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Judith Bishop

Judith Bishop is the author of two award-winning poetry collections, Event (Salt, 2007) and Interval (UQP, 2018), and three limited edition chapbooks, including Here Hear (Life Before Man, 2022). A third poetry collection, Circadia, is forthcoming from UQP in 2024. Judith’s awards include the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize forInterval and the Peter Porter Poetry Prize (2006, 2011). Her poems have been used as lyrics for compositions including Jane Stanley’s ‘14 Weeks’ for the Glasgow School of Art Choir (2023), ‘The Indifferent’ for the Hermes Experiment (2024), Andrew Ford’s ‘Isolation Hymn’ (2021), and Mastaneh Nazarian’s ‘Aubade’ (2019). Judith lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has studied in the United States and Britain. She currently works in Advancement at La Trobe University and is writing a book about AI and human data.

'Icarus at Kurraba Point' by Judith Bishop

April 2007, no. 290 01 April 2007
To touch death in this manner: if our fingertips could pierce that airless element, the body breathing calm within its envelope of gas … Morning took me to the jetty. I saw the moon jellyfish pulse toward the air:as their edges broke that barrier, the briefest spark appeared. ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'New and Selected Poems' by J.S. Harry

May 2022, no. 442 23 April 2022
J.S. Harry and her lapin alter ego, Peter Henry Lepus, would assuredly have had ‘words to say’ about the war in Ukraine and its manufacture by a group of human beings. Peter, a Wittgensteinian, would have pondered hard the nature of the war ‘games’ that preceded use of arms: games in which each ‘move’ was a crafted piece of language and (dis)information, known as ‘intelligence’ or ... (read more)

'The Forest', a poem by Judith Bishop

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
There could be someone, there, walking through a forest – upright or slightly bending – gathering, not berries, or fallen nuts, or mushrooms, but thoughts; there could be thoughts like whining insects that drill down through the air to this someone, who is not ‘someone’ to insects, but at most, might be a chemical, electrical or visual site; there could be someone over there, making noise ... (read more)

'Sein und Zeit', a poem by Judith Bishop

July 2021, no. 433 23 June 2021
We can walk into a room not knowing.It doesn’t happen every time. A white room can be painted to be pure.I mean, just to show us that it’s clean. But it doesn’t have to be.We can walk into a room not knowing whether,or when, or even that. Thatcan be the hardest room. Only you will know.First there is the walking. The floor, a chair or two.The posters of visionsof someone else’s visi ... (read more)

'Portraits of the Future', a new poem by Judith Bishop

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
i.Look, said the sonographer, your sister says hello!A black photowhere the future rival sucks a thumb-to-be.Never in all historywas such a portent visiblewithout a guiding star. ii.Algorithms tinker at the corners of my life.One tells me what I need to know.One tells me what I want.No, I say, not furniture, not the nearest death.I sense that they are holding back.Turn around, slowly: I want to s ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'Change Machine' by Jaya Savige

October 2020, no. 425 24 September 2020
Change Machine is an exceptionally strong third collection. To the extent that a schematic of thesis–antithesis– synthesis applies to poets’ books, this one both exceeds and incorporates the work that came before. Intriguingly, the title poem seems a late addition, citing the pandemic in three clipped lines, borne on the shoulders of two innocuous words, should and but: I’m broke. And ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'The Gang Of One: Selected poems' by Robert Harris

August 2019, no. 413 22 July 2019
In a letter to a friend, American poet James Wright reflected on the meaning of a Selected Poems for a peer he considered undervalued: ‘It shows that defeat, though imminent for all of us, is not inevitable.’ He quoted Stanley Kunitz, whose Selected was belatedly in press: ‘it would be sweet, I’ll grant, after all these years to pop up from underground … The only ones who survive … are ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'Crow College: New and selected poems' by Emma Lew

May 2019, no. 411 15 April 2019
Original voices are always slippery to describe. The familiar weighing mechanisms don’t work very well when the body of work floats a little above the weighing pan, or darts around in it. As in dreams, a disturbing familiarity may envelop the work with an elusive scent. It is no different for poetry than for any other art: the mercurial alloy, or unforeseen offspring, astonish and perturb. They ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'An Open Book' by David Malouf

December 2018, no. 407 23 November 2018
It is a curious thing, and not a little moving, to see writers celebrated for their work in other genres turn in later life with renewed vigour to poetry. David Malouf, like Clive James, has avowed a desire for poetry now, as the main form of writing his expression wants to take. Certainly, its brevity has a part in this, for the best of poems can happen, if fortunate, in minutes, not months, as M ... (read more)
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