Giramondo, $24 pb, 103 pp
Sydney-based poet and editor Toby Fitch has spent much of the last decade traversing the field of radical French modernist poets, especially Arthur Rimbaud and Guillaume Apollinaire. That engagement ignited Fitch’s imagination. He began inverting, recombining, mistranslating, and mimicking their techniques in his own poetry. In his new collection, Sydney Spleen, he has made a sophisticated, fresh move that enhances his signature playfulness and tongue-in-cheek poetic antics.
Under the influence of Charles Baudelaire, Fitch has swerved into a mood that is disgruntled, politically disenchanted, derisive and, consequently, outraged. Baudelaire’s Le Spleen de Paris: Petits poèmes en prose (Fitch’s favourite book) and Les Fleurs du Mal are two sources of animation that fuel the poems in Sydney Spleen, as do Apollinaire’s Calligrams.