Evan Jones’s Selected Poems is more than timely: its author was born in 1931. In an introduction (or ‘Personal Appreciation’), fellow Melbourne poet Alex Skovroncomplains that ‘Evan’s work has not always received the attention it deserves, especially in recent years’. It is worth pausing a moment to consider why this should be so.
Jones is one of several highly talented poets associated with the English Department at the University of Melbourne a few decades ago. Others include Chris Wallace-Crabbe (b. 1934), Peter Steele (1939–2012), and Vincent Buckley (1929–88). All of them worked in the shadow of A.D. Hope and James McAuley, most had a more than passing interest in politics (local and foreign), and all, in their earlier years at least, used metre and rhyme extensively.