Letters from the Periphery
Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 103 pp
To those who have followed Alex Skovron’s poetry since The Rearrangement (1988), it’s not a surprise to learn that he has been the general editor of an encyclopedia, a book editor, a lover of classical music and chess, an occasional translator of Dante and Borges, and the author of six well-spaced poetry collections, a stylish novella, and a collection of short stories. He can often seem the very embodiment of the European/Jewish/Melburnian intellectual (despite an adolescence spent in Sydney).
Skovron’s poetry can most conveniently be sampled from Towards the Equator: New and selected poems (2014). Letters from the Periphery is, however, an important step forward both in range and manner. Its impressive opening section establishes the collection’s overall tone: seven enigmatic, metaphysical, indeed uncanny poems that make a point of refusing easy resolution.