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Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy divides his time equally between writing and medicine. He has won literary awards across many genres – poetry, the short story, the novel, and in theatre. His most recent book is the poetry collection Anatomy of a Metaphor (2017).

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Wreck of the Batavia and Prosper' by Simon Leys

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
In reviewing the first half of Simon Leys’s new book, The Wreck of the Batavia, I’m tempted to regurgitate my review from these pages (ABR, June–July 2002) of Mike Dash’s history of the Batavia shipwreck Batavia’s Graveyard (2002) – especially since Leys also holds that book in high regard, rendering all other histories, his own included, to the status of footnotes. Dash’s book, with ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'The Book of My Enemy: Collected verse 1958–2003' by Clive James

March 2004, no. 259 01 March 2004
Someone once described Clive James as ‘a great bunch of guys’, a joke worthy of James himself, although he is probably tired of hearing it. Some of those guys – the television comedian and commentator, the best-selling memoirist – are better known than others, and there’s little doubt that their fame has obscured the achievement of two of the quieter guys in the bunch. One of these is a ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Collected Poems' by Les Murray

December 2018, no. 407 26 November 2018
A seven-hundred-page Collected Poems? The cover photograph of the Big Bloke himself is an embodiment of what’s inside in all its sprawling abundance. As is his surname, which can’t help but invoke our country’s big river, whether in full flood, or slow trickle, or slow spreading billabongs. The first Les Murray poem I read was more a chain of ponds: the long sequence Walking to the Cattle P ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Hitler and Film: The Führer’s hidden passion' by Bill Niven

June-July 2018, no. 402 25 May 2018
History is written by the Oscar winners in our time, which makes the responsibilities of serious historical scholarship never more important. Despite its realist pretensions – it looks as real as life – film is a dreamy, poetic medium, too often prone to simplicity, conspiracy theory, sucking up to the Zeitgeist – and, above all, not letting messy facts spoil a ripping story. Hitler won no ... (read more)

State Editor's Introduction by Peter Goldsworthy | States of Poetry SA - Series Two

States of Poetry South Australia - Series Two 16 February 2018
Steve Brock began writing in the shadow of the New York school, but in ‘dreaming with Ted Berrigan’ – ‘I can’t remember if he said anything’ – might be saying goodbye to those earlier cool dudes and already anticipating the more variable temperature of South American poetry. He has spent a lot of time in Chile especially, and has translated extensively from the Spanish. Of course, La ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Miłosz: A biography' by Andrzej Franaszek, edited and translated by Aleksandra Parker and Michael Parker

January–February 2018, no. 398 22 December 2017
About halfway through this thick biography of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz (and halfway through the century of horrors that his life experiences uncannily track and are witness to) came a passage that stopped me dead. In the spring of 1943, on a beautiful quiet night, a country night in the outskirts of Warsaw, standing on the balcony, we could hear screaming from the ghetto. The ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Play All: A bingewatcher's notebook' by Clive James

November 2016, no. 386 26 October 2016
‘You might ask how a man who spent his days with the major poems of Browning could wish to spend his evenings with the minor movies of Chow Yun-fat,’ Clive James asks, rhetorically, in Play All: A bingewatcher’s notebook, then provides a near-tautological answer: ‘It’s a duplex need buried deep in my neural network.’ In mine, too, although my love of screen trash comes from childhood d ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Chorale at the Crossing' by Peter Porter

May 2016, no. 381 26 April 2016
Peter Porter's posthumous collection of poems, Chorale at the Crossing, is preoccupied, understandably, with death – but death was a central preoccupation of his work from the beginning. How could it not be? He lost his mother at the age of nine. Porter's two Collected Poems (1983 and 1999) were – are – stupendous, exuberant treasure-houses of riches, but death is the dark stitching. Death ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | State Editor's Introduction by Peter Goldsworthy

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One 22 February 2016
I sometimes think that poetry sits in relation to the great empire of the Novel as precariously as early Christianity in the Roman Empire: small groups of devotees gathering in catacombs to perform their sacred rites. OK, the stakes are not as high (the odd literary lion notwithstanding) and things have changed a little in recent years (new media platforms, performance-based and multi-media readin ... (read more)

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Sentenced to Life' by Clive James

August 2015, no. 373 28 July 2015
Clive James’s series of memoirs began in 1980 with the Unreliable one. Thirty-five years and four more very funny books later, the Five Lives of Clive have been rounded with a sixth: a slim volume of poems. It is probably also the most reliable, as if, paradoxically, James took more poetic licence when working in prose. The prevailing tone is a long way from the hilarious self-deprecation of the ... (read more)
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