David McCooey

David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell

David McCooey
Friday, 29 May 2015

As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, mas ...

David McCooey is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
Monday, 27 April 2015

When writing and recording music, I often just start with a technical ‘problem’. (How does parallel compression work? What does this plug-in do?) In contrast, the low-tech and ‘invisible’ nature of writing tends not to engender such creative problem-solving, so I admire those writers, such as John Tranter, who can embrace ‘proceduralist’ strategies.

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'Sack' by John Kinsella

David McCooey
Thursday, 26 February 2015

The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animal ...

It’s not just history that is written by the victors, but the encyclopedias, too. The eighteenth-century encyclopedias, such as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, were the projects of emergent superpowers, evidence of both the Enlightenment dream of universal knowledge and burgeoning colonial impulses ...

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In The Resistance to Poetry (2004), James Longenbach claims that ‘Distrust of poetry (its potential for inconsequence, its pretensions to consequence) is the stuff of poetry.’ The Australian poet Laurie Duggan has based a career on a creative distrust of poetry, or at least a certain kind of attitude to ...

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David McCooey reviews 'On Poetry' by Glyn Maxwell

David McCooey
Monday, 28 January 2013

‘T his is a book for anyone,’ begins On Poetry, by the English poet Glyn Maxwell. It is a bold gesture, returning an ancient art to ‘anyone’ interested in it. Inasmuch as any book can be for everyone, On Poetry is such a book. It is funny, original, and doesn’t presuppose expertise on the part of the reader. It is the best book on reading and ...

One day in 1984, Leonard Cohen played his latest album to Walter Yetnikoff, the head of the music division of Cohen’s record label, Columbia. Yetnikoff listened to the album, and then said, ‘Leonard, we know you’re great, we just don’t know if you are any good.’ Columbia subsequently decided against releasing the album, Various Positions (1985), in ...

100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss is the companion volume to Jamie Grant’s 100 Australian Poems You Need to Know (2008). The title of the new anthology shies away from its predecessor’s imperative mode, but remains a marketer’s dream. What is poetry about if not love and death? What is poetry’s purpose if ...

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Noel Rowe, poet and critic, was something of an enigma to me. It is hard to believe that he was still in his thirties (just) when I met him in 1990 at the University of Sydney, he a lecturer, I a postgraduate student. Noel seemed to have an enormous wealth of experience, though he was never showy with it ...

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