Melbourne Elegies by K.F. Pearson & Body-Flame by Michael Heald

by
June 1999, no. 211

Melbourne Elegies by K.F. Pearson

Black Pepper $19.95pb, 62pp

Book Cover 2 Small

Body-Flame

by Michael Heald

FACP $16.95pb, 80pp

Melbourne Elegies by K.F. Pearson & Body-Flame by Michael Heald

by
June 1999, no. 211

The problem with K.F. Pearson’s Melbourne Elegies is that Goethe – on whose classic of sex­tourism, Roman Elegies 1788–1790, these rhetorical, literary poems are loosely based – is Goethe: difficult to translate, still little read in English. It gives him problems. Pearson, to my mind, is not attempting a Poundian ‘replacement’ of an ancient text within the frame­work of a contemporary poetics. That would require a reckoning with the original poem’s logistics and context similar to the way that Pound’s Propertius speaks electrifyingly in the context of an Empire much later than the Roman one he wrote for; or in the manner that Christopher Logue has recently converted excerpts of Homer into a form of late 20th century literary cinema. Such replacement requires that the contemporary poem convince us that the original work’s ‘loss’ – a ‘loss’ produced equally by its inaccessible aesthetic no less than by our contemporary lack of language-skill and culture – should matter to us.

Martin Harrison reviews 'Melbourne Elegies' by K.F. Pearson and 'Body-Flame' by Michael Heald

Melbourne Elegies

by K.F. Pearson

Black Pepper $19.95pb, 62pp

Book Cover 2 Small

Body-Flame

by Michael Heald

FACP $16.95pb, 80pp

Buy this book

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