John Hawke

John Hawke

John Hawke is a Senior Lecturer, specialising in poetry, at Monash University. His books include Australian Literature and the Symbolist Movement, Poetry and the Trace (co-edited with Ann Vickery), and the volume of poetry Aurelia, which received the 2015 Anne Elder award.

John Hawke reviews 'Poetry and Bondage: A history and theory of lyric constraint' by Andrea Brady

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
John Hawke reviews 'Poetry and Bondage: A history and theory of lyric constraint' by Andrea Brady
Andrea Brady’s monumental study of poetry and constraint focuses on ‘the ways that poets invoke bondage as metaphor while effacing the actuality of bondage’. Milton’s aspiration to deliver poetry from ‘the modern bondage of rhyming’, and Blake’s injunction that ‘poetry fetter’d, fetters the human race’, associate formal freedoms with political liberation. The modernist discover ... (read more)

'September', a new poem by John Hawke

March 2021, no. 429 22 February 2021
'September', a new poem by John Hawke
This is one of the times you won’t remember.You are lying side by side with your father as the radio murmurs, a ghost wind shiftingfrom magnet to magnet that does not announce its presence. You know you willnever equal the weight of disappointments that make up his experience of this worldhe has gifted you, who are as empty as radio patter engraving the detailsof every current moment, reliev ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'Beautiful Objects: Selected poems' by Martin Johnston

December 2020, no. 427 25 November 2020
John Hawke reviews 'Beautiful Objects: Selected poems' by Martin Johnston
There has as yet been no comprehensive critical study of the poets associated with the ‘Generation of ’68’, of whom Martin Johnston was perhaps the most naturally gifted and certainly the most intellectually expansive representative. This is because the project of these poets, to fully incorporate the stylistic innovations of modernist poetics and its development in postwar American models w ... (read more)

'Poetry and Australian Book Review' by John Hawke

Book Talk 24 January 2020
'Poetry and Australian Book Review' by John Hawke
John Hawke – poet, academic, and poetry editor of ABR – chaired the judging panel for the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. At the Porter Prize ceremony held at the Boyd Community Hub on January 16, he addressed various themes in his opening remarks. Following readings of the five shortlisted poems, Morag Fraser then named A. Frances Johnson as the overall winner of the Porter Prize. As we cele ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'Ashbery Mode' edited by Michael Farrell

November 2019, no. 416 24 October 2019
John Hawke reviews 'Ashbery Mode' edited by Michael Farrell
The recent death of Les Murray can be likened in its significance to the passing of Victor Hugo, after which, as Stéphane Mallarmé famously wrote, poetry ‘could fly off, freely scattering its numberless and irreducible elements’. Murray’s subsumption of the Australian nationalist tradition in poetry, including The Bulletin schools of both the 1890s (A.G. Stephens) and 1940s (Douglas Stewar ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem' by Jeremy Noel-Tod

September 2019, no. 414 27 August 2019
John Hawke reviews 'The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem' by Jeremy Noel-Tod
In his infamous 1955 review of Patrick White’s The Tree of Man, A.D. Hope’s dismissal of the book as ‘illiterate verbal sludge’ focuses on a perceived confusion between the categories of poetry and prose. White ‘tries to write a novel as if he were writing poetry, and lyric poetry at that’, writes Hope; however, ‘the imagery, the devices of poetry are effective because they are wedde ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'Feeding the Ghost 1: Criticism on contemporary Australian poetry' edited by Andy Kissane, David Musgrave, and Carolyn Rickett

January-February 2019, no. 408 20 December 2018
John Hawke reviews 'Feeding the Ghost 1: Criticism on contemporary Australian poetry' edited by Andy Kissane, David Musgrave, and Carolyn Rickett
Perhaps the most encouraging sign in this Puncher & Wattmann collection of critical essays on contemporary Australian poets is the prominent ‘1’ on its front cover, promising that this will be the first in a series. Given that last year’s Contemporary Australian Poetry anthology by the same publisher featured more than two hundred poets, only fourteen of whom are featured for discussion ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'Contemporary Australian Poetry' edited by Martin Langford et. al. and 'The Best Australian Poems 2016' edited by Sarah Holland-Batt

March 2017, no. 389 26 February 2017
John Hawke reviews 'Contemporary Australian Poetry' edited by Martin Langford et. al. and 'The Best Australian Poems 2016' edited by Sarah Holland-Batt
According to The Magic Pudding, Bunyip Bluegum’s erudition is established through his ability to ‘converse on a great variety of subjects, having read all the best Australian poets’, a questionable achievement in Norman Lindsay’s day. A glance through the Annals of Australian Literature reveals the paucity of quality Australian poetry volumes published through most of the twentieth century ... (read more)

'Zero Degrees' by John Hawke

November 2016, no. 386 26 October 2016
Rags of snow unmelting on the southern lawn.Those younger ones, whose death turns on the hair’s-breadth incidence of accident,avoid this perduration of slow misrecognition. He dreams his cotton blankets are combusting,but won’t press the hospital buzzer because the nursing staff are occupied extinguishing flames.That vandals have broken into the cupboard of the genial stroke victim in the ... (read more)

John Hawke reviews 'Pitch of Poetry' by Charles Bernstein

October 2016, no. 385 26 September 2016
John Hawke reviews 'Pitch of Poetry' by Charles Bernstein
When Viktor Shklovsky, in his famous 1917 essay 'Art as Technique', asserts that the fundamental task of the poetic function is one of 'making strange' the reader's customary perceptions, he is arguing for more than just the avoidance of linguistic cliché. Through the medium of poetic form, the accepted conventions of our habitualised view of the world can be defamiliarised: the political implica ... (read more)