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Peter Kenneally

Peter Kenneally

Peter Kenneally is a writer, editor and librarian based in Melbourne. In 2020 he was shortlisted for the City of Melbourne Creative Writing Award and longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 National Short Story Prize.

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Four Oceans' by Toby Davidson, 'Chasing Marie Antoinette All Over Paris' by Adrienne Eberhard, and 'Entries' by Prithvi Varatharajan

May 2021, no. 431 26 April 2021
Four Oceans by Toby Davidson Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 93 pp Toby Davidson’s first collection, Beast Language, was published nine years ago. That feels surprising: its freshness then makes it feel more recent now. Much of the movement in that book is present in his new collection, Four Oceans, literally so, as we begin with a long sequence aboard the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney. I ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'These Things Are Real' by Alan Wearne

December 2017, no. 397 24 November 2017
Alan Wearne’s work over the past thirty years or so – dense, demanding, unique, rewarding – is like the oeuvre of a cinematic auteur: one that never quite got onto the syllabus, or brought out the crowds at Cinémathèque. Technique above all, most of the time, but allied with real if unfamiliar emotion, even if the narrative needed the reader to have the right stuff in the first place befor ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Our Lady of the Fence Post' J.H. Crone, 'Border Security' by Bruce Dawe, 'Melbourne Journal' by Alan Loney, and 'Star Struck' by David McCooey

January–February 2017, no. 388 21 December 2016
A book called Our Lady of the Fence Post (UWA Publishing, $22.99 pb, 105 pp, 9781742589121) by a poet called J.H. Crone is an irresistible proposition, simply as a notion. Luckily for readers, neither is at all fanciful. This verse narrative explores the events around the appearance in 2003 of a likeness of the Virgin Mary on a fence post at Coogee, near the site of a memorial for five local rugby ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews '101 Poems' by John Foulcher, 'Small Town Soundtrack' by Brendan Ryan, and 'Ahead of Us' by Dennis Haskell

June–July 2016, no. 382 24 May 2016
Reading these three books in April, it was impossible not to see in them flashes of what Ross McMullin has described in war artist Will Dyson's drawings from World War I: 'He sketched Australians waiting, resting and sleeping. He captured them stumbling out of the line, drained and dazed. He drew weariness, perseverance, fatalism.' Ordinary and terrible: in poetry, as in war, whichever side the co ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'The Fox Petition' by Jennifer Maiden, 'Breaking the Days' by Jill Jones, and 'Exhumed' by Cassandra Atherton

April 2016, no. 380 30 March 2016
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 annual collection; as she says, this prosp ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Prayers of a Secular World' edited by Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy

January-February 2016, no. 378 21 December 2015
In her introduction to Australian Love Poems (2013), Donna Ward wrote that poems 'are the prayers of a secular world'. Now, aided by editors Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy, she brings us a collection that tests this notion. The introduction by David Tacey states its case fervently, with, in this case, a bit too much determination that 'the sacred is ineradicable'. The poems, as poems this good a ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'The Law of Poetry' by MTC Cronin, 'The Ladder' by Simon West, 'Jam Sticky Vision' by Luke Beesley, 'Immune Systems' by Andy Jackson, and 'The Hour of Silvered Mullet' by Jean Kent

December 2015, no. 377 27 November 2015
With her first book, Zoetrope, in 1995, MTC Cronin announced herself as a very particular force in Australian poetry. It was not just that her début was so much more immediately arresting than most poets' first outings, but also that it had real authority. This authority, coming from force of intellect and a kind of absolutist, almost inscribed imagination, has marked her work through the years, ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'The Dressmaker'

November 2015, no. 376 28 October 2015
I'm back, you bastards.' Jocelyn Moorhouse announces her return to the screen after eighteen years as vehemently as does her lead character, Tilly Dunnage, when she arrives in the one-horse outback town of Dungatar. The bus moves through a brown sea of wheat beautifully and cinematically, and when Tilly (Kate Winslet) steps down from the bus, she may carry a sewing machine instead of a six-shooter ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Holding the Man'

ABR Arts 21 August 2015
Timothy Conigrave would surely have been delighted that Neil Armfield’s film of his much-loved book Holding the Man (1995) is being released at exactly the moment that Tony Abbott is conducting his farcical elephant waltz around the issue of same-sex marriage. Tommy Murphy’s play of the book in 2006 resolved Conigrave’s matter-of-fact but poignant text into its essential elements: love, humo ... (read more)

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Crankhandle' by Alan Loney, 'Stone Grown Cold' by Ross Gibson, 'Aurelia' by John Hawke, and 'Dirty Words' by Natalie Harkin

August 2015, no. 373 31 July 2015
Poetry books as artefacts in their own right, regardless of commercial viability or relevance to the click-bait Zeitgeist, are currently showing sturdy signs of life, so it is a welcome development to have the online Cordite Review sensibility fixed in print, in a palpable way and on a graspable scale. These are fine-looking books: Zoë Sadokierski’s cover design template allows for each book to ... (read more)
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