Lisa Jacobson’s third book, South in the World, opens with ‘Several Ways to Fall Out of The Sky’, a poem composed of imperatives instructing the reader in the strange art of descent. Jacobson’s poem deliberately invokes Auden’s famous piece of ekphrasis about Brueghel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’, which concerns itself with the relativity of suffering. All tragedies, Auden suggests, are products of perspective: Icarus’s plummeting may be a source of anguish for Daedalus, but is a minor occasion for a passing ploughman. Jacobson challenges this divested notion of witness by engaging in acts of imaginative empathy, stepping beyond the poet’s localised purview into the broader historical sphere.
'South in the World' by Lisa Jacobson
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Sarah Holland-Batt's most recent book of poems is The Hazards (UQP, 2015), which was winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Poetry and was shortlisted in the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, the NSW Premier's Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, the AFAL John Bray Memorial Poetry Prize, and the Queensland Literary Awards Judith Wright Calanthe Award. She is the editor of The Best Australian Poems 2016 (Black Inc.), is poetry editor of Island, and works as an Associate Professor at QUT.
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