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: www.davidmccooey.com

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

October 1998, no. 205 01 October 1998
David McCooey reviews 'Australian Lives: An Oxford Anthology' edited by Joy Hooton
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 It replaces the more literary Penguin anthology by the Colmers (an important collection, though now somewhat outdated), and more than accounts for the period not dealt with in Gillian Whitlock’s ...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
David McCooey reviews 'Fishing for Lightning: The spark of poetry' by Sarah Holland-Batt
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
David McCooey reviews 'Sandstone Gothic: Confessions of an accidental academic' by Andrew Riemer
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
David McCooey reviews 'Threads of Life: Autobiography and the will' by Richard Freadman
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
La Trobe University Essay | 'Infidelity: "The Monkey’s Mask" in Poetry and Film' by David McCooey
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
David McCooey reviews 'The Queen of Bohemia: The Autobiography of Dulcie Deamer' by Dulcie Deamer and 'An Incidental Memoir' by Robin Dalton
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
David McCooey reviews 'The Kangaroo Farm' by Martin Harrison
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)

'Poetry making something happen: The Festival of Perth’s Writers’ Week, 1989' by David McCooey

April 1989, no. 109 01 April 1989
In a suburban theatre somewhere in the most isolated capital city in the world, on an early Sunday morning, the Ambassador for Ireland, James Sharkey, was pouring three glasses of muscatel. This action, rather like the lighting of the Olympic flame, opened the 1989 Writers’ Week of the Festival of Perth. The presence of the Irish ambassador and the muscatel was accounted for by the first them ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Taller When Prone' by Les Murray

April 2010, no 320 01 April 2010
David McCooey reviews 'Taller When Prone' by Les Murray
It is a critical truism, if not a cliché, that poetry estranges: it makes things strange, so that we can see the world and ourselves afresh. Defamiliarisation, the uncanny, even metaphor, are all fundamental to poetry’s estranging power. Unsurprisingly, madness, vision and love have also long been poetry’s intimates, each involving the radical reformation – or deformation – of ‘normal ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Lovemakers' by Alan Wearne

April 2001, no. 229 01 April 2001
David McCooey reviews 'The Lovemakers' by Alan Wearne
A Geelong psychiatrist once asked someone very like me, ‘What’s the opposite of love?’ It was a bit like a question in a tutorial (psychiatrists and academics do have a thing or two in common). The answer, of course, couldn’t be so obvious as ‘hate’. It was ‘indifference’. This tableau could be from Alan Wearne’s pen, and indeed Wearne’s latest verse novel, The Lovemakers, is ... (read more)
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