Peter Kenneally reviews 'These Things Are Real' by Alan Wearne

Peter Kenneally reviews 'These Things Are Real' by Alan Wearne

These Things Are Real

by Alan Wearne

Giramondo, $24 pb, 144 pp, 9781925336320

Alan Wearne’s work over the past thirty years or so – dense, demanding, unique, rewarding – is like the oeuvre of a cinematic auteur: one that never quite got onto the syllabus, or brought out the crowds at Cinémathèque. Technique above all, most of the time, but allied with real if unfamiliar emotion, even if the narrative needed the reader to have the right stuff in the first place before it unfolded itself.

More recently, the scope has lessened, the rhyme schemes become less ornate, the characters more constrained. One wouldn’t have noticed in his previous book, Prepare The Cabin For Landing (2012), with its overt Juvenalian satire woven through the personal narratives. But in These Things Are Real the two things have largely separated. The verse narratives in the first half of the book are more sanguine than we are used to from Wearne, with the antiqueness of the scenarios a kind of enabling constraint rather than a period set.

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Published in December 2017, no. 397
Peter Kenneally

Peter Kenneally

Peter Kenneally is a freelance editor, writer and reviewer, and poet. In 2005 his suite of poems Memento Mori was selected for the anthology of the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and in 2007 his piece ‘a streetlamp goes out when I walk under it’ was commended in the New Media section of the same prize. He has appeared in The Australian, Southerly, and Island, among other publications.


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