John Leonard Press, $24.95 pb, 58 pp, 9780980852363
Brook Emery’s opening poem in Collusion is addressed to ‘Dear K’, an address reprised in the last, movingly lyrical poem in this his fourth collection. We might read the intervening poems as a correspondence with ‘K’, this other who halfway through the collection is referred to as ‘my interlocutor, my conscience’. Emery cleverly anticipates and plays with the possible relation to that other famous literary K: ‘Someone finding this will think I’m corresponding / with Franz Kafka ... / I’m not that mad ...’ Nor is he as relentlessly claustrophobic or as obsessed with mysterious judicial proceedings. Emery’s subject is ‘the thousand flickering things / the mind lights on and tries to hold’. The poet lives near the sea in Sydney, and images associated with the littoral, and the liminal, recur throughout the book: water, currents, shorelines, horizon lines, the shift from light to dark. A Romantic note is often struck, sometimes cloyingly, though his lists of sights, sounds, objects, and ideas evoke, as with the best poetic listings, more than the sum of their parts.