Noel Rowe: A Cool and Shaded Heart; and Noel Rowe: Ethical Investigations

Welcome editions from an enigmatic poet

David McCooey


A Cool and Shaded Heart: Collected Poems
by Noel Rowe (edited by Michael Brennan)
Vagabond Press, $33 pb, 192 pp, 9780980511307


Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics
by Noel Rowe (edited by Bernadette Brennan)
Vagabond Press, $33 pb, 240 pp, 9780980511314


Noel Rowe, poet and critic, was something of an enigma to me. It is hard to believe that he was still in his thirties (just) when I met him in 1990 at the University of Sydney, he a lecturer, I a postgraduate student. Noel seemed to have an enormous wealth of experience, though he was never showy with it. In 1990 he was still a member of the Catholic religious order the Marist Fathers. (He left in 1992.) He had grown up on a farm, and prior to becoming a priest he had intended to be an actor. He had travelled, and he seemed like a far more senior academic than his recently acquired associate lectureship now indicates. (Like most students, I was largely ignorant of the profoundly hierarchical nature of academia.) Despite the fullness of his life, Noel always seemed essentially young, if youth can be defined by an openness to experience. It seems too cruel that such a man should have died at the age of fifty-six, of cancer, in 2007.

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Published in March 2011 no. 329
David McCooey

David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems, 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 forthcoming poetry collection, Star Struck, will be published in late 2016 by UWA Publishing. His website is:

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