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Martin Harrison

Martin Harrison (1949–2014) was a celebrated poet and critic. Born in Yorkshire, he settled in Sydney in 1978 after living for a few years in New Zealand. He worked as a journalist for the ABC, where he was responsible for adventurous and innovative arts programming (particularly with regard to poetry and sound art), and taught at UTS, where he was a Senior Lecturer. He authored nine collections of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Wild Bees (2008) and the posthumously published Happiness (2014). A collection of his critical writings is currently being edited.

Martin Harrison reviews 'Beautiful Veins' by Mal Morgan and 'Fighting in the Shade' by Peter Kocan

April 2000, no. 219 01 April 2000
In a note to the reader, Mal Morgan tells us that this last, posthumous collection Beautiful Veins – it comes with a CD selected from this and other work – was written during the five months after his being diagnosed with lung cancer. They’re note-taking, note-jotting poems. A sense of someone hurriedly trying to account for and describe his response both to the diagnosis and to the radiothe ... (read more)

National Library of Australia Essay | 'Natural Horizons' by Martin Harrison

October 1998, no. 205 01 October 1998
State of mind: it’s a simple phrase but it is one which has always interested me. ‘State of mind’ is about what? Sets of feelings? Predispositions and moods? Or perhaps more it’s a term to do with the groove which thoughts regularly follow along. A state of mind is one which makes you respond in a particular way: you tend to act in a particular way; you have recurrent feelings. The phrase ... (read more)

Martin Harrison reviews 'Melbourne Elegies' by K.F. Pearson and 'Body-Flame' by Michael Heald

June 1999, no. 211 01 June 1999
The problem with K.F. Pearson’s Melbourne Elegies is that Goethe – on whose classic of sex­tourism, Roman Elegies 1788–1790, these rhetorical, literary poems are loosely based – is Goethe: difficult to translate, still little read in English. It gives him problems. Pearson, to my mind, is not attempting a Poundian ‘replacement’ of an ancient text within the frame­work of a cont ... (read more)

Martin Harrison reviews 'Blackout' by John Tranter

October 2000, no. 225 01 October 2000
Blackout is a poem written (deliberately, I think) in transition – or even perhaps in transit. Structured such that it lacks a singular, personal voice, it could be read as a response to the question: What is a poem in the era of digital media? Or more particularly, more precisely –Where does such a poem start? What’s its language, how does it end? Blackout, for example, is left unfinished: ... (read more)