Philip Harvey

Poetry as the solidifying of memory, poetry as a survivor's sanguine amusement, takes a lifetime. Louise Nicholas relates autobiography through strongly considered moments ...

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Speaking of the un-
spoken, jokes are a smoky
subspecies

This near-haiku is not so much a final definition of jokes as one definition of poetry. It shows up in Peter Goldsworthy's sequence 'Ars Poetica'. What he means is that the wordplay of jokes we make every day is a microcosm, a type and model of the more grandiose verbal surp ...

Outside by David McCooey

by
March 2012, no. 339

Philip Larkin at thirty-one asked ‘Where can we live but days?’ It shouldn’t take half a lifetime to learn that we have night and day, yet learning how to live with this arrangement, and that this is the arrangement, is something we keep adapting to all our lives. While not a dichotomy, night and day help form the dichotomous nature of our thinking, and inform especially the method of describing and explaining everything that we call poetry. David McCooey has taken this elementary fact as first principle in creating poetry that is by turns accepting and acerbic, buoyant and bothered, carefree and careful. Outside is divided into two studied sections, one coloured by day, the second by night.

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A Local Habitation: Poems and Homilies by Peter Steele, edited by Sean Burke

by
November 2010, no. 326

Once in a seminar long ago, I heard Peter Steele quote one of Winston Churchill’s more disagreeable opinions, noting that Churchill was allowed to say such things ‘because he was Churchill’. This Churchillian self-definition, or certitude, or authority, or prowess, animates much of Steele’s own writings: Steele says this because he is Steele. Nor does he need to be disagreeable to do so.=

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What is the comparative of prolific? John Kinsella, in this latest extension of his ‘counter-pastoral’ project, manages a tricky balancing act between the extreme givens of the bush and the fashions of art gallery and English Department. A belligerent posturing is implicit in Kinsella’s term, while there is only so far a poet can be anti-Georgics or extra-Georgics or post-Georgics before the game becomes exhausted or obvious. Nevertheless, ‘counter-pastoral’ is an extended essay that takes the pastoral concerns and illusoriness of ancient and eighteenth-century Europe and tests them against our own realities: environmental degradation, both random and systematic destruction of nature by humans, and a seeming indifference on the part of many Australians to doing anything about them.

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