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Kevin Brophy

Kevin Brophy

Kevin Brophy has had nine collections of poetry published, as well as works of fiction and collections of essays. He has received the Martha Richardson Medal for poetry and the Calibre Essay Prize. In 2015 he was poet in residence at the B.R. Whiting Library in Rome, and in 2019–20 he is poet in residence at the Keesing Studio in Paris.

Kevin Brophy reviews ‘This World/This Place’ by Pamela Brown

April 1994, no. 159 01 April 1994
Somewhere within this idea of things there lurks the soul of a brick veneer, and being a poet in these late capitalist times is like using an hour glass rather than a digital watch ... Look at all these things in this overstuffed city. And out on the perimeters, Neighbourhood Watch saves another VCR! This dumb belief in immortality. On this side, everyone lives as if there is time to become som ... (read more)

‘Difficult’ by Kevin Brophy

May 2004, no. 261 01 May 2004
It is difficult to choose the reader for this poem. I have left its windows open so you might as well climb inside where you can be safe for now from weather, and though you’re already feeling intrusive think of yourself as a museum visitor to a reconstruction of a life now silenced. The bed, I know, has not been made but the silver cutlery on the formal dining table is meticulous. You will not ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy review ‘The Blue Plateau: A Landscape memoir’ by Mark Tredinnick

September 2009, no. 314 01 September 2009
The Blue Plateau, set in the Blue Mountains, is part memoir, part essay and part anecdotal local history. Mark Tredinnick wrote it during the seven years he spent living in the valley below Katoomba with his wife and growing family. Strangely, we learn little of the author or his family as this informative, sympathetic and poetic book emerges from its landscape in meditative bursts. It is a kind o ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'Too Many Men' by Lily Brett

July 1999, no. 212 01 July 1999
There are now 10,000 books written about Auschwitz. About the Holocaust there must be many more tens of thousands. Lily Brett is one of the great readers and collectors of these books. Her novels and poems are awash with Holocaust details and with an obsessive sense of responsibility for this impossible knowledge. Impossible because the horrific details cannot be held in the mind for long. In Too ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'Singing the Snake' by Billy Marshall-Stoneking

April 1990, no. 119 01 April 1990
‘Singing the Snake’, the poem that opens this collection, tells the story of tribes gathering at Uluru in a time of drought when ‘people drank sand’. If the singing of the people was strong and true, the Snake of Uluru would push water out from the ‘place where every river in the world begins and ends’, so that it spilled from the top of the rock. Old Tjupurrula told this story to the ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'Wishbone' by Marion Halligan

October 1994, no. 165 01 October 1994
The difficulty of a love affair between a young woman and a married man may be its logistics. Where can they go? These are the opening lines of Wishbone. Already I know that this is a book I want to continue reading, and not just for the promise of sex, romance, and intrigue. I am also attracted by the ‘difficulty’ of knowing just what tone is being taken here, and just who is speaking to ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'The Love Song of Lucy McBride' by Steven Carroll

February–March 1998, no. 198 01 February 1998
In his third novel, Steven Carroll continues to work on those questions, obsessions, scenes and images that preoccupy him as a writer – the characters and personalities of women, and in particular that figure of a sexually charged and sophisticated young woman so disturbing to Helen Garner in The First Stone; the language of infatuation; the placement of characters in their particular city; mism ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'City and Stranger' by Aileen Kelly, 'In Your Absence: Poems 1994–2002' by Stephen McInerney, and 'Flying Blind' by Deborah Westbury

December 2002-January 2003, no. 247 01 December 2002
‘Some meteorites make it to the surface simply because they’re so small that they literally float to the ground. There are thousands of these interplanetary particles in the room you’re in now, stuck to your clothes, in your hair, everywhere.’ This startling piece of information introduces Aileen Kelly’s ‘Notes from the Planet’s Edge’ in her new book, City and Stranger (Five I ... (read more)

Kevin Brophy reviews 'Sandstone' by Andrew Taylor

May 1995, no. 170 11 February 2020
On my most recent visit to Warrnambool in December 1994, the newspapers carried a tragic story about some local youths who had been digging in the coastline dunes and sandstone cliffs outside the town. One of them had died when their cave collapsed. It is this wild, unpredictably dangerous but attractive coastline that features in the title sequence to Andrew Taylor’s new book. In Sandstone, the ... (read more)
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