S.K. Kelen: Island Earth

Anthony Lynch


Island Earth: New and Selected Poems
by S.K. Kelen
Brandl & Schlesinger, $29.95 pb, 335 pp, 9781876454173


‘Dark satanic mills won the day’, S.K. Kelen tells us in one of his strongest poems, ‘Slouching’. ‘Cold modernity followed, a brooding European / monochrome hinted at worlds passing (the good old days).’ What many critics take to be William Blake’s damning of the Industrial Revolution – ‘And was Jerusalem builded here, / Among these dark Satanic Mills?’ (from ‘And did those feet in ancient time’, c.1804) – could easily have served as an epigraph for Kelen’s Island Earth. The industrial age, its intrusion upon great swathes of the ‘emerald world’, has been variously and often compellingly dissected by Kelen throughout his poetic career, which spans more than three decades and is represented in this New and Selected. Also scrutinised is industrialism’s accomplice and enabler: the increasingly global economy that, for Kelen, has made a hostile takeover of human activity at almost every level.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in May 2012 no. 341
Anthony Lynch

Anthony Lynch

Anthony Lynch lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, where he writes poetry, fiction, and reviews. His work has appeared in The Age, The Best Australian Poems, Island, and Southerly. His short story collection Redfin (2007) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. His poetry collection Night Train was published in late 2011 by Clouds of Magellan. He is publisher at the independent publishing house Whitmore Press and an editor at Deakin University.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.