Pitt Street Poetry

Tony Page’s Anh and Lucien is an intricately plotted verse novel set in French Indochina during World War II. It centres on an unlikely same-sex love affair between Lucien, a colonial bureaucrat, and Anh, a young Vietnamese communist who supports Ho Chi Minh’s independence movement.

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Hard Horizons by Geoff Page & The Left Hand Mirror by Ron Pretty

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June-July 2018, no. 402

I have no idea if Pitt Street Poetry is located in Pitt Street, in the centre of Sydney’s CBD, but it has certainly made itself central to poetry publishing in Australia. Its list includes such fine poets as Eileen Chong, John Foulcher, Jean Kent, and Anthony Lawrence; that reputation will be added to by these books from Geoff Page ...

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The last two lines of Tony Page's Dawn the Proof (Hybrid Publishers, $25 pb, 87 pp, 9781925272239) ask 'how to seize / the grains of now'. One of Page's (implicit) ...

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Reading these three books in April, it was impossible not to see in them flashes of what Ross McMullin has described in war artist Will Dyson's drawings from World War I ...

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This updated and revised edition of Creating Poetry – first published by Edward Arnold in 1987, and then by Five Islands Press in 2001 – is one of few poetry guidebooks written by an Australian poet. One of its pleasing features is that it uses the work of Australian poets, including John Tranter, Geoff Page, Kevin Brophy, Meredith Wattison, Judith Wrig ...

Speaking of the un-
spoken, jokes are a smoky
subspecies

This near-haiku is not so much a final definition of jokes as one definition of poetry. It shows up in Peter Goldsworthy's sequence 'Ars Poetica'. What he means is that the wordplay of jokes we make every day is a microcosm, a type and model of the more grandiose verbal surp ...

Libby Hart’s new collection is ornate and knotty in a way that the reader would never divine from its cover, which is clear and white, with ‘wild’ in plain green typescript. It is essentially a bestiary, with birds of all kinds, as well as other creatures, including humans, in wild places, blown by winds and salt spray, or bringing wildness to ‘settled’ human habitations. There is a kind of emulsion of the direct and the opaque in her style that makes the mythic, fabulous elements appear to flow out of nature, directly, but in fact it is more as if we were in a wunderkammer of natural history, where the labels on the exhibits go beyond the call of duty and try to tell us everything about everything.

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Travelling Without Gods edited by Cassandra Atherton & My Feet Are Hungry by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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October 2014, no. 365

The title of Cassandra Atherton’s anthology, Travelling Without Gods, alludes to the particular brand of agnosticism that has run through Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s work over many decades. Journeying sans deity is evidenced strongly in the poet’s latest collection, a book which, like Atherton’s, has been published to coincide with Wallace-Crabbe’s eightieth birthday.

For a non-believer, Wallace-Crabbe’s My Feet Are Hungry makes frequent reference to Christian ideology. This is in marked contrast to a number of Australian poets – Judith Beveridge, Barry Hill, Robert Gray among them – whose work in recent years testifies to the influence of Buddhism. Wallace-Crabbe’s Christian saviour is located firmly in the historical rather than the sacred. Only mildly irreverent, the poet shows respect for a figure who sides with the disadvantaged in an era of raging commercial interest and power-mad politicians: ‘Did Roman nails deserve his blood? / Even for someone who venerates money / Here is a story of absolute good’ (‘And the Cross’).

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In 1982 a young Steve Kelen published a slim volume by an even younger poet by the name of Luke Davies. Four Plots for Magnets was a chapbook of thirteen poems written mostly when the poet was eighteen and nineteen. Published by Glandular Press, an outlet established by Kelen and the painter Ken Searle in 1980, this ‘sampler’ (as Kelen later calls i ...