David McCooey

Ever since the baby boomers hit middle age, the supposed gerontophobia of their youth has been sent back to them with interest. One-liners from the 1960s – such as Pete Townshend's 'I hope I die before I get old' and Jack Weinberg's 'Don't trust anyone over thirty' – have circulated in popular culture like ghostly refrains haunting an entire generation. Fall ...

Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.
Monday, 23 November 2015

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell

David McCooey
Friday, 29 May 2015

As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, mas ...

David McCooey is Poet of the Month

Monday, 27 April 2015

WHICH POETS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOU?

Countless contemporary Australian poets, Tomas Tranströmer, Weldon Kees, Elizabeth Bishop. I could go on, but it’s not just poets. I would love to write a poem as ‘poetic’ as Michelangelo Antonioni’s films. I wish I could be as funny as Pierre Étaix. And th ...

'Sack' by John Kinsella

David McCooey
Thursday, 26 February 2015

The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animal ...

It’s not just history that is written by the victors, but the encyclopedias, too. The eighteenth-century encyclopedias, such as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, were the projects of emergent superpowers, evidence of both the Enlightenment dream of universal knowledge and burgeoning colonial impulses ...

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In The Resistance to Poetry (2004), James Longenbach claims that ‘Distrust of poetry (its potential for inconsequence, its pretensions to consequence) is the stuff of poetry.’ The Australian poet Laurie Duggan has based a career on a creative distrust of poetry, or at least a certain kind of attitude to ...

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David McCooey reviews 'On Poetry' by Glyn Maxwell

David McCooey
Monday, 28 January 2013

‘T his is a book for anyone,’ begins On Poetry, by the English poet Glyn Maxwell. It is a bold gesture, returning an ancient art to ‘anyone’ interested in it. Inasmuch as any book can be for everyone, On Poetry is such a book. It is funny, original, and doesn’t presuppose expertise on the part of the reader. It is the best book on reading and ...

One day in 1984, Leonard Cohen played his latest album to Walter Yetnikoff, the head of the music division of Cohen’s record label, Columbia. Yetnikoff listened to the album, and then said, ‘Leonard, we know you’re great, we just don’t know if you are any good.’ Columbia subsequently decided against releasing the album, Various Positions (1985), in ...

100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss is the companion volume to Jamie Grant’s 100 Australian Poems You Need to Know (2008). The title of the new anthology shies away from its predecessor’s imperative mode, but remains a marketer’s dream. What is poetry about if not love and death? What is poetry’s purpose if ...

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