Pitt Street Poetry, $28 pb, 108 pp
Andrew Taylor has been an important figure in the Australian poetic landscape since his first book, The Cool Change, appeared in 1971. Identified with no particular group or aesthetic tendency, he has worked as poet and academic in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, and is now retired from teaching and based in Sydney.
At the time of The Cool Change, Taylor looked to be the promising successor to Melbourne academic poets such as Vincent Buckley and Chris Wallace-Crabbe. In later decades he was also identified with Adelaide, where he ran Writers Week for several years, and then with Perth, where he also developed his reputation as a critic.
Almost thirty years ago I wrote: ‘Andrew Taylor is now a poet of great subtlety who consistently moves and entertains his readers as very few others can.’ After almost another thirty years, and having now read Taylor’s latest collection, Shore Lines, I find no reason to modify this opinion. There may be just a little more emphasis on ‘entertainment’ these days, but there is still plenty here to be moved by.