This new book of Vivian Smith’s is really quite a surprise. If it were the case of any other poet approaching his eighties you might think of it as rather a grab bag, knocked together out of odds and ends. It is made up of an imaginary biography of ‘Ern Malley’; another set of sonnets, ‘Diary Without Dates’, mainly dealing with momentary meetings; a small group of sonnets imagined as postcards; and two prose pieces: one remembering the 1953 exhibition of French paintings in Hobart, and the other recording visits to Pablo Neruda’s three houses.
Martin Duwell was born in England in 1948. He taught for thirty-five years in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland, where he received his doctorate in 1988. He is the author of A Possible Contemporary Poetry (1982) and an edition of the selected poems of John Blight. He was one of the editors of the Penguin New Literary History of Australia (1988) and has edited, with R.M.W. Dixon, two anthologies of Aboriginal Song Poetry. He has written extensively on postwar Australian poetry and publishes monthly reviews of new books of Australian poetry on his website.
From the New Issue
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November 2001, no. 236
A Steady Storm of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood 1943–1995 by Gregory KratzmannReviewed by Brenda Niall