John Hawke

This is one of the times you won’t remember.
You are lying side by side with your father

as the radio murmurs, a ghost wind shifting
from magnet to magnet that does not ...

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There has as yet been no comprehensive critical study of the poets associated with the ‘Generation of ’68’, of whom Martin Johnston was perhaps the most naturally gifted and certainly the most intellectually expansive representative. This is because the project of these poets, to fully incorporate the stylistic innovations of modernist poetics and its development in postwar American models within local practice, is still ongoing. If we examine only those poets gathered in the 1979 New Australian Poetry anthology – in which Johnston’s lengthy experiment in parataxis, ‘The Blood Aquarium’, appears as a signature work – we find major authors even today in the process of developing their practice.

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John Hawke – poet, academic, and poetry editor of ABR – chaired the judging panel for the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. At the Porter Prize ceremony held at the Boyd Community Hub on January 16, he addressed various themes in his opening remarks. Following readings of the five shortlisted poems, Morag Fraser then named A. Frances Johnson as the overall winner of the Porter Prize. 

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Ashbery Mode edited by Michael Farrell

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November 2019, no. 416

The recent death of Les Murray can be likened in its significance to the passing of Victor Hugo, after which, as Stéphane Mallarmé famously wrote, poetry ‘could fly off, freely scattering its numberless and irreducible elements’. Murray’s subsumption of the Australian nationalist tradition in poetry, including The Bulletin schools of both the 1890s (A.G. Stephens) and 1940s (Douglas Stewart), has delineated an influential pathway in our literature for more than fifty years. Yet the death in 2017 of the American poet John Ashbery might be viewed as equivalent in its effect, given the impact of his work on several generations of local poets, which has in many respects constituted a counter-stream to Murray’s often narrowly defined nationalism. Ashbery’s voice has been infectiously dominant in English-language poetries over several decades, in a manner similar to T.S. Eliot’s impression on poets of the earlier twentieth century. Critic Susan Schultz, the publisher of this volume, has charted the dynamics of its transcultural influence in her aptly titled collection, The Tribe of John (1995)

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In his infamous 1955 review of Patrick White’s The Tree of Man, A.D. Hope’s dismissal of the book as ‘illiterate verbal sludge’ focuses on a perceived confusion between the categories of poetry and prose. White ‘tries to write a novel as if he were writing poetry, and lyric poetry at that’, writes Hope ...

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John HawkeJohn Hawke is a Senior Lecturer, specialising in poetry, at Monash University. His books include

Lachlan Brown 800x500 monoLachlan Brown is a senior lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. He is the author of&nbs ...

Feeding the Ghost 1: Criticism on contemporary Australian poetry edited by Andy Kissane, David Musgrave, and Carolyn Rickett

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January-February 2019, no. 408

Perhaps the most encouraging sign in this Puncher & Wattmann collection of critical essays on contemporary Australian poets is the prominent ‘1’ on its front cover, promising that this will be the first in a series. Given that last year’s Contemporary Australian Poetry anthology by the same publisher featured more than two hundred poets ...

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To celebrate the best books of 2018, Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser

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To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wyndham, James Ley, Geordie Williamson, Jane Sullivan, Tom Griffiths, Mark Edele, and Brenda Niall.

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