Geoff Page reviews 'Jack & Mollie (& Her)' by Jordie Albiston

Geoff Page reviews 'Jack & Mollie (& Her)' by Jordie Albiston

Jack & Mollie (& Her)

by Jordie Albiston

University of Queensland Press $24.95 pb, 144 pp, 9780702254185

Although William Carlos Williams, with some accuracy, claimed that 'every' poem is an 'experiment', the number of successful experiments is relatively rare. Jordie Albiston's new 'long poem' or 'verse novel' (call it what you will) is triumphantly experimental in both technique and content.

In technique, Albiston has done several things which, in other hands, would almost certainly have not turned out well. The whole book is written in syllabic rather than accentual verse, a metre used with mixed success last century, by Marianne Moore (1887–1972) and a few others. Albiston here has deliberately flirted with the pentameter by ensuring every line across her 136 pages has exactly ten syllables. Her 'free verse' rather than iambic lines are arranged (as if by a related algorithm) into five-line stanzas. The result is unexpectedly convincing and agreeable to read.

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
Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Geoff Page has published twenty-two collections of poetry, as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013) (on the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist for 2014), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013), and Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry, 2015). Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir was published in 2014 by Picaro Press. He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc.).

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 comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.