6 am in the Universe: Selected Poems
by Benjamin Frater
Grand Parade Poets, $27.95 pb (plus DVD), 140 pp, 9780987129109
by Pete Spence
Grand Parade Poets, $24.95 pb, 160 pp, 9780987129116
In ‘Avant-garde in the Antipodes’, Ali Alizadeh wrote that the abandonment of poetry by commercial publishers in Australia at the end of the 1990s contributed to the current ‘burgeoning small presses, magazines and anthologies’ dedicated to publishing ‘work by inventive and in many cases openly experimental, post-avant Australian poets’. Grand Parade Poets (GPP) can now be added to this cohort. The brainchild of poet Alan Wearne, GPP’s first two publications exemplify his mission statement ‘to promote people who are not part of ... the mainstream poetry scene’ and who are ‘poets of music, passion and intelligence’. What Benjamin Frater and Pete Spence have in common is the kind of outsider status generally conferred on poets whose work is deemed too difficult, their structural and linguistic experiments being complex; and inaccessible, in that their poetic references do not correspond to an easily apprehended prosaic narrative. For those willing to immerse themselves in their inventive, phonic worlds, 6 am in the Universe and Perrier Fever offer astonishing voyages into two idiosyncratic minds.