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Anders Villani

Anders Villani

Anders Villani is the author of Aril Wire (Five Islands Press, 2018) and Totality (Recent Work Press, 2022)

Anders Villani reviews ‘Circadia’ by Judith Bishop

July 2024, no. 466 21 June 2024
In Poetry’s Knowing Ignorance, Joseph Acquisto borrows a definition of poetry from Phillipe Jaccottet: ‘that key that you must always keep on losing’. Attempting to know its subject, poetry reveals that there is always more to know. But the French poet’s metaphor, for Acquisto, does not mean ‘simple contingency’. It suggests ‘a complex play of certainty and doubt … that actively re ... (read more)

‘Calm Voice’, a new poem by Anders Villani

April 2024, no. 463 25 March 2024
On a fatherhood weekend, the men drag a dead manna gum, chained to a ute, into camp. They’re talking innocence. Is it inborn, or clad layer by layer by behaviour? Around the grey stump the men start chainsaws and crack beers, open a phone (there’s reception), search innocence definition. Blamelessness. Chastity. Childhood. But also integrity, which means innocence. The confusion – that integ ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews 'Judas Boys' by Joel Deane

November 2023, no. 459 27 October 2023
Early in Joel Deane’s third novel, the point of view shifts from the first to the third person as the narrator, Patrick ‘Pin’ Pinnock, reflects on a moment in boyhood, standing atop a diving board at night: He looks down and sees the white frame of the rectangular pool, but everything inside the white frame is black. The darkness within the frame is his past and future, he thinks, and the ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews two new poetry collections

January-February 2024, no. 461 24 September 2023
‘Poems reawaken in us,’ writes James Longenbach, ‘the pleasure of the unintelligibility of the world.’ They do so via ‘mechanisms of self-resistance’: disjunctive strategies that work, for Longenbach, to ‘resist our intelligence almost successfully’. What ‘almost’ means here is, of course, a matter of taste – and style. Nonetheless, this Romantic mandate – that poems achiev ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews 'You Made Me This Way' by Shannon Molloy

April 2023, no. 452 27 March 2023
Shannon Molloy’s 2020 memoir, Fourteen, recounted a childhood and adolescence of grisly homophobic violence. Yet many readers of that book – a bestseller, adapted for the stage and optioned for a film production – may find You Made Me This Way noteworthy in part because it reveals what Fourteen left out: the sexual abuse Molloy suffered, beginning at age five, at the hands of an older boy. T ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews 'Mirabilia: New poems' by Lisa Gorton

October 2022, no. 447 27 September 2022
Mirabilia is the plural form of the Latin mirabile: wonderful thing, marvel. Since the publication of her first book, Press Release, in 2007, Lisa Gorton has cultivated such a voice in Australian poetry. Mordant political wit, formal and thematic bricolage, a liquid control of the line, and the ability to trace patterns across the strata of history and society – to rove between time and the time ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews 'Pyre' by Maureen Alsop

August 2022, no. 445 28 July 2022
‘Every sacred language,’ writes Octavio Paz, ‘is secret. And conversely: every secret language … borders on the sacred.’ In the liminal Pyre, poet Maureen Alsop traverses – and erodes – this secret/sacred border, which is also the border of life and death, ‘the valley between our language’ (‘North Channel’). Each of the book’s section titles is a variation on ‘Selenomancy ... (read more)

Anders Villani reviews 'Running time' by Emily Stewart and 'Inheritance' by Nellie Le Beau

June 2022, no. 443 25 May 2022
The lyric subject, literature’s most intimate ‘I’, has vexed critics for centuries. Is it the poet? Is it a fiction, a device? Or is the relation between author and speaker, as Jonathan Culler suggests, ‘indeterminate’, such that ‘any model … that attempts to fix or prescribe that relationship will be inadequate’? Two new award-winning Australian poetry collections offer fine-grain ... (read more)

'Deer Knife', a poem by Anders Villani

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
When life hides behind the mulch     of what lives, can they expect more                    than this refusal to hold each other in the open? Lemongrass floss between molars,     you wish for foxes. You tell me you don’t wish for them    &nbs ... (read more)
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