William Carlos Williams once famously stated, ‘No ideas but in things’, about his poetic method. Rose Lucas, in her first poetry collection, Even in the Dark, takes up the imagist movement’s poetic style but ‘makes it new’ in her examination of the role of the poet in both the local environment and abroad. Her observant and mimetic style shimmers in a collage of confronting still-life portraits. In the opening poem, ‘Heat Wave, Melbourne’, the death of a possum – ‘her young / still alive in the pouch, / squirm and cling / to the dead fur / to each other’ – is juxtaposed with a tragic Darcey-esque West Gate Bridge moment when a father ‘unbuckles his small child / from the back seat / and / then / in the rush / hot / as she falls / through sky and / slick of water –’.
Cassandra Atherton is a poet and scholar. She was a Harvard Visiting Fellow in English and a Visiting Scholar in Comparative Culture at Sophia University, Tokyo. She is writing a book of prose poetry on the atomic bomb with funding from an Australia Council grant.