Geoff Goodfellow

Song of Less by Joan Fleming & Blight Street by Geoff Goodfellow

by
May 2022, no. 442

In the years since Les Murray’s The Boys Who Stole the Funeral (1980) and Alan Wearne’s The Nightmarkets (1986), the verse novel has become, despite its inherent difficulties, an established literary form in Australian poetry (and fiction, for that matter). Verse novelist Dorothy Porter (1954–2008), with The Monkey’s Mask (1994) and other works, gave it further prominence. Steven Herrick is just one of the poets who are making it an important part of the Young Adult field. A series of interviews with Australasian verse novelists (The Verse Novel), edited by Linda Weste, has recently gone into a second edition.

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Geoff Goodfellow is best known as a poet. Out of Copley Street, his first non-verse publication, chronicles his working-class coming of age in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs during the 1950s and 1960s.

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In 2004 Carla Reed, a thirty-year-old kindergarten teacher, began to experience a cluster of mysterious symptoms. Bruises appeared and vanished ‘like stigmata’, and a numb headache and sudden exhaustion suggested that something was ‘terribly wrong’. Her pains were ghostly and mobile. When her doctors suggested migraines and prescribed aspirin, she demanded blood tests. She received a call to come back for more tests, and still recalls the urgency in the nurse’s voice. ‘Come now,’ Reed remembers her saying. ‘Come now.’

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