The Model: Selected writings of Kenneth Seaforth Mackenzie
UWA Press, $38.45 pb
This is both an exciting and a sad collection. Kenneth Mackenzie, like those later Western Australian writers Randolph Stow and Tim Winton (and, I might add, Griffith Watkins), first appeared in print with work composed at a remarkably young age and which was extraordinary in its poetic intensity and command of language. And like Stow and Watkins (but not, fortunately, like Winton) the early achievement was matched only in fits and starts by the later work. Griffith Watkins committed suicide in his thirties, Randolph Stow has been beset by long periods of silence, and Kenneth Mackenzie drowned in a river near Goulburn, aged forty-one. He had become an alcoholic.