My first poetic influences were all American, due to the fact that I spent my critical early reading years in the United States. My poetic imagination is steeped in the disjecta membra of poets like Bishop, Stevens, Bogan, Dickinson, Ammons, Lowell, Moore, Hughes, Rich, and Eliot; I couldn’t erase their presence if I tried. Bishop, in particular, is a poet I never tire of – her forensic eye and tremendous command of the line are extraordinary. Beyond those earliest influences, there are too many poets to begin naming names, for fear of never stopping. Recently, I’ve been blown over by the exquisite, savage poems of Pascale Petit, particularly those in Fauverie.... (read more)
As I combed it,
he sat cross-legged
in front of me ...
We tread the wood in J. Crew,
pluck grey seersucker and navy cashmere
and talk about dressing for the seasons ...
In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Sarah Holland-Batt reads her poem 'Quetzalcoatl' which features in the 2016 QLD anthology.... (read more)
Unexpected on a day like this—
sun shuttling through the 125th Street bridge,
plastic strung in Harlem's elms like tattered wreaths:
unseasonable, unreasonable spring.
Under the red shadow of the Grant tenements
lunchtime noshers clatter china at Bettolona,
dogwalkers spread out on the grass in Sakura Park,
men from the halfway home
drag their deckchair ...
Bebop sparkplug spurred in withershins,
loop-de-loop interloper, he hop-steps
ravines of bark, shirking faultlines,
going solo, headstrong, scion of impatience,
juddering like the stalled engine
of prop-plane on tundra runway, skirting
and skimming up, peeling out,
reeling in spiral, spy, scout, prematurely
thrusting into the unknown, Magellan
How fine it is to mutiny
against my tired mind—
say self, you are through,
to smash into a mirrorball
of echoes all scaled
in dizzying Nordic blue
feel the universe tilt
and infinitely rebuild
like a skerrick of spindle silver
and never be held—
this is the freedom
of the uni ...
—for Vera Pavlova, in Mexico City
On the bus to Teotihuacan, we turn
a new god's name on our tongues
like a charm, jagging past
chocked over the motorway,
grey pixels stacked so high they merge
with the smoked white Mexican sky—
then a guitar player in the aisle
begins a song whose only familiar
You tilt lapis to your lip –
a day light as wicker.
By the water, bullrushes bow
into sailboat blue, lace-necked
egrets fossick and pick,
and the elements rearrange
a goliath heron's skull to mud.
Up on the embankment
a crouching child scratches
his name into a temple wall.
Ultramarine, lapis lazuli—
Towards the end of Fiona McFarlane's enigmatic collection of short stories, The High Places, we meet the odd, enchanting story 'Good News for Modern Man', which functions as a key to many of the book's concerns. The story centres around Dr Bill Birch, a malacologist undertaking an obsessive study of a colossal female squid, Mabel, which he has trapped in Ne ...