Toby Davidson’s first collection, Beast Language, was published nine years ago. That feels surprising: its freshness then makes it feel more recent now. Much of the movement in that book is present in his new collection, Four Oceans (Puncher & Wattmann, $25 pb, 93 pp), literally so, as we begin with a long sequence aboard the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney. It’s his younger self again, leaving home for the ‘eastern states’, but with an esprit de l’escalier twist, as that younger self gets to see and describe everything with the eye and language of the older, freer, more assured Davidson.... (read more)
We received almost 1,000 entries in this year’s Peter Porter Poetry Prize – by far our biggest field to date. Entries came from twenty-two countries. The judges – Ali Alizadeh, Jill Jones, Felicity Plunkett – have now shortlisted
(after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’) What is the space between this hut and that mountain her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
but impenetrable black, and frosty cold.
She is writing this at a table in the cabin,
spinning thoughts like threads, as if they can hold
tents blooming like flowe ...
(after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’)
What is the space between this hut and that mountain
her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
She sees the flowers are red flags
like pennants hauled up, heralding danger,
hailing the world and its lovers
watch out, watch out.
On long stalks they wobble
and wave, handkerchiefs flaring
long after the ship has left port,
their scarlet hue a constancy, ...
I Marie Antoinette, imprisoned in Paris in 1791,
to Marie Louise (Louis) Girardin,
departing from Brest on d’Entrecasteaux’s expedition
Your breasts, small ...
Snow laced the lower slopes
of the mountain today, trees
hooked to filigrees of light,
sky tethered to the mountain’s bulk,
its table cloth of white.
Possibility was everywhere,
the embroidery of snow, illuminating.
Out of the corners of our eyes we spied
our own footsteps like animal spoor,
faintly articulated in the white blanket ...
you gesture with sharp fingers