Gig Ryan reviews 'Selected Poems 1967–2018' by Jennifer Maiden

Gig Ryan reviews 'Selected Poems 1967–2018' by Jennifer Maiden

Selected Poems: 1967–2018

by Jennifer Maiden

Quemar Press, $29.50 pb, 378 pp, 9780648234210

Jennifer Maiden’s first books, Tactics (1974) and The Problem of Evil (1975), introduced a fantastically complex and enquiring poetry, with strangely fragmentary assemblages of character wrought from conflict. Both books were partly inspired by television’s gory nightly footage of the Vietnam War. While much poetry in the 1970s was of seditiously unvarnished protest, Maiden’s was intricate and stylised, poems toppling with moral dilemmas and extraordinary images, or restrained in pure lyricism such as ‘The Windward Side’: ‘The island has a windward side / walkless long and crossless wide / & winds across the cliff-face ride: / a woman’s face / caved in with pride / that craves for every blow.’

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Published in August 2018, no. 403
Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan has published six books of poetry and her New and Selected Poems was published in 2011 (Giramondo, Australia; and Bloodaxe, United Kingdom). She has reviewed Australian poetry over many years particularly in The Age and ABR, and has written extended articles on Les Murray, Judith Wright, and Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. She has also written songs with her occasional band Driving Past, and has been Poetry Editor of The Age since 1998. (Photograph by Mia Schoen)