Rose Lucas reviews 'Ground' by Martin Langford, 'Eating my Grandmother' by Krissy Kneen, and 'Now You Shall Know' by Jennifer Compton

In their very different ways, these three collections attest that contemporary Australian poetry is alive, robust, and engaging.

Puncher and Wattmann have delivered a generous collection of Martin Langford's most recent poems, Ground ($25 pb, 158 pp, 9781922186751). As we have come to expect from Langford, the voice we find here is strong – passionate and intellectual, intense and political. The collection begins with a section titled 'Achronicas' – meaning out of time, or pulling in a different direction to the chronological impetus of story. However, the evocative lyricism of the opening poem 'Dragonfly', where the 'layers of rock to the southwest of Sydney / were tilted and raised in as long as it takes / for a dragonfly's flight to change tack', initiates the collection's movements between the lateral suggestiveness of the lyric and the linear impetus toward narrative. Langford boldly uses poetry to segue in and out of time, challenging us with story while also creating a non-temporal thinking-feeling space.

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Published in March 2016, no. 379

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