Poet of the Month with Philip Mead

Reviewed by
June-July 2018, no. 402

Poet of the Month with Philip Mead

Reviewed by
June-July 2018, no. 402

Philip Mead ABR OnlineWhich poets have most influenced you?

You learn very different things from different poets, from formal aspects, some of them minute, to whole revelations about what a poem might be. This is always developing, and influences tend to come in waves or moments, with anthologies and magazines, subcultures and discoveries. But there are a lot of poets you keep going back to. You can learn from the astonishing ways Emily Dickinson ends a poem (End-grams?), or how Anna Akhmatova’s images are moving because they’re so commonplace: a shoe-heel, an ashtray, a train station. And influence is a free space, whatever is possible: what can you learn about strange conjunctions, like the Medieval and Dada, in Hugo Ball’s line: ‘Destruction was my Beatrice’? The closest influences are the adventures in poetics that one’s contemporaries are involved in.

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comment (1)

  • Having come to the English language late in life made poetry inaccessible for a long time, except for the work of Geoff Page and (needless to say) Judith Wright. I find the intersection between what English and American poets write and what Australians write quite difficult still, but Clive James must take the prize
    Posted by Thea Biesheuvel
    Thursday, 07 June 2018 06:37

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