Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Chorale at the Crossing' by Peter Porter

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Chorale at the Crossing' by Peter Porter

Chorale at the Crossing

by by Peter Porter

Picador, $24.99 pb, 67 pp, 9781509801695

Peter Porter's posthumous collection of poems, Chorale at the Crossing, is preoccupied, understandably, with death – but death was a central preoccupation of his work from the beginning. How could it not be? He lost his mother at the age of nine.

Porter's two Collected Poems (1983 and 1999) were – are – stupendous, exuberant treasure-houses of riches, but death is the dark stitching. Death and sex – two stitchings. No three: death, sex, and cats. Four: death, sex, cats, and European High Art. And since this list is beginning to sound like Eric Idle in the Spanish Inquisition, I might round it out: death, sex, cats, and Pythonesqe humour. Porter was a very funny writer – as an irreverent satirist and aphorist, certainly, but also as an absurdist. There are jokes curled through even his most cryptic poems.

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Published in May 2016, no. 381
Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy divides his time equally between writing and medicine. He has won literary awards across many genres - poetry, the short story, the novel, and in theatre. His most recent book is the poetry collection Anatomy of a Metaphor (2017).

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