Tributes to Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Tributes to Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Travelling Without Gods: A Chris Wallace-Crabbe Companion

edited by Cassandra Atherton

Melbourne University Press, $39.99 pb, 236 pp, 9780522864519

Book Cover 2 Small

My Feet Are Hungry

by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Pitt Street Poetry, $25 pb, 94 pp, 9781922080363

The title of Cassandra Atherton’s anthology, Travelling Without Gods, alludes to the particular brand of agnosticism that has run through Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s work over many decades. Journeying sans deity is evidenced strongly in the poet’s latest collection, a book which, like Atherton’s, has been published to coincide with Wallace-Crabbe’s eightieth birthday.

For a non-believer, Wallace-Crabbe’s My Feet Are Hungry makes frequent reference to Christian ideology. This is in marked contrast to a number of Australian poets – Judith Beveridge, Barry Hill, Robert Gray among them – whose work in recent years testifies to the influence of Buddhism. Wallace-Crabbe’s Christian saviour is located firmly in the historical rather than the sacred. Only mildly irreverent, the poet shows respect for a figure who sides with the disadvantaged in an era of raging commercial interest and power-mad politicians: ‘Did Roman nails deserve his blood? / Even for someone who venerates money / Here is a story of absolute good’ (‘And the Cross’).

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Published in October 2014 no. 365
Anthony Lynch

Anthony Lynch

Anthony Lynch lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, where he writes poetry, fiction, and reviews. His work has appeared in The Age, The Best Australian Poems, Island, and Southerly. His short story collection Redfin (2007) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. His poetry collection Night Train was published in late 2011 by Clouds of Magellan. He is publisher at the independent publishing house Whitmore Press and an editor at Deakin University.

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