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Chris Andrews

In this week’s Podcast we’re delighted to present the five poems shortlisted in the 2023 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. This happily alliterative prize was created in 2005 and renamed in 2011, the year after the great poet’s death. Peter Rose introduces our far-flung quintet, who then introduce and read their poems. Further details and illuminating comments on the individual poems by the judges can be found here. We hope you enjoy these wonderful poems. It’s a great way to get to know them before the prize ceremony on Thursday, 19 January.

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The 2023 Shortlist

by Australian Book Review
January-February 2023, no. 450

Read the five shortlisted poems for ABR's 2023 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.

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Melodrome by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews

November 2018, no. 406

‘I didn’t realise I was becoming untranslatable,’ Marcelo Cohen confessed after the publication of his eleventh novel, in an interview with Argentine newspaper Clarín. ‘And when I did realise, it was already too late.’ Given that Cohen is himself a renowned translator – the list of authors he has translated into Spanish ...

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Lime Green Chair, which is Chris Andrews’s second book, won in manuscript form the Anthony Hecht 2011 Poetry Prize. Andrews is also a prize-winning translator from the Spanish of Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, and others. Lime Green Chair translates and transforms everyday moments into auguries of time disappearing. Each of these mostly 21-line poems is finely patterned with unexpected rhyme and vowels that ring into a following line, as if directed by some hidden constraint: ‘Sounds that came into the world in my lifetime / already sound old-fangled: dial-up modems, / the implosion of a television tube / in a set dropped from a high window ...’ (‘Sonic Age’). 

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If between one footfall and the next, the wind
can swivel and issue empty threats of rain,
for all we know this could be one of those days,
unpinpointable even in retrospect,
when a dimly held belief begins to melt,
say the belief that it’s somehow generous
to assume that everyone’s rather like you.
An open-ended day promising nothing,
but just as full of zipjams, language splashes
and thixotropic flows, lost somewhere between
the day you realised you wouldn’t always
have to pretend to be interested in X
(opera, hot cars, Buffy Summers, poetry)

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