Geoff Page reviews 'Transparencies' by Stephen Edgar

Geoff Page reviews 'Transparencies' by Stephen Edgar


by Stephen Edgar

Black Pepper, $24 pb, 89 pp, 9780648038702

After Stephen Edgar’s nine collections of poetry, the last seven of which are distinguished by an extraordinary control over metre and rhyme, a reviewer feels bound to ask how this new book, Transparencies, differs from its predecessors? There are at least two answers: the recurrent spirit of the poet’s mother, Marion Isabel Edgar (1922–2015), to whom the book is dedicated, and the poet’s elegant conviction that the universe lacks any meaning beyond that which we arbitrarily impose on it. A third concern – not entirely new – is the unreliability of our senses, particularly our vision, and how our perception of the world tends to be layered rather than completed in a single ‘take’.

The well-designed cover of Transparencies features a painting by Judith Martinez called ‘Rumours of Light’. A woman in a wind-flounced dress stares across what seems to be an estuary. Littoral views like this are recurrent in Edgar’s verse, and a smaller monochromatic version of the painting is used to separate the book’s three sections.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in August 2017, no. 393
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.

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 ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.