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David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet, critic, and editor. His latest collection of poems is The Book of Falling, published by Upswell Publishing (2023). His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His website is:

David McCooey reviews 'I'm Your Man: The life of Leonard Cohen' by Sylvie Simmons

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 28 November 2012
One day in 1984, Leonard Cohen played his latest album to Walter Yetnikoff, the head of the music division of Cohen’s record label, Columbia. Yetnikoff listened to the album, and then said, ‘Leonard, we know you’re great, we just don’t know if you are any good.’ Columbia subsequently decided against releasing the album, Various Positions (1985), in the United States, the lucrative market ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley' by John Kinsella, edited by Niall Lucy

November 2011, no. 336 21 October 2011
This book of essays by the vegan-anarchist-pacifist poet John Kinsella on the relationship between political activism and poetry raises two big questions: how do we live in modernity? and what is it like to live beyond the mainstream? The first question lies behind the great cultural movements of the West, from Romanticism to postmodernism. Whether writers have embraced modernity or rejected it, t ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews '100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss' edited by Jamie Grant

May 2011, no. 331 21 April 2011
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss is the companion volume to Jamie Grant’s 100 Australian Poems You Need to Know (2008). The title of the new anthology shies away from its predecessor’s imperative mode, but remains a marketer’s dream. What is poetry about if not love and death? What is poetry’s purpose if not to offer powerful articulations of those things that make us speechless? ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'A Cool and Shaded Heart: Collected poems' and 'Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian literature and poetics' by Noel Rowe

March 2011, no. 329 14 April 2011
Noel Rowe, poet and critic, was something of an enigma to me. It is hard to believe that he was still in his thirties (just) when I met him in 1990 at the University of Sydney, he a lecturer, I a postgraduate student. Noel seemed to have an enormous wealth of experience, though he was never showy with it. In 1990 he was still a member of the Catholic religious order the Marist Fathers. (He left in ... (read more)