The Australian Popular Songbook by Alan Wearne

Reviewed by
June 2008, no. 302
David McCooey reviews 'The Australian Popular Songbook' by Alan Wearne

The Australian Popular Songbook

by Alan Wearne

Giramondo, $22 pb, 96 pp

The Australian Popular Songbook by Alan Wearne

Reviewed by
June 2008, no. 302

Having spent two decades or more writing massive verse novels – The Nightmarkets (1986) and The Lovemakers (2001, 2004) – it may seem that Alan Wearne, with his latest book of poetry, The Australian Popular Songbook, has finally returned to smaller forms and, as suggested by the title, a more lyrical idiom. But, as always with Wearne’s work, things aren’t that simple. The smaller forms were already present in the verse novels in the form of sonnets, villanelles and other verse forms buried in the sprawling architecture of the works’ narratives. The ‘lyrical idiom’ of The Australian Popular Songbook is ambiguous at best, offset as it is by Wearne’s characteristic attraction to the dramatic monologue, satire, vernacular culture and wrenched syntax.

David McCooey reviews 'The Australian Popular Songbook' by Alan Wearne

The Australian Popular Songbook

by Alan Wearne

Giramondo, $22 pb, 96 pp

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