Geoff Page reviews 'The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry' by John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan (eds)

Geoff Page reviews 'The Fremantle Press  Anthology of Western Australian Poetry' by John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan (eds)

The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry

edited by John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan

Fremantle Press $34.99 pb, 376 pp, 9781925162202 ­­

The need for this book is self-evident in a way that a similarly historical anthology for New South Wales or Victorian poetry would not be. From many perspectives, Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world and there is no doubt that the state’s uniqueness is captured in this extensive, though tightly edited, selection. Despite its comparable treatment of Aboriginal people, Western Australia’s nineteenth-century history (with its brief experience of convictism and its relatively late gold rush in the 1890s) is different from that of the eastern colonies, about which Western Australians continue to feel a mild, justified paranoia.

Of course, Western Australia occupies about half the Australian continent, so there is also considerable regionality (likewise reflected in the selections here). John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan’s introduction to all this is suitably comprehensive and informative (if, occasionally, a little dramatic in its claims for the international status of some its poets).

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Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Geoff Page has published twenty-two collections of poetry, as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953 (UQP 2013) (on the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist for 2014), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013), and Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry, 2015). Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir was published in 2014 by Picaro Press. He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc.).
Published in April 2017, no. 390

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