Geoff Page reviews 'A Personal History of Vision' by Luke Fischer, 'Flute of Milk' by Susan Fealy', and 'Dark Convicts: Ex-slaves on the First Fleet' by Judy Johnson

Geoff Page reviews 'A Personal History of Vision' by Luke Fischer, 'Flute of Milk' by Susan Fealy', and 'Dark Convicts: Ex-slaves on the First Fleet' by Judy Johnson

A Personal History of Vision

by Luke Fischer

UWA Publishing, $22.99 pb, 100 pp, 9781742589381

The UWAP Poetry imprint began in late 2016, and there are already fourteen titles available. To judge from the quality of the three reviewed here, UWAP’s energy and ambition is well-placed.

In the first of these books, A Personal History of Vision ($22.99 pb, 100 pp, 9781742589381), Luke Fischer, in his poem ‘Why I Write’, provides a useful starting point. After rejecting a number of familiar reasons for writing poetry – each with a short, ambivalent mea culpa – Fischer eventually offers us the line: ‘I write for the expansion of the present.’

A Personal History of Vision, Fischer’s second collection, goes on to ‘expand the present’ in many different ways, some of them highly poetic and others more philosophical. As many people, including the publishers, have pointed out, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke is a considerable influence on Fischer, especially on the latter’s brand of metaphysics, which is vivid, persuasive, and non-doctrinal. Often these moments or epiphanies are ‘expanded’ from the present – sometimes from landscapes or personal encounters, sometimes ekphrastically from well-known paintings.

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Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra and has published twenty-three collections of poetry as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), Hard Horizons (Pitt Street Poetry 2017) and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc). His Elegy for Emily: a verse biography is due out shortly from Puncher & Wattmann.

Published in May 2017, no. 391

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