line by Frigyes Karinthy Dear god-herd, golden god-horde, Lord Protectors of the meek and green-fed:when we came in from the coldten thousand winters back, the termsof your contract (unsigned since godswere not yet literate) seemed safely,fashionably fair trade: a shorterfor a sweeter life, a good life spentin clover, free from drought, hungerand the terr ... (read more)

'Batavia', seven poems by Peter Goldsworthy

May 2001, no. 230 01 May 2001
The composer Richard Mills and the poet and novelist Peter Goldsworthy have renewed their collaboration to produce an opera based on the Wreck of the Batavia (Previously, the pair adapted Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll for the opera stage.) The new work will be premiered at the Melbourne State Theatre on May 11, in an Opera Australia production. It depicts the notorious events that ... (read more)

'"Ukulula": Obama-euphoria in Lancashire' by Peter Goldsworthy

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
'"Ukulula": Obama-euphoria in Lancashire' by Peter Goldsworthy
My son Daniel’s African wedding took place in Lancashire – where his new Zambian in-laws live – a few days after the US presidential election. Barack Obama was not on the guest list, but his presence loomed so large that he might have been an extra, virtual, best man. ‘There is a joke in Kenya,’ Joseph Sikabbubba, a psychiatrist who was MC for the day, told me. ‘It is easier for a Lua ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Australian Poetry 1986' edited by Vivian Smith

April 1987, no. 89 01 April 1987
Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Australian Poetry 1986' edited by Vivian Smith
I have never met Vivian Smith but respect him awfully. The remarkable thing about his editing of this new anthology of Australian poetry is that his own work is not in it. This is unprecedented among recent anthologies, and may of course be a printing error. Even that excellent poet of Buddhist leanings, Robert Gray, was unable to achieve such perfect nirvana some years back in his Younger Austral ... (read more)

La Trobe University Essay: 'Famous Battles in the War between Words and Music: From Monteverdi to Puff Daddy' by Peter Goldsworthy

February 2005, no. 268 31 July 2020
La Trobe University Essay: 'Famous Battles in the War between Words and Music: From Monteverdi to Puff Daddy' by Peter Goldsworthy
An excuse first. This can only be a magpie’s look at a marriage – between poetry and music – that has a near-infinite history of complex living arrangements, recurrent divorces, remarriages and impromptu de facto cohabitations. I’ve chosen a few marital battles of particular interest to me, a writer for whom song is a sometime thing. I’d like to claim those battles as representative of s ... (read more)

'Vegas', a new poem by Peter Goldsworthy

March 2020, no. 419 24 February 2020
Yes, death was a good career move for Mr ElvisPresley, but for those of us yet to leave the building,cancer offers a lifeline, bringing family fame,at least, and a careering mind, especially duringthe long night-watch, when what happened in Vegascomes home from Vegas, as always, and takes roostin the witness coop, fluffing its lurid ostrich featherslike a goose, and the self sits in judgement of i ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Wreck of the Batavia and Prosper' by Simon Leys

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Wreck of the Batavia and Prosper' by Simon Leys
In reviewing the first half of Simon Leys’s new book, The Wreck of the Batavia, I’m tempted to regurgitate my review from these pages (ABR, June–July 2002) of Mike Dash’s history of the Batavia shipwreck Batavia’s Graveyard (2002) – especially since Leys also holds that book in high regard, rendering all other histories, his own included, to the status of footnotes. Dash’s book, with ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Book of My Enemy: Collected verse 1958–2003' by Clive James

March 2004, no. 259 01 March 2004
Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Book of My Enemy: Collected verse 1958–2003' by Clive James
Someone once described Clive James as ‘a great bunch of guys’, a joke worthy of James himself, although he is probably tired of hearing it. Some of those guys – the television comedian and commentator, the best-selling memoirist – are better known than others, and there’s little doubt that their fame has obscured the achievement of two of the quieter guys in the bunch. One of these is a ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Collected Poems' by Les Murray

December 2018, no. 407 26 November 2018
Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Collected Poems' by Les Murray
A seven-hundred-page Collected Poems? The cover photograph of the Big Bloke himself is an embodiment of what’s inside in all its sprawling abundance. As is his surname, which can’t help but invoke our country’s big river, whether in full flood, or slow trickle, or slow spreading billabongs. The first Les Murray poem I read was more a chain of ponds: the long sequence Walking to the Cattle P ... (read more)
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