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Peter Kirkpatrick

Maria Takolander’s fourth book of poetry, Trigger Warning (University of Queensland Press, $24.99 pb, 100 pp), is a sharp and arresting collection, fierce in its emotions and determination to make language do the hard work of speaking that which hovers at the edge of articulation. This is a poetics that traces everywhere the lurking presence of the disruptive – in domestic life, in global crises, even in our most intimate experiences. Takolander’s courageous poetry becomes both a landscape in which to inscribe what is unbearable and a sphere in which it might be, at least partially, managed.

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Serious Frolic: Essays on Australian Humor edited by Fran de Greon and Peter Kirkpatrick

March 2009, no. 309

It is never a good moment at a party when, after one and a half drinks, the person you’re talking to pronounces herself ‘a little bit crazy’. You haven’t, as a rule, stumbled into the company of a psychopath; more probably, the opposite. The person who feels the need to claim craziness is nearly always the dullest, most conformist person in the room, and now you need to find a civil way of escaping her. Something similar obtains with self-­attributions of a good sense of humour.

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Westering by Peter Kirkpatrick

June 2007, no. 292

‘Westering’ is a resonant archaism which makes a wittily ironic title for Peter Kirkpatrick’s new volume. This is work which has a decidedly début du siècle flavour in its hard-edged urban perspective on ‘out west’. The dialectic of city/bush, with its history from Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson to Les Murray, is voiced in several registers through these finely crafted and sharply literate poems.

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