A History of Colour
Collins A&R, 78 pp, $12.95 pb
One of the strengths of this, K.F. Pearson’s second collection, is the range of the poetry it contains: both geographical – from Adelaide (and suburban Adelaide at that) through Polynesia to the Arabian Gulf; and historical – moving between the present and Quattrocento Italy.
The most impressive poems in the book are undoubtedly those in the section ‘Autobiographical Moments’, in which he explores Renaissance artists and writers. These are poems of considerable interest and ingenuity, for not only does Pearson create a fine sense of the era, but he also finds, in the lives and concerns of these artists, many issues of contemporary relevance. In ‘Fragment of an Autobiography’, for instance, Cellini discusses the reworking of ancient artefacts in modern form and using modem materials; in ‘A Circle in Florence’, the need for lateral thinking (I had thought the story of the egg made to stand on its end was attributed to Columbus, but never mind); in ‘The Origin of Excellence’ it’s the need for training, for ‘true apprenticeship’.