New Selected Poems
Puncher & Wattmann, $29.95 pb, 301 pp, 9781922186454
Twenty pages from the end of his New Selected Poems, Geoff Page imagines being ‘an heir of Whitman’, and muses that ‘I think I could turn awhile and write like the Americans, / they are so at ease in their syllables, irregular as eyelids, / various as the sea’. These lines are so cleverly Whitmanesque that the idea seems momentarily plausible. Only an astute reader will stop to think that the sea is hardly various at all – and how irregular are eyelids? Page’s poem, we might realise by this stage of the book, is presenting wry, understated humour, and this is one way in which he seems a deeply Australian poet, utterly unlike the Americans.