Geoff Page

Geoff Page is based in Canberra. His books include 1953 (UQP 2013), Improving the News (Pitt Street Poetry 2013), New Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann 2013), Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir (Picaro Press 2014), Gods and Uncles (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), Hard Horizons (Pitt Street Poetry 2017) and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography (UWA Publishing 2016). He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc). His most recent books are in medias res (Pitt Street Poetry, 2019) and Codicil (Flying Islands Press, 2020)

Geoff Page reviews 'Song of Less' by Joan Fleming and 'Blight Street' by Geoff Goodfellow

May 2022, no. 442 24 April 2022
Geoff Page reviews 'Song of Less' by Joan Fleming and 'Blight Street' by Geoff Goodfellow
In the years since Les Murray’s The Boys Who Stole the Funeral (1980) and Alan Wearne’s The Nightmarkets (1986), the verse novel has become, despite its inherent difficulties, an established literary form in Australian poetry (and fiction, for that matter). Verse novelist Dorothy Porter (1954–2008), with The Monkey’s Mask (1994) and other works, gave it further prominence. Steven Herrick i ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Selected Poems' by David Musgrave

January–February 2022, no. 439 22 December 2021
Geoff Page reviews 'Selected Poems' by David Musgrave
It is disconcerting how the author of seven poetry collections can ambush the normally attentive reader of Australian poetry with such a forceful body of work as David Musgrave’s Selected Poems, which runs to more than two hundred pages. Musgrave’s individual collections have appeared with various publishers over the years since To Thalia back in 2004, but insufficient attention has been paid ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Poems: Seven ages' by Barbara Giles

December 1997–January 1998, no. 197 01 December 1997
Geoff Page reviews 'Poems: Seven ages' by Barbara Giles
It is a truism that poets don’t need to write their autobiography. Roland Barthes, with his ‘death of the author’, may have thought otherwise but in Barbara Giles’ new book, Poems: Seven Ages, published in her eighty-seventh year, there is no mistaking the autobiographical core. Though neither the title nor the blurb suggests it, Poems: Seven Ages is really a ‘selected’. Giles has gon ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Letters from the Periphery' by Alex Skovron

October 2021, no. 436 23 September 2021
Geoff Page reviews 'Letters from the Periphery' by Alex Skovron
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 v ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Who’s Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry' edited by Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker

May 2003, no. 251 01 May 2003
Geoff Page reviews 'Who’s Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry' edited by Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker
In his foreword to this reference work, Andrew Motion says that such books ‘exist to provoke argument’. In their preface, editors Willhardt and Parker suggest that ‘to compile such a volume as this may seem absurd; to do so successfully may be impossible’. Forewarned is forearmed, it would seem. Despite all this, the book is useful – about the only adjective to which a reference work sh ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'A Paddock in His Head' by Brendan Ryan

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
Geoff Page reviews 'A Paddock in His Head' by Brendan Ryan
There has been something of a fashion in recent years to dismiss what might loosely be called ‘rural’ poetry because the vast majority of Australians live in cities near the coast. Nevertheless, ‘rural’ poetry keeps appearing, and not just in the works of Les Murray. A considerable number of Australian poets are only one generation away from the land (even John Tranter was born in Cooma), ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'The Strangest Place: New and selected poems' by Stephen Edgar

March 2021, no. 429 22 February 2021
Geoff Page reviews 'The Strangest Place: New and selected poems' by Stephen Edgar
Stephen Edgar, over the past two decades or so, has earned himself an assured place in contemporary Australian poetry (even in English-language poetry more generally) as its pre-eminent and most consistent formalist. His seemingly effortless poems appear in substantial overseas journals, reminding readers that rhyme and traditional metre have definitely not outlived their usefulness. Edgar’s Th ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Space: New Writing, No. 3' edited by Anthony Lynch and David McCooey and 'Island 105' edited by Gina Mercer

October 2006, no. 285 01 October 2006
Geoff Page reviews 'Space: New Writing, No. 3' edited by Anthony Lynch and David McCooey and 'Island 105' edited by Gina Mercer
The American poet William Carlos Williams often admitted how much he owed to the ‘little magazines’ that first published him. As they lapsed in and out of existence, he regarded them all as essentially the one publication and was grateful for the lifeblood they gave his (at first unpopular) writing. It is to be hoped that Australian literary magazines of various political shades and aesthetic ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'A Gathered Distance: Poems' by Mark Tredinnick and 'The Mirror Hurlers' by Ross Gillett

June–July 2020, no. 422 27 May 2020
Geoff Page reviews 'A Gathered Distance: Poems' by Mark Tredinnick and 'The Mirror Hurlers' by Ross Gillett
For Mark Tredinnick, best known so far as a nature poet employing distinctive and often ingenious imagery, A Gathered Distance is a brave book – even a risky one. It’s essentially the diary of a family breakup or, more accurately, its immediate aftermath. As with most poetry in the confessional genre, the poet is explicit about some people and reticent about others. From the poetry itself, it ... (read more)

Geoff Page reviews 'Eagerly We Burn: Selected poems 1980–2018' by Barry Hill

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
Geoff Page reviews 'Eagerly We Burn: Selected poems 1980–2018' by Barry Hill
There is probably no book in a poet’s career more important than their first Selected Poems. It is here that poets have the opportunity to display the best of their work in all its variety over several decades. Individual collections are a mere step on the way. Collecteds tend to be posthumous and of interest mainly to scholars, reference libraries, and a cluster of devotees. Barry Hill’s Eag ... (read more)
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