These six poetry titles represent the third series of New Poets to be published by Five Islands Press. Each title runs to exactly thirty two pages – no more, no less. It is, in a sense, a mini-collection, or a semi-collection, midway between a reading and a book. The series as a whole is therefore like a showcase of new talent – you applaud some of the poems, and get impatient with others, much as you do with the poets themselves. This is a good thing – it presents poetry as the provisional affair it really is, most of the time, for poet and reader alike.
This provisional air should not be allowed to detract from the fact that there are real and sophisticated talents to be found in these series. The poets are ‘new’ only in the sense that they haven’t had a collection before: it’s not as if they all started writing last week. Peter Boyle’s Coming Home from the World, published in the second series, shared the NBC Banjo Award for poetry, and won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award. There are assured and experienced voices in this series too; and to give the idea of ‘new poets’ its due, there are also poems so full of energy and intensity, that they threaten to burst off the page.