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Judy Johnson

The UWAP Poetry imprint began in late 2016, and there are already fourteen titles available. To judge from the quality of the three reviewed here, UWAP’s energy and ambition is well-placed ...

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Judy Johnson’s sixth collection of poetry brings us a strong range of closely observed, powerful poems. As the title suggests, they are all linked together by elemental themes: the apparent solidity of stone, the persistence of scar tissue, the promises of air, and the complex gifts of water. In their often very ...

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When the talk is of angels
it’s tempting to think of them on the cold lake

small swan-shaped slivers of ice.               

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Mary Watson’s tale begins in Brisbane in the 1870s, when, aged nineteen, she flees an abusive and drunkard father and finds employment as a pianist in a whorehouse in Cooktown run by a Frenchman, Charley Boule. Determined to improve her prospects, she secretly signs on to more lucrative employment: spying on smuggling rackets. It is not clear what is being smuggled – it might be guns – bu ...

Jack by Judy Johnson & Navigation by Judy Johnson

April 2008, no. 300

Narrative, historical narrative in particular, figures strongly in these recent books from Judy Johnson – one a new collection of poems, the other a welcome reissue of her verse novel. Jack was first published in 2006 by Pandanus, shortly before that imprint’s demise. It won the 2007 Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry, and is republished now by Picador. With its lonely, embittered, one-eyed captain, its miscellany of onboard characters and Coral Sea setting, it is not without potentially cliched romantic elements – which the Picador cover, with its Blue Lagoon-like scene and blockbuster typeface, is happy to trade on. But Jack compels.

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