Ivor Indyk

I’m fresh from Hannah Kent’s compelling, humane, and utterly convincing The Good People (Picador, 10/16). Kent completely inhabits her material. In this single nineteenth ...

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The key theme of HEAT 19 is death. In 224 pages, a collection of Australian writers and academics pay homage to the departed in a range of essays, poems and short stories. The journal opens with Judith Beveridge’s moving and personal tribute to the poet Dorothy Porter. According to Beveridge, ‘Dot’ (as she was known to her friends) was a ‘consummate professional and her public performances were unfailingly polished’. However, Porter ‘also had a very fragile side, vulnerable to the pain of exclusion and rejection’. The title of Beveridge’s piece is ‘Trapper’s Way’, which is the name for a strip of land in the New South Wales suburb of Avalon where Beveridge once lived with Porter.

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One of the benefits of a Collected is that it places individual poems within the context of the poet’s whole oeuvre, with often dramatic consequences for their interpretation. When Leonie Kramer brought out David Campbell’s Collected Poems in 1989, more than half of the volume was made up of poems written in the last decade of the poet’s life ...

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If we look back into past times, we find innumerable names of authors once in high reputation, read perhaps by the beautiful, quoted by the witty, and commented upon by the grave; but of whom we now know only that they once existed.

Samuel Johnson

 

Sometimes the situation in Australia, with respect to writers, resembles that in early eighteenth-century England.

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These six poetry titles represent the third series of New Poets to be published by Five Islands Press. Each title runs to exactly thirty two pages – no more, no less. It is, in a sense, a mini-collection, or a semi-collection, midway between a reading and a book. The series as a whole is therefore like a showcase of new talent – you applaud some of the poems, and get impatient with others, much as you do with the poets themselves. This is a good thing – it presents poetry as the provisional affair it really is, most of the time, for poet and reader alike.

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