Lisa Gorton

Lisa Gorton

Lisa Gorton, who lives in Melbourne, is a poet, novelist, and critic, and a former Poetry Editor of ABR. She studied at the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, she completed a Masters in Renaissance Literature and a Doctorate on John Donne at Oxford University, and was awarded the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication in Donne Studies. Her first poetry collection, Press Release (2007), won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry. She has also been awarded the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize. A second poetry collection followed in 2013: Hotel Hyperion (also Giramondo). Lisa has also written a children’s novel, Cloudland (2008). Her novel The Life of Houses (2015) shared the 2016 Prime Minister’s Award for fiction. She is the editor of The Best Australian Poems 2013 (Black Inc.).

States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Empirical VI' by Lisa Gorton

States of Poetry Victoria - Series Two 05 June 2018
A single cloud now climbing the hill towards me and the blue-grey shadows in it are in the shape of a fire and all about it brightness where the light pours through – Uninterrupted its shadow moves over the craving grasses – pale seedheads now shaking out light – as with a sound of wings the scrubwrens scatter out of head-high rubble overrun with weeds – tussock, milk-thistle, dry stalks o ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Empirical V' by Lisa Gorton

States of Poetry Victoria - Series Two 05 June 2018
Now on its stone heaps the tussock is dry stalks the colour of a scratch in glass and rattling fennel tendrils from the root – Along the cutting’s side speargrass with a rain wind in it moves through the shapeof a catching fire – At the level of my eye, its close horizon, grasses moving many ways like shivers, incandescent, each force forwards through itself into the front of light, its sing ... (read more)

Lisa Gorton reviews 'Dunbar' by Edward St Aubyn

January–February 2018, no. 398 20 December 2017
Lisa Gorton reviews 'Dunbar' by Edward St Aubyn
‘Leir the sonne of Baldud, was admitted ruler over the Britaines, in the year of the world 3105’ (Holinshed’s Chronicles, 1577). Shakespeare’s play King Lear is set in the long ago, the age of ballads and folktales. ‘Amongst those things that nature gave ...’ goes the ballad King Leir and His Three Daughters. The sea and the storm, beauty, generation, crops, weeds, sex, suffering, deat ... (read more)

Lisa Gorton reviews 'Hag-Seed: The Tempest retold' by Margaret Atwood

November 2016, no. 386 24 October 2016
Lisa Gorton reviews 'Hag-Seed: The Tempest retold' by Margaret Atwood
The Tempest is a play set on a ship. In the first scene, the ship is wrecked. ‘All lost ... all lost.’ The play is over. The play begins again. To one side of the stage, on an island a girl is watching. She is defined by watching: ‘O I have suffered with those that I saw suffer.’ The girl has been watching what we have been watching; she is a watcher on the stage, and she is the play’s n ... (read more)

Lisa Gorton reviews 'The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson' edited by Ian Donaldson et al.

October 2014, no. 365 01 October 2014
Lisa Gorton reviews 'The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson' edited by Ian Donaldson et al.
Shakespeare’s great contemporary Ben Jonson dressed an actor in armour to open his play Poetaster. The Prologue explained: If any muse why I salute the stage,An armèd Prologue, know, ’tis a dangerous age, Wherein who writes had need present his scenes Forty-fold proof against the conjuring means Of base detractors and illiterate apes, That fill up rooms in fair and formal shapes. A dange ... (read more)

Lisa Gorton reviews 'Earth Hour' by David Malouf

March 2014, no. 359 25 February 2014
Lisa Gorton reviews 'Earth Hour' by David Malouf
In his poem ‘Early Discoveries’, published in the collection Neighbours in a Thicket (1974), Malouf remembers being a child in the garden with his grandfather: ‘Staked tomato-plants are what / he walks among, the apples of paradise. He is eighty.’ Malouf turns eighty this year, and many of the poems in Earth Hour find their place in a garden, ‘lightly / touching the earth’. ... (read more)

Lisa Gorton reviews 'Edmund Spenser: A life' by Andrew Hadfield

November 2012, no. 346 25 October 2012
Lisa Gorton reviews 'Edmund Spenser: A life' by Andrew Hadfield
In 1579, with the publication of The Shepheardes Calendar, Edmund Spenser (c.1552–99) burst onto the English literary scene. From the beginning, he was one of the oddest of great writers. The Calendar was a work of remarkable ambition. Spenser’s unlikely shepherds ‘piped’ poems to each other, using a pseudo-archaic dialect and a variety of elegant verse forms. The nature of Spenser’s tal ... (read more)

The world of William Kentridge

May 2012, no. 341 23 April 2012
In 1981, William Kentridge journeyed from apartheid South Africa to the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, renowned for its work in improvisation and physical theatre – theatre that creates itself in play. Though Kentridge would become an artist – working in drawing, printing, animation, film, opera, and sculpture – physical theatre and improvisation come closest to the curious magic of his work ... (read more)
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