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Dan Disney

An interview with Dan Disney

by Australian Book Review
May 2023, no. 453

Dan Disney’s latest books include New Directions in Contemporary Australian Poetry (co-edited with Matthew Hall; Palgrave) and accelerations & inertias (Vagabond Press), which was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and received the Kenneth Slessor Prize. His individual poems have won numerous prizes, including, most recently, the 2023 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. Disney teaches in the English Literature Program at Sogang University, in Seoul.

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In this week’s Podcast we’re delighted to present the five poems shortlisted in the 2023 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. This happily alliterative prize was created in 2005 and renamed in 2011, the year after the great poet’s death. Peter Rose introduces our far-flung quintet, who then introduce and read their poems. Further details and illuminating comments on the individual poems by the judges can be found here. We hope you enjoy these wonderful poems. It’s a great way to get to know them before the prize ceremony on Thursday, 19 January.

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The 2023 Shortlist

by Australian Book Review
January-February 2023, no. 450

Read the five shortlisted poems for ABR's 2023 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.

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Endings & Spacings by Pam Brown & >>> & || (accelerations and inertias) by Dan Disney

January–February 2022, no. 439

‘Endings & Spacings’ opens with a confession: after several decades of ‘making connections / through strings of words’, Pam Brown is no closer to answering the question, ‘what does a poet / do’? In interviews, Brown tends to describe writing poetry as a kind of ‘benign compulsion’, an engagement with the world that must be critical to be interesting but that ‘can’t answer questions any better than anything else’, as she asserted in Meanjin in 2001 and has resolutely maintained ever since. In her latest collection, Endings & Spacings, even this benign compulsion – ‘dwindling now’ – comes under threat, its benignity troubled by the resemblance between arranging lines on the page and the curation of fragments in a virtual ‘museum / of imperial plunder’.

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ABR is pleased to present the shortlist for the 2022 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, which this year received 1,328 poems from thirty-four countries. Congratulations to those who reached the shortlist: Chris Arnold, Dan Disney, Michael Farrell, Anthony Lawrence, and Debbie Lim. Each of their poems is listed below in alphabetical order by author. For the full longlist, click here.

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Read the five Porter Prize shortlisted poems: 'Tailings' by Amanda Joy, 'Lament for "Cape" Kennedy' by Campbell Thomson, 'Rage to order' by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet, '... a passing shower?' by Dan Disney, and 'Prelude to a Voice' by Anne Elvey. ... (read more)

I spent the first years of my life in a valley

                    sitting in woods muttering the occult business of little folktales;

                                        madness sometimes works

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Dan Disney’s début collection, and then when the, is a slim volume infused with irreverent outings in philosophy and place. Just as the opening poem places its speaker in a philosophy class, philosophers offer constant points of reference. Disney reformulates such well-worn dicta as Descartes’s cogito ergo sum with verve, as in the poem ‘Towards a unifying theory of non-coincidence’, in which he writes, ‘the dead / (who tick not) / murmured “we do not think; therefore we are not”’.

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The sky is starling-filled granite, this open country
veneered with estates sudden as dark water rising. Main Street

clusters with pensioners

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