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David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems is Star Struck, published by UWA Publishing (2016). Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His website is:

David McCooey reviews 'Networked Language: Culture & history in Australian poetry' by Philip Mead

October 2008, no. 305 01 October 2008
Philip mead’s Networked Language: Culture & History in Australian Poetry is an extraordinary piece of scholarly writing: large, ambitious, meticulously researched, brilliantly written and quite original. It is laudable not only for these inherent virtues but also, it has to be said, because of its very existence. Australian Scholarly Publishing is to be commended for publishing such a work. ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Revolving Days: Selected Poems' by David Malouf

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
David Malouf’s Typewriter Music (2007) recently reminded readers that Malouf is a masterful poet. It was also evidence of an especially successful period in Malouf’s glittering career, appearing only a year after the highly praised collection of short stories, Every Move You Make (2006), and in the same year as The Complete Stories (2007). Now with the publication of Malouf’s latest Selected ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Mermaid' by Alan Gould and 'The Majestic Rollerink' By Heather Cam

April 1996, no. 179 01 April 1996
‘Nothing odd will do long’, said Johnson (that great friend of reviewers). If we begin by positing Aland Gould as an odd poet (that is, more than merely eccentric or self-conscious), then whether Johnson is correct about oddness depends on the second half of his observation: ‘Tristram Shandy did not last’. No doubt ABR readers smile at such a sentiment; but if so, then the question becomes ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Australian Lives: An Oxford Anthology' edited by Joy Hooton

October 1998, no. 205 01 October 1998
Joy Hooton must know more about Australian autobiography than anyone else. Her critical and bibliographical works are now complemented by this marvellous anthology – humorous, plangent, and surprising. It replaces the more literary Penguin anthology by the Colmers (an important collection, though now somewhat outdated), and more than accounts for the period not dealt with in Gillian Whitlock’s ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Fishing for Lightning: The spark of poetry' by Sarah Holland-Batt

October 2021, no. 436 23 September 2021
Sarah Holland-Batt’s Fishing for Lightning is a book about Australian poetry. As such, it is a rare, and welcome, bird in the literary ecology of our country. It is welcome because poetry, like any other art form, requires a supportive culture that educates and promulgates. Not that Holland-Batt, herself one of our leading poets, is ‘merely’ didactic, or a shill for the muses. Holland-Batt, ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Sandstone Gothic: Confessions of an accidental academic' by Andrew Riemer

June 1998, no. 201 01 June 1998
In retrospect it’s not surprising that Andrew Riemer wrote so insightfully about Shakespeare’s comedies. Those green worlds of transformation are expressive of longing and nostalgia, of social order being restored through the acceptance and reconciliation of opposing forces. That the brute, material world is partly dealt with through nostalgia, fantasy and parody is an idée fixe of Riemer’s ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Threads of Life: Autobiography and the will' by Richard Freadman

August 2001, no. 233 01 August 2001
Samuel Johnson once wilfully said, ‘Sir, we know our will is free, and there’s an end on’t.’ One can understand Johnson’s sentiment. Talk about will can be interminable. If we feel our will to be free, does it matter if it really is? Right now, I’m willing myself to write this review, instead of having dessert or watching Big Brother (‘Will to Power in Big Brother: Or, Are You Smirki ... (read more)

La Trobe University Essay | 'Infidelity: "The Monkey’s Mask" in Poetry and Film' by David McCooey

May 2001, no. 230 01 May 2001
Movies are often criticised for their lack of fidelity, for not keeping faith with their sources, especially novels, their audience, or their glorious antecedents. Infidelity is also a key plot device, especially of genre films: melodrama, comedy, crime, even the western. We keep going back to the movies partly because they don’t give us what we want. The New York poet Frank O’Hara suggests th ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Queen of Bohemia: The Autobiography of Dulcie Deamer' by Dulcie Deamer and 'An Incidental Memoir' by Robin Dalton

May 1999, no. 210 01 May 1999
It’s interesting how many comic autobiographers are theatrical, like Barry Humphries, Clive James, Hal Porter, and Robin Eakin, whose Aunts up the Cross (1965) is a minor masterpiece and very funny. Eakin’s belated follow-up, An Incidental Memoir, published under her married name of Dalton, compares interestingly with Dulcie Deamer’s posthumously published The Queen of Bohemia. ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Kangaroo Farm' by Martin Harrison

February–March 1998, no. 198 01 February 1998
Martin Harrison’s attentive poetry must be read attentively: the snaking semi narratives move through the landscape as rivers finding their way. The tonal shifts and mixed modes are fundamental to this collection’s many middle-sized poems that are often (even more than in his previous book, The Distribution of Voice) both verse essay and lyric, as Kevin Hart has noted. Not that all this in its ... (read more)
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