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Peter Steele

Peter Steele

Peter Steele (1939–2012) was a poet, academic, Jesuit priest, and Professor Emeritus of English literature at the University of Melbourne. His publications included seven books of poetry: Word from Lilliput (1973), Marching on Paradise (1973), Invisible Riders (1999), Plenty: Art into Poetry (2003), The Whispering Gallery: Art into Poetry (2006), White Knight with Bee-Box: New and Selected Poems (2009), and The Gossip and the Wine (2010). He wrote for ABR many times between 1982 and 2012.

‘Vincent Buckley: Aspects of the imagination’ by Peter Steele

June-July 2006, no. 282 01 June 2006
This is one way of doing it: No New Thing  No new thing under the sun:The virtuous who prefer the dark;Fools knighted; the brave undone;The athletes at their killing work;The tender-hearts who step in blood;The sensitive paralysed in a mood;The clerks who rubber-stamp our deaths,Executors of death’s estate;Poets who count their dying breaths;Lovers who pledge undying hate;The self-made ... (read more)

Peter Steele reviews 'A Brief History of the Smile' by Angus Trumble

April 2004, no. 260 01 April 2004
Some years ago, at a busy intersection in Chicago, Popeye’s Fried Chicken sported a notice saying, ‘Now Hiring Smiling Faces’. It seemed to cry out for a poem, or at least a memory. If Angus Trumble’s A Brief History of the Smile does not allude to it, this is not for want of curiosity or vivacity on his part. Trumble’s book comes out of the same stable as Diane Ackerman’s A Natural H ... (read more)

Peter Steele reviews 'Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems' by John Kinsella

December 2003–January 2004, no. 257 01 December 2003
Born in Perth, I came as a boy to think of myself as a Yorkist: my summer holidays were often spent in that glittering town, and the first sound I can remember is the intransigent call of crows over the road there from the city. For entirely good reasons, the place is almost a myth to me. In deeper and more complex ways, that territory is mythic to John Kinsella. His Peripheral Light would look v ... (read more)

'Littoral Truth' by Peter Steele and 'What I Have Written I Have Written' by Peter Porter

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
In an essay on the poetry of George Crabbe, Peter Porter wrote, ‘It is a great pleasure to me, a man for the littoral any day, to read Crabbe’s description of the East Anglian coast.’ Happily, there is by now a substantial and various array of writings about Porter’s work, and I would like simply to add that his being, metaphorically, ‘a man for the littoral’, with all its interfusions ... (read more)

Peter Steele reviews 'The Tree in Changing Light' by Roger McDonald

November 2001, no. 236 01 November 2001
Roger McDonald seems never to do things twice in the same way. To be solemn about it, he has a mind which is both capacious and vivacious: events, experiences, things at large flood in to stock its territory, and become the livelier from their environment. Refreshed himself by Australia, he refreshes some of it in return. The Tree in Changing Light is a case in point. This is a meditative work wh ... (read more)

Peter Steele reviews 'Crete' by Dorothy Porter

April 1996, no. 179 01 April 1996
‘Byron!’, said Max Beerbohm ‘– he would be all forgotten today if he had lived to be a florid old gentleman with iron-grey whiskers, writing very long, very able letters to The Times about the Repeal of the Com Laws.’ As we know, things turned out otherwise, and Byron lives on, in the hallowed phrase, as flash as a rat with a gold tooth. Dorothy Porter’s Crete would be a natural home ... (read more)

'Letter from New York' by Peter Steele

April 2001, no. 229 01 April 2001
To dinner as a guest at the Lotos Club, on East 66th St in New York. Named apparently after Tennyson’s Lotos Eaters’ territory – ‘In the afternoon they came unto a land in which it seemed always afternoon’, not to be confused with Robert Burton’s ‘afternoon men’, who are permanently smashed. The Latos Club’s 1870 Constitution declares its intent to promote and develop literature, ... (read more)
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