Jordie Albiston

Fifteeners by Jordie Albiston

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March 2022, no. 440

Every poet has his or her addictions: words they use over and over again, ones they own ‘by right of obsessive musical deed’ (to quote Richard Hugo). For Emily Dickinson, it was thee, thou, and Death. For Sylvia Plath, it was him, nothing, go, and gone. For Gabriel García Lorca, it was sangre, lagrimas, negro, and corazón. For Jordie Albiston, it just might be world, the word that aims to contain everything.

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The Hanging of Jean Lee is the third verse novel I have reviewed recently, except that this one is closer to the verse documentary.

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If I were to make gauche generalisations about the poetics of MTC Cronin, Jordie Albiston, and Michael Farrell, I might respectively write conceptual, technical, and experimental. But these established poets – each in their fifties, highly regarded – display fluency with all these descriptors, especially in their latest books.

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Sarah Day’s début collection, A Hunger to Be Less Serious (1987), married lightness of touch with depth of insight. In Towards Light & Other Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 108 pp, 9781925780024), Day continues this project in poems concerned with light, a thing presented as both ...

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a spirit into splinters    or a night
into day    the quavers levitating
just the same    see a kind of orangeness
tinge the wrenched event    & head falls & sun
caws & moon forgets her name    a muteness ...

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Poetry can say anything that prose says, but it has to get there far more quickly and in much less space. I think this sense of spatial, psychological pressure is the main point of difference.

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Although William Carlos Williams, with some accuracy, claimed that ‘every’ poem is an ‘experiment’, the number of successful experiments is relatively rare. Jordie Albiston’s new ‘long poem’ or ‘verse novel’ (call it what you will) is triumphantly experimental in both technique and content.

In technique, Albiston has done several things whi ...

Prayers of a Secular World edited by Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy

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January-February 2016, no. 378

In her introduction to Australian Love Poems (2013), Donna Ward wrote that poems 'are the prayers of a secular world'. Now, aided by editors Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy, she brings us a collection that tests this notion. The introduction by David Tacey states its case fervently, with, in this case, a bit too much determination that 'the sacred is inera ...

Discussing the genesis of a poem, W.H. Auden told Paris Review that at any given time he had two things on his mind: ‘a theme that interests me and a problem of verbal form, meter, diction, etc. The theme looks for the right form; the form looks for the right theme. When the two come together, I am able to start writing.’ Australian poet Jordie Albiston ...

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