David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems is Star Struck, published by UWA Publishing (2016). Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His website is: www.davidmccooey.com

David McCooey reviews 'Falling and Flying' edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle

March 2016, no. 379 25 February 2016
David McCooey reviews 'Falling and Flying' edited by Judith Beveridge and Susan Ogle
Ever since the baby boomers hit middle age, the supposed gerontophobia of their youth has been sent back to them with interest. One-liners from the 1960s – such as Pete Townshend's 'I hope I die before I get old' and Jack Weinberg's 'Don't trust anyone over thirty' – have circulated in popular culture like ghostly refrains haunting an entire generation. Falling and Flying, an anthology of cont ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell

June-July 2015, no. 372 29 May 2015
David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell
As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, masculinist forms of Australian nationalis ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Sack' by John Kinsella

March 2015, no. 369 01 March 2015
David McCooey reviews 'Sack' by John Kinsella
The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animals), and the potential for langua ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition' by Roland Greene et al.

October 2013, no. 355 27 September 2013
David McCooey reviews 'The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition' by Roland Greene et al.
It’s not just history that is written by the victors, but the encyclopedias, too. The eighteenth-century encyclopedias, such as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, were the projects of emergent superpowers, evidence of both the Enlightenment dream of universal knowledge and burgeoning colonial impulses. (That the Encyclopedia Britannica was an initiative of the Scottish Enlightenment only supports this i ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'The Collected Blue Hills' by Laurie Duggan

June 2013, no. 352 27 May 2013
David McCooey reviews 'The Collected Blue Hills' by Laurie Duggan
In The Resistance to Poetry (2004), James Longenbach claims that ‘Distrust of poetry (its potential for inconsequence, its pretensions to consequence) is the stuff of poetry.’ The Australian poet Laurie Duggan has based a career on a creative distrust of poetry, or at least a certain kind of attitude to poets and poetry. Duggan is especially suspicious of the idea of the poet as inherently int ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'On Poetry' by Glyn Maxwell

February 2013, no. 348 28 January 2013
David McCooey reviews 'On Poetry' by Glyn Maxwell
‘T his is a book for anyone,’ begins On Poetry, by the English poet Glyn Maxwell. It is a bold gesture, returning an ancient art to ‘anyone’ interested in it. Inasmuch as any book can be for everyone, On Poetry is such a book. It is funny, original, and doesn’t presuppose expertise on the part of the reader. It is the best book on reading and writing poetry for a general audience that I ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'I'm Your Man: The life of Leonard Cohen' by Sylvie Simmons

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 28 November 2012
David McCooey reviews 'I'm Your Man: The life of Leonard Cohen' by Sylvie Simmons
One day in 1984, Leonard Cohen played his latest album to Walter Yetnikoff, the head of the music division of Cohen’s record label, Columbia. Yetnikoff listened to the album, and then said, ‘Leonard, we know you’re great, we just don’t know if you are any good.’ Columbia subsequently decided against releasing the album, Various Positions (1985), in the United States, the lucrative market ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley' by John Kinsella, edited by Niall Lucy

November 2011, no. 336 21 October 2011
David McCooey reviews 'Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley' by John Kinsella, edited by Niall Lucy
This book of essays by the vegan-anarchist-pacifist poet John Kinsella on the relationship between political activism and poetry raises two big questions: how do we live in modernity? and what is it like to live beyond the mainstream? The first question lies behind the great cultural movements of the West, from Romanticism to postmodernism. Whether writers have embraced modernity or rejected it, t ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews '100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss' edited by Jamie Grant

May 2011, no. 331 21 April 2011
David McCooey reviews '100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss' edited by Jamie Grant
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss is the companion volume to Jamie Grant’s 100 Australian Poems You Need to Know (2008). The title of the new anthology shies away from its predecessor’s imperative mode, but remains a marketer’s dream. What is poetry about if not love and death? What is poetry’s purpose if not to offer powerful articulations of those things that make us speechless? ... (read more)

David McCooey reviews 'A Cool and Shaded Heart: Collected poems' and 'Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian literature and poetics' by Noel Rowe

March 2011, no. 329 14 April 2011
Noel Rowe, poet and critic, was something of an enigma to me. It is hard to believe that he was still in his thirties (just) when I met him in 1990 at the University of Sydney, he a lecturer, I a postgraduate student. Noel seemed to have an enormous wealth of experience, though he was never showy with it. In 1990 he was still a member of the Catholic religious order the Marist Fathers. (He left in ... (read more)
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