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One Long Giving Away

November 2001, no. 236

New Poets Series 8 

Five Islands Press, $9.95 pb and 32 pp

One Long Giving Away

November 2001, no. 236

and you think of
the statements you have lost,
all the things unlearnt,
the words you no longer say.
It has all been one long giving away.

(David Kirkby, ‘Water’)

The six books in Series 8 of the Five Islands Press New Poets Program come highly recommended, if only by the blurbs on their own back covers. These blurbs border on the hysterical. Cate Kennedy has ‘her heart in her eyes’, while Sheridan Linnell has written a book ‘which grows great lines like buttercups’. Michael Sharkey admires Lesley Fowler’s precision but, since he goes on to say that her poems ‘conscript experience in both hemispheres’, one assumes that precision is not his suit. Even Bruce Dawe gets carried away, assuring us that, whilst David Kirkby’s poetry may look effortless, ‘its mechanisms are merely hidden’. Hidden, that is, to all except Bruce Dawe.

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