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Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan has published six books of poetry and her New and Selected Poems was published in 2011. She was Poetry Editor of The Age from 1998 to 2016. Her next book of poetry will be released in late 2022. (Photograph by Mia Schoen)


Gig Ryan reviews 'Fragments' by Antigone Kefala and 'A House by the River' by Diane Fahey

June-July 2017, no. 392 30 May 2017
Antigone Kefala’s Fragments, her fifth book of poems and first since Absence: New and selected poems (1992), is often menaced by the past, like her first collection, The Alien (1973). Here too are some subtly demolishing portraits, as well as buoyant poems such as ‘Metro Cellist’ and the slightly brooding ‘Summer at Derveni’: ‘Afternoon heat / empty of voices / on the foil surface / he ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'The Green Bell' by Paula Keogh

March 2017, no. 389 24 February 2017
Since Michael Dransfield’s death at the age of twenty-four in 1973, there have been two books of poems, a Collected Poems (1987), a study of his generation, Parnassus Mad Ward (Livio Dobrez, 1990), as well as Michael Dransfield’s Lives: A sixties biography (Patricia Dobrez, 1999), and John Kinsella’s Michael Dransfield: A retrospective (2002). Unlike other poets who died too young, such as C ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Breezeway: New poems' by John Ashbery

January-February 2016, no. 378 21 December 2015
The collage on the cover of Breezeway, John Ashbery's twenty-eighth book of poems, encapsulates his erudite multifariousness. The juxtaposition of Raphael's angel from Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints and de Chirico's The Enigma of Fatality with a nineteenth-century advertisement from Spanish Málaga resembles the pools of moments so typical of Ashbery's mercurial poetry. His poems eschew t ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Home by Dark' by Pam Brown

July–August 2013, no. 353 27 June 2013
Home by Dark is Pam Brown’s seventeenth book. She has also published ten chapbooks, including two collaborations. Brown’s poems are mostly elliptical, pithy, hewn into slight lines that imply or jest. Each poem manoeuvres and collects the everyday. It is an aesthetic of accumulation, a bricolage that navigates a precarious engagement with the world. Dailiness transmits a poetics of thought in ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Lime Green Chair' by Chris Andrews

March 2013, no. 349 07 March 2013
Lime Green Chair, which is Chris Andrews’s second book, won in manuscript form the Anthony Hecht 2011 Poetry Prize. Andrews is also a prize-winning translator from the Spanish of Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, and others. Lime Green Chair translates and transforms everyday moments into auguries of time disappearing. Each of these mostly 21-line poems is finely patterned with unexpected rhyme and ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Selected Poems 1975–2010' and 'Four Poems' by Ken Bolton

October 2012, no. 345 25 September 2012
Ken Bolton has published twenty books of poetry in the past thirty-five years, including a verse novel, The Circus (2010), and an earlier Selected Poems (1992), as well as seven often hilarious poetic collaborations with John Jenkins. An art critic, Bolton edited the seminal magazines Magic Sam and Otis Rush; and he has been a publisher with Sea Cruise and Little Esther Books. Bolton’s poems amu ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Surface to Air' by Jaya Savige

November 2011, no. 336 21 October 2011
Jaya Savige’s first book, latecomers (2005), was an impressive début and won the New South Wales Kenneth Slessor Award for Poetry in 2006. Surface to Air is a more varied, equally impressive, volume. Savige meditates on the poet Tasso’s oak tree (inspired by Peter Porter’s ‘Tasso’s Oak’), a survivor of Hiroshima, the Big Brother television show, and, as this book’s epigraph by W.S. ... (read more)

Gig Ryan reviews 'Ashes in the Air' by Ali Alizadeh

April 2011, no. 330 26 March 2011
Poet and novelist Ali Alizadeh’s third book of poetry, Ashes in the Air, reclaims some themes from his earlier poetry collection, Eyes in Times of War (2006). Autobiographical sequences once again interweave with accounts of recent wars and oppression. Alizadeh also explores some conflicting oppositions: neutrality versus partisanship, faith versus scepticism, individualism versus community. Ali ... (read more)
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