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Whitmore Press

The Blue Decodes by Cassie Lewis & redactor by Eddie Paterson

September 2017, no. 394

Two recent collections by two very different voices have both been ‘blurbed’ as works of fragmentation. In her début collection, Cassie Lewis is described as speaking for ‘a generation whose ambitions and emotions have become very fractured and fragmented’. Eddie Paterson’s new book is full of redacted texts of digital trash and treasure; it is a blacked- ...

From the cover of Jennifer Maiden's latest book (The Fox Petition, Giramondo, $24 pb, 96 pp, 9781922146946), a wood-cut fox stares the reader down. This foreign, seditious animal is the perfect emblem for Maiden's examination of the xenophobia, conformity, and general moral diminution that she sees around her. Giramondo have given Maiden the liberty of an a ...

Bowra by B.R. Dionysius

November 2013, no. 356

Australia is one of the most urbanised and docile societies on earth, but its cities are hemmed in by a vast, poetry-laden hinterland. There is Kinsella in the west, Adamson on the Hawkesbury, and, in this book, the western Queensland of B.R. Dionysius. No one ever seems to be matter of fact about the landscape in Australia. It is politically charged, or Gothic, or, most often, mythopoeic. Dionysius’s book is all of these but mostly mythic: it is a murky, flooded, uninsurable world that he depicts, with the Bremer River as its resident deity.

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Available Light by Graeme Kinross-Smith

February 2013, no. 348

Facing the first poem in Graeme Kinross-Smith’s new book Available Light is a quote from Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead (2002): ‘The mere act of writing splits the self in two.’ When you write, not only are you a writer, but you are your own first and very present reader. Suddenly, all alone at your desk, you have company. The first section of Kinross-Smith’s book focuses not so much on the act of writing as on the split self. In poems such as ‘In my wheat-bag hood’, ‘Commas’, ‘if I be not I …’ he observes possible past selves and his future. ‘Commas’ uses the metaphor of a man skimming stones across a pool:

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A childhood in Australia, safe and dry, but somehow incomplete: then time overseas defining the self against a different sky; finally, the return home, perhaps to start a family and begin the cycle all over again. This is the experience, recognisable to so many Australians, that Jo Langdon encompasses, with a crisp and clear eye, in Snowline, the latest in a series of small chapbooks from Whitmore Press.

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A Slant of Light by Paul Kane & A Tight Circle by Brendan Ryan

October 2008, no. 305

Anthony Lynch, enterprising editor of the notable but short-lived Space magazine, also produces signed, limited-edition chapbooks under the moniker of Whitmore Press. Paul Kane’s A Slant of Light and Brendan Ryan’s A Tight Circle join a list that features Maria Takolander’s Narcissism and Cameron Lowe’s Throwing Stones at the Sun (both 2005).

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Avenues & Runways by Aidan Coleman & Throwing Stones at the Sun by Cameron Lowe

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277

Each of these three books is its author’s first, and each carries a cover endorsement by two distinguished poets. You can tell a lot about the books from looking at who endorses whom before you need even to read one of the poems.

The rear cover of Aidan Coleman’s Avenues & Runways (endorsements by Kevin Hart and Peter Goldsworthy) describes him as an imagist. Whatever the exact significance of that term, there is no doubt that this poetry belongs to the class that has slight outward show and rich implications. And the pleasure of reading them is the shuttling between the two. There are at least two important requirements here: the surface has to be elegant and engaging without being slovenly or cute (ah, if you only knew what treasures I conceal!); implications must be intense and never clichéd.

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