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Jeri Kroll

Diane Fahey’s The Mystery of Rosa Morland is a tour de force, a brooding, postmodern Gothic poem cum novella that provides a happy ending of sorts for characters who deserve one. The poetry, capturing individual voices, is at once accomplished, sensuous and serviceable.

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Some day maybe I’ll catch them.

Across the quivering lake they float,

a trio of indistinct shapes,

but they are swans,

that much I know.

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Philip Salom’s tenth collection of poems offers readers an experience akin to falling over the edge of a well into a frightening subterranean world. The Well Mouth is dark, allusive, ironic, brutal, perplexing and confronting, and so it can be alternately rewarding and irritating. Readers should not miss the explanatory paragraph before the prologue; otherwise they risk being as disoriented as the central narrative consciousness, a woman murdered by corrupt police and dumped down a well. She makes the collection cohere as a kind of ghostly medium, channelling the voices of the newly dead, some of whom are described as ‘whistleblower, brothel madam, long-distance driver, woman lost in the bush, old solider’.

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The Mother Workshops and Other Poems by Jeri Kroll & Shadows at the Gate by Robyn Rowland

May 2004, no. 261

Robyn Rowland and Jeri Kroll write what you might call anecdotal poetry: simple, intimate and direct. Kroll, for instance, writes about her dogs, doing her taxes and sleeping in, with the sketchy, conversational tone of someone thinking out loud: ‘Does age smell? The older the dog grows, / the more he smells like a labrador, / though he’s a border collie and blue heeler.’

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