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Stephen Edgar

Stephen Edgar’s anthology collection The Strangest Place: New and Collected Poems (Black Pepper 2020) won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2021. His latest collection is Ghosts of Paradise (Pitt Street Poetry 2023).  

'Dreaming at the Speed of Light' by Stephen Edgar

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
Seen from that famous ray of lightDischarging from the town hall towerOn the last stroke of noon,The hands would stand forever at that hourAs though the holocaust of blinding whiteThat set it all in train,When present, past and future were triune,Were come again,The endless now on which the blessed take flight. ... (read more)

'Nocturnal' a poem by Stephen Edgar

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
It’s midnight now and sounds like midnight then,The words like distant stars that faintly grace       The all-pervading dark of space,       But not meant for the world of men.                    It’s not what we forgetBut what was never known we most regretDiscovery of. Checking one last cassetteAmong my ... (read more)

'The Time Machine', a poem by Stephen Edgar

May 2003, no. 251 18 November 2022
It’s not by that contraption, nor inside             The worm holes to be bored Through outer darkness to its farthest reaches, That this tight knot of noon will be untied And loose the morning’s bonded hours toward The otherwhile your constant prayer beseeches.   Who would believe that now – poised plainly over           &n ... (read more)

Stephen Edgar reviews 'Plenty: Art into poetry' by Peter Steele

March 2004, no. 259 09 September 2022
Here is a production that most poets would die for. Peter Steele’s new book is a spectacular hybrid beast, a Dantesque griffin in glorious array: it is a new volume of poetry and an art book, with superb reproductions of works of art spanning several centuries, from collections all over the world. Paintings most of them, but also statues, sculptures, objets d’art, a toilet service, the figured ... (read more)

Stephen Edgar reviews 'Along the Line' by Vivian Smith

February 2007, no. 288 01 February 2007
There are not many ways, I imagine, in which Vivian Smith puts one in mind of Walt Whitman, but one which occurs to me is that Smith’s successive volumes, at least since Tide Country (1982), have been, like Leaves of Grass (1855), a work in progress, in which previous poems reappear, sometimes in modified form, and new work is added, so that the whole corpus is re-presented in different ways ove ... (read more)

'Second Circle', a new poem by Stephen Edgar

April 2021, no. 430 23 March 2021
Diamond Beach         Heads down and shoulders hunched, we set off, tramplingThe footstep-gripping sands of Diamond Beach,Into the flat refusal of the gale,Squinting into a distance we would fail,Surely, ever to reach, However far we trudged, like Charlotte RamplingIn that French film – what was it? – Sous le sable,Running, and yet not getting anywher ... (read more)

Stephen Edgar reviews 'The New Faber Book of Love Poems' edited by James Fenton

April 2007, no. 290 01 April 2007
The dust jacket describes James Fenton as ‘rightly praised for his own love poetry’. Evidently, Fenton does not demur, because he has found room for six of his own poems when other likely names are represented less generously or not at all. But more of that anon. The introduction begins by quoting Michael Longley: ‘I have believed for a long time … that love poetry is at the core of the e ... (read more)

'The Haunted Pane' a poem by Stephen Edgar

September 2010, no. 324 01 September 2010
As when the governessClutched to her bosom the damp head of Miles,Who squirmed, unseeing, frantic for a hint,Not able yet to guessWhat she appeared to see in the haunted paneBesides the backlit sky: the shape of QuintTrying to find his way past her denial’sHard stare, not quite in vain. ... (read more)
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