Ian Templeman

Friends knew he lived alone
in an old fashioned block of apartments
with large windows facing the sea
and a lift like a lion’s cage

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These are the final lines of a poem entitled ‘Endings 111’ in Tom Shapcott’s recently published collection of poetry, The City of Empty Rooms. The poem is included in the final two sections of the book devoted to memories of a Queensland childhood, more particularly recollections of growing up in the inland town of Ipswich. As David Malouf suggests in the blurb, ‘this is a late book that sometimes sharply, sometimes forgivingly looks back, but always with the freshness of things felt and seen anew in a living present’.

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The publisher’s promotional material which was included with the review copy of Philip Salom’s new poetry collection, The Rome Air Naked, indicated the book would be launched ‘with an innovative exhibition which will use computer technology to extend the written work into an aural, visual and multimedia presentation’. After reading the author’s introduction and then dipping into the poems for the first time, I only wished I could be there, to listen to, and participate in, the promised performance which will combine visual image and sound, animating the poetry, allowing it to breathe off the printed page, to dance freely in space.

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