Rose Lucas

Kin by Anne Elvey

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September 2014, no. 364

Kin, Anne Elvey’s first full collection of poetry, brings together a wide range of poems full of light and the acuity of close attention. These poems focus on a world of inter-relationships where tree and water, creature and human, air and breathing, coexist – suggestive of an underlying philo-sophy of humility and acceptance. This is a world which envisions at least the potential of ...

The prolific Tracy Ryan’s new novel, Claustrophobia, is a smart and fast-paced hurtle through lust, obsession, and stultifying patterns of dependency and self-delusion. Written in a low-key, ironic style, Ryan borrows from tropes of crime fiction, in particular the novels of Patricia Highsmith, as well as the double-crossing figure of the femme fatale, < ...

In Workshopping the Heart, Jeri Kroll brings us a feast of poetry: selections from her seven previous collections, poems from 2005 to 2012, and excerpts from her forthcoming verse novel, Vanishing Point. From 1982 to the present we are able to witness an evolution towards a mature poetic voice as Kroll negotiates her way through life’s various traver ...

Judy Johnson’s sixth collection of poetry brings us a strong range of closely observed, powerful poems. As the title suggests, they are all linked together by elemental themes: the apparent solidity of stone, the persistence of scar tissue, the promises of air, and the complex gifts of water. In their often very ...

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Australian Poetry Journal, the biannual publication published by Australian Poetry, offers a national focus for poetry and criticism. It includes contributions from established writers and from new voices. All in all, APJ indicates a cheering and cohering centre of gravity for all things poetic in contemporary Australia.

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Over nearly thirty years and ten books, Diane Fahey has made a significant contribution to Australian poetry. The Wing Collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, showcases a wonderful array of her work. This generous collection offers a rich journey through Fahey’s key images and the recurring preoccupations that ...

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The subtle beauty of the title of Sarah Day’s new collection of poetry, Grass Notes, epitomises the lightness of touch and intensity that characterises the poems. This is a collection of observing what might otherwise be seen as slight or glancing, yet that offers powerful prisms of insight. In a Whitmanesque mode, Day’s perspective not only looks up from the grass into the vastness of the world, but also looks at the grass itself, the unexceptional yet foundational ground of all perception and experience. Perhaps as the poet scribbles ‘notes’ in that grass, there is also an echo of Wordsworth and post-romantics such as Judith Wright or Mary Oliver. The title also chimes homophonically with the idea of the musical ‘grace note’, that small, quick, note that runs into the next and, in its delicacy, makes that central sound, or image, both more appealing and more complex. In Day’s work, it is the delicacy of such lateral images, often derived from close consideration of the natural world, that complicates and enriches the ideas at work within the poems.

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Event by Judith Bishop

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November 2007, no. 296

In her other life, Judith Bishop works as a linguist. A passionate concern with the intricacies of language, with the visceral effect of words on the tongue, aurally, and as they are knitted and unravelled on the page is manifest in her first collection of poems, Event. These poems are deeply immersed both in a complex observation of, and engagement with, the natural world, in particular with the ways in which poetic language can intervene in the world of perception, experience and desire. ‘You have to lean and listen for the heart / behind the shining paint’, Bishop writes in ‘Still Life with Cockles and Shells’, which won the 2006 ABR Poetry Prize and which Dorothy Porter included in The Best Australian Poems 2006. Like the beautiful illusions of the still-life painting, Bishop’s poetry creates an aesthetic surface which mimics the stasis of death and also harbours the ‘flutter in its flank’, the pulse of possibility visible to the attentive reader–observer. Look closely, her poetry exhorts, yield to the currents of language and image, become witness to death and life in intimate and endlessly renewing ‘events’ of struggle and embrace.

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