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David McCooey

David McCooey reviews 'High Wire by Adrian Caesar'

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
Having taught literary studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Adrian Caesar is perhaps better placed than most to understand the troubled relationship between power and culture, order and creativity. ‘All Cock Red’, one of the poems in Caesar’s fourth book of poems, High Wire, attends to such a context: ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews ‘Windchimes: Asia in Australian Poetry’ by Noel Rowe and Vivian Smith

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
All regions being regions of the mind, ‘Asia’ has had an especially unsettled and unsettling place in Australian thought. Australia has, in part, defined its own ‘occidental’ status with almost hysterical reference to its many ‘oriental’ neighbours. The putative border crisis of recent times, for instance, involved representing (mostly Middle Eastern and Asian) refugees as cashed-up ... (read more)

David McCooey review ‘The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry’ edited by John Kinsella

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
The publication of John Kinsella’s The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry is a major event in Australian poetry. It offers a powerful, large-scale vision of Australia and its poetry. Reading Kinsella’s anthology during the great southern heat-wave of 2009 (before the week of Black Saturday), my understanding of both things became coloured by their accidental intersection. On the second nig ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Best Australian Poetry 2005' edited by Peter Porter

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Comedy isn’t the only art that requires good timing. Poetry also requires it. Indeed, poetry might be partly defined as the art of giving things away at the right moment. Illustrating this we have The Best Australian Poetry 2005. In this elegant anthology, we find Peter Goldsworthy’s inspired description of our planet: ‘Our earthen dish is seven parts water / one part china, and a tiny bit j ... (read more)

'Going Public: A Decade of Australian Autobiography' by David McCooey

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Autobiography is based on a paradox. It is a generic representation of identity, but identity and genre appear to be antithetical. If we conventionally think of our identity as unique (singular, autonomous and self-made), how then can the presentation of that identity be generic? How, when narrating our lives, can we be both singular and understandable? Does narrating a life presuppose a way of wr ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Vertigo: A Cantata' by Jordie Albiston and 'Awake Despite the Hour' by Paul Mitchell

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
Reading Paul Mitchell’s second book of poems during a bout of insomnia seemed apposite not only because of its title but also because Mitchell’s poetry occupies a strange middle place, somewhere between dream and reality. Awake Despite the Hour illustrates Mitchell’s interest in occupying both the ‘real’ (politics, family and the quotidian) and the extramundane (imagination, the surreal ... (read more)