Geoff Page reviews 'Babel Fish' by Jillian Pattinson

Geoff Page reviews 'Babel Fish' by Jillian Pattinson

Babel Fish

by Jillian Pattinson

Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 75 pp, 9781922186690

Halfway through her first full-length collection, Babel Fish, Jillian Pattinson quotes Borges's famous argument: 'Myth is at the beginning of literature, and also at its end.' Her whole book does its best to embody this idea.

As its title 'Waterline' implies, the first group of poems here is loosely unified by water references, from the semi-scientific language of 'Communion' through to the T.S. Eliot-influenced poems, 'Ambiguities' and 'Estuary'. 'Estuary' elaborates a 'death by water', comparable to Virginia Woolf's suicide.

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Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra and has published twenty-three collections of poetry as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), Hard Horizons (Pitt Street Poetry 2017) and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc). His Elegy for Emily: a verse biography is due out shortly from Puncher & Wattmann.

Published in November 2015, no. 376

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