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Jordie Albiston

Frank by Jordie Albiston

May 2023, no. 453

The Australian photographer Frank Hurley, who accompanied Antarctic expeditions led by Douglas Mawson and Ernest Shackleton, proved to be an able diarist as well as a skilful and adventurous photographer. While Hurley participated in a number of expeditions – as well as serving as an official war photographer in both world wars – the late and much missed poet Jordie Albiston has drawn on Hurley’s diaries from Mawson’s sledging trip of November 1912 to January 1913 and Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of November 1914 to September 1916 for what has become her fourteenth and final poetry collection.

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Fifteeners by Jordie Albiston

March 2022, no. 440

Every poet has his or her addictions: words they use over and over again, ones they own ‘by right of obsessive musical deed’ (to quote Richard Hugo). For Emily Dickinson, it was thee, thou, and Death. For Sylvia Plath, it was him, nothing, go, and gone. For Gabriel García Lorca, it was sangre, lagrimas, negro, and corazón. For Jordie Albiston, it just might be world, the word that aims to contain everything.

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The Hanging of Jean Lee is the third verse novel I have reviewed recently, except that this one is closer to the verse documentary.

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If I were to make gauche generalisations about the poetics of MTC Cronin, Jordie Albiston, and Michael Farrell, I might respectively write conceptual, technical, and experimental. But these established poets – each in their fifties, highly regarded – display fluency with all these descriptors, especially in their latest books.

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Sarah Day’s début collection, A Hunger to Be Less Serious (1987), married lightness of touch with depth of insight. In Towards Light & Other Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 108 pp, 9781925780024), Day continues this project in poems concerned with light, a thing presented as both ...

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a spirit into splinters    or a night
into day    the quavers levitating
just the same    see a kind of orangeness
tinge the wrenched event    & head falls & sun
caws & moon forgets her name    a muteness ...

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Poetry can say anything that prose says, but it has to get there far more quickly and in much less space. I think this sense of spatial, psychological pressure is the main point of difference.

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Although William Carlos Williams, with some accuracy, claimed that ‘every’ poem is an ‘experiment’, the number of successful experiments is relatively rare. Jordie Albiston’s new ‘long poem’ or ‘verse novel’ (call it what you will) is triumphantly experimental in both technique and content.

In technique, Albiston has done several things whi ...

Prayers of a Secular World edited by Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy

January-February 2016, no. 378

In her introduction to Australian Love Poems (2013), Donna Ward wrote that poems 'are the prayers of a secular world'. Now, aided by editors Jordie Albiston and Kevin Brophy, she brings us a collection that tests this notion. The introduction by David Tacey states its case fervently, with, in this case, a bit too much determination that 'the sacred is inera ...

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