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Luke Beesley

Luke Beesley is a poet, artist, and singer–songwriter. His fifth poetry collection, Aqua Spinach (Giramondo), was shortlisted for the 2019 ALS Gold Medal. His poetry has been published widely in Australia and internationally and has been translated into several languages. He lives in Melbourne.

Luke Beesley reviews ‘Original Face’ by Nicholas Jose

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
Nicholas Jose’s new novel, Original Face, begins violently. On the first page, a man is – expertly, and with a small knife – skinned alive, his face removed. We are in Sydney and the assassin’s name is Daozi, which in Chinese means knife. Jose’s seventh work of fiction traces the sometimes-brittle nature of identity as it plays with an ancient Chinese riddle: ‘Before your father and mo ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'The Dolphin People' by Torsten Krol

June-July 2006, no. 282 01 June 2006
Erich, a sixteen-year-old German, narrates the adventurously plotted The Dolphin People, by first-time novelist Torsten Krol. Wishing to escape the aftermath of World War II, Erich, his younger, effeminate brother, Zeppi, mother and Uncle Klaus (soon to become his stepfather) crash their plane over the Amazon. A primitive tribe called the Yayomi discovers them and takes them for rare dolphins. The ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'Ken' by Anthony Lawrence and 'Aflame' by Subhash Jaireth

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
Australia has a stylish new poetry press. The two books reviewed here by Life Before Man, the poetry wing of Gazebo Books, preference book cover art and poem above all the usual paraphernalia: publishing details, barcodes, author notes – even the epigraph – are tucked into a back page, and there are no apparently distracting contents pages or page numbers. Most of the poems sit neatly on the r ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'Obligations of Voice' by Anne Elvey, 'Astroturfing for Spring' by D.J. Huppatz, and 'Slow Walk Home' by Young Dawkins

December 2021, no. 438 28 September 2021
Obligations of Voice by Anne Elvey Recent Work Press, $19.95 pb, 89 pp I was surprised by the title of Melbourne-based Anne Elvey’s recent collection, Obligations of Voice. Though quite a mouthful, it’s bravely deliberate; Elvey wants you to slowly voice and feel the syllables. Several poems centre on the mouth or lips for political, theological, even surrealist ends. The poem ‘Afternoon Te ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'Suppose a Sentence' by Brian Dillon

March 2021, no. 429 17 December 2020
In one of the indelible memories of my life, I take in a room drained of sunlight – late afternoon, early evening – and the blotchy font of a 1990s Picador paperback edition of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. I feel a slipping sentence: ‘In the kitchen she doesn’t pause but goes through it and climbs the stairs which are in darkness and then continues along the long hall, at the ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'Wild Curious Air' by Jill Jones, 'Dead Bolt' by Ella Jeffery, and 'Salute' by Ken Bolton

January–February 2021, no. 428 17 December 2020
Hear the way these poets use moonlight. According to a delicious detail in Jill Jones’s thirteenth full-length collection, Wild Curious Air, ‘The moon’s light takes just over a second to reach our faces.’ In the context of meaning, note the length of the sound in the word ‘faces’. Jones affectingly contrasts this second with the light that left a star, centuries ago: ‘Always a past t ... (read more)

Luke Beesley reviews 'In God is Waiting in the World’s Yard' by MTC Cronin, 'Element' by Jordie Albiston, and 'Family Trees' by Michael Farrell

June–July 2020, no. 422 27 May 2020
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. God Is Waiting in the Worlds Yard by MTC Cronin Puncher & Watt ... (read more)

'A Thousand Characters' a new poem by Luke Beesley

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
after Koch/Cohen, Malley/Breton, Roussel! This, too, is about a thousand characters. It’s much like the last one. I wouldn’t even read beyond the following sentence. The following sentence is a silky thing – purple in the late day, drizzled in afternoon fog. Inside a microwave oven is milk rising to warmth. Inside the dusk is an excuse for certain birds to frolic on the freshly-cut lawn too ... (read more)