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.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

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).

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.