Jennifer Harrison

~ dots of colour     points on a complex / number plane where the x horizontal axis / represents the ‘real’ part number / and the vertical y gives us unseen ...

... (read more)

In the Room with the She Wolf by Jelena Dinić & Beneath the Tree Line by Jane Gibian

by
April 2022, no. 441

In an impressive first collection, the South Australian poet Jelena Dinić incorporates her Serbian heritage and memories of war-affected Yugoslavia into an Australian migration narrative of clear-sighted beauty. William Carlos Williams wrote in the introduction to Kora In Hell: Improvisations (1920): ‘Thus a poem is tough … solely from that attenuated power which draws perhaps many broken things into a dance giving them thus a full being.’ Although far from improvisational, Dinić’s poetry compositionally integrates both fragility and strength as it draws together diverse experiences of war trauma, cultural displacement, the petty administrative routines of immigration departments, a Malaysian writing fellowship, Australian icons (such as the rainwater tank), folklore, and bathing in the Adriatic Sea.

... (read more)

In the epigraph to this collection, a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre on Edmund Husserl suggests that we are entering a poetic that challenges the possibility of conscious knowledge; consciousness is itself a maelstrom that extrudes the intruder and has ‘no inside’. What follows is both a refutation and embracement of this assertion in chatoyant language that is as thoughtful and melodic as it is powerful. The reader is obliged to work hard to navigate the narrative, and I have rarely read poetry where the search for meaning has been felt so deeply.

... (read more)

'The world closed in, but it was fortunate / there was her own interior to explore: / the prayer books a captain might have read / on long voyages, now small with gossamer pages ...'

... (read more)

Sarah Day’s début collection, A Hunger to Be Less Serious (1987), married lightness of touch with depth of insight. In Towards Light & Other Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 108 pp, 9781925780024), Day continues this project in poems concerned with light, a thing presented as both ...

... (read more)

After a ten-year gestation, actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda [2004], Crash [2004]) has realised his dream to produce a film on the legendary jazz musician Miles Davis. Cheadle who directs, co-writes, and plays the central role eschews the usual linear narrative in Miles Ahead and takes as his ...

... (read more)

It may seem strange to begin a review of Paul Carter’s extraordinary poetry collection by quoting the words of another writer, but these lines of Boris Pasternak’s – taken from his essay in The Poet’s Work (1989), a collection of writings by twentieth-century poets on their art – seem particularly pertinent:

... (read more)

Outcrop: Radical Australian Poetry of Land edited by Corey Wakeling and Jeremy Balius

by
March 2014, no. 359

Radical histories often balance political ideas and actions on a see-saw of progressive liberal ideology on the one hand, and a thumbs-down rejection of the ‘old guard’ on the other – a challenge to perceived obsolete, lazy, or contaminated ways of seeing, doing, or being. When I encountered the word ‘radical’ in the title of Outcrop, its rich polit ...

Colombine selects from Jennifer Harrison’s four previous collections and adds a book-length group of new poems. In keeping with current practice, the new poems precede the selections, so that anyone wanting to consider Harrison’s twenty-year poetic career in terms of development has to begin ...

... (read more)

Folly & Grief by Jennifer Harrison

by
October 2006, no. 285

Folly & Grief, Melbourne poet Jennifer Harrison’s third collection, reads on one level as a playful enquiry into the centuries-long association of folly with innovative live performance. Lizard men abseil down gallery walls; an extreme body artist creates a living sculpture of bees; a ventriloquist’s dummy stirs to life; New Age travellers toss firesticks, knives and chainsaws high into the sky. While the danger lurking in such displays is often what retains our interest (‘He juggles a chainsaw … even the fine patinating rain / feels like sprayed blood on my face and lips’), Harrison is equally concerned with the challenging apprenticeships these unusual skills demand. The road to becoming a master entertainer is explicitly connected to the craft of writing: ‘a juggler first conquers clumsiness / then writes the same poem, over and over.’

... (read more)
Page 1 of 2