Peter Kenneally reviews 'Prayers of a Secular World' edited by Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy

In her introduction to Australian Love Poems (2013), Donna Ward wrote that poems 'are the prayers of a secular world'. Now, aided by editors Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy, she brings us a collection that tests this notion. The introduction by David Tacey states its case fervently, with, in this case, a bit too much determination that 'the sacred is ineradicable'. The poems, as poems this good always do, simply shrug off external premises.

Albiston and Brophy, neither of them a stranger to immanence, have come up with an outstanding selection, one that carries a sense of 'prayer' as interrogation. The feel is more of magic than of prayer, as the poems incant, describe, and name what there is and dismiss what is not, in a very pre-Socratic way, with all the imagination and terrible beauty that implies.

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