David McCooey reviews 'Falling and Flying' edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle

David McCooey reviews 'Falling and Flying' edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle

Falling and Flying: Poems on Ageing

edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle

Brandl & Schlesinger, $29.95, 206 pp, 9781921556876

Ever since the baby boomers hit middle age, the supposed gerontophobia of their youth has been sent back to them with interest. One-liners from the 1960s – such as Pete Townshend's 'I hope I die before I get old' and Jack Weinberg's 'Don't trust anyone over thirty' – have circulated in popular culture like ghostly refrains haunting an entire generation. Falling and Flying, an anthology of contemporary Australian poems on ageing, is explicitly presented as a resource 'for the baby-boomers who are approaching old age'.

Edited by a doctor–poet, Susan Ogle, and one of Australia's leading poets, Judith Beveridge, Falling and Flying is also illustrated by Richard Wu, a psychiatrist and artist. Any publisher that takes on poetry and ageing and illustration deserves our admiration. This project shows the importance of independent publishers to Australian literary culture. In this case, the raison d'être for the collection is also conspicuously functionalist for a work of poetry and visual art. In addition to addressing their collection to the baby boomer generation, the editors also present the anthology as a clinical resource 'for older people and their carers, doctors, medical students, health-care professionals, or indeed any student of medicine and life'.

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Published in March 2016, no. 379
David McCooey

David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His forthcoming poetry collection, Star Struck, will be published in late 2016 by UWA Publishing. His website is: www.davidmccooey.com

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