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Chris Arnold

I Have Decided to Remain Vertical by Gaylene Carbis & The Drama Student by Autumn Royal

July 2023, no. 455

There are striking parallels between I Have Decided to Remain Vertical by Gayelene Carbis and The Drama Student by Autumn Royal. Both are new collections from experienced Melbourne poets; both think through women’s places in social and material contexts; both display an intense interest in material things and material places; both engage with works of art beyond their own pages.

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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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Where We Are by Alison Flett & ecliptical by Hazel Smith

August 2022, no. 445

Hazel Smith’s ecliptical features an image of a Sieglinde Karl-Spence work of art, ‘Becoming’, a pair of ‘winged feet woven with allocasuarina needles’. It is a striking image, evocative of Mercury, with one foot resting on the other, as if the right foot’s instep is itchy. The idea of ‘itchy feet’ is something that ties ecliptical to Alison Flett’s Where We Are. Flett and Smith are both migrants to Australia; their poetry is sensitive to its site of writing, and to international and interpersonal connections.

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The reader of Stasis Shuffle is immediately confronted with the collection’s naming convention. Titles of poems and sections are parenthesised, for example, ‘(best before)’, ‘(weevils)’, ‘(& then). More than simple stylisation, this convention suggests that every poem is a fragment, a meander through consciousness. The first poem, ‘(best before)’, begins ‘liberated / from the drudgery / of usefulness’, a quote from Walter Benjamin. From there, Stasis Shuffle wanders flâneur-style through language, politics, and many different kinds of plant life. The central arc of Stasis Shuffle, however, is its self-consciousness about subjectivity and process. ‘(best before)’ asks ‘is your slowly accreting poem / morphing into a larger cloud yet’? As the collection unfolds, poems begin to comment on themselves and the writing process.

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ABR is pleased to present the shortlist for the 2022 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, which this year received 1,328 poems from thirty-four countries. Congratulations to those who reached the shortlist: Chris Arnold, Dan Disney, Michael Farrell, Anthony Lawrence, and Debbie Lim. Each of their poems is listed below in alphabetical order by author. For the full longlist, click here.

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Chris Arnold reads his poems 'pinned', 'derailed', 'ampersand', and 'Reason 6' which feature in series two of the Western Australian States of Poetry anthology.