Puncher & Wattman, $29.95 pb, 346 pp, 9781922186836
I first encountered the work of Philip Salom in the pages of The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991). Anthologies, of course, have their limitations, but they can be a great place to meet people. Salom's first poem in that book, 'Walking at Night', includes an image of the urban sky: 'Streetlights glow overhead / Like the teeth of a huge zipper; the universe / steals in when the zipper's open.' Here was a poet who wanted to look everywhere all at once. Streetlights are hardly stars, and zippers are often best left closed. But in this case, contemporary dross becomes a gateway to a sense of something beyond, a metaphysical space you only reach by laughter.