Vagabond Press

After Naptime by Chris Edwards

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April 2015, no. 370

Chris Edwards is an enigmatic presence in Australian poetry. Part of a generation of poets who came of age in the 1970s, he co-edited the short-lived Beyond Poetry (1974–76) but then abandoned publication for many years. With the onset of a new millennium, he unexpectedly re-emerged, publishing a series of chapbooks that culminated in his first full-length ...

With Axis, his first full-length publication, a.j. carruthers explicitly aligns himself with the lineage of the long poem. It is a bold move, if we consider that the major exponents of the form, from Ezra Pound to Anne Waldman, had invariably produced significant bodies of work prior to embarking on their poetic marathons. But ambition is fundamental to the long poem, and Axis, comprising thirty-one extended sequences and billed as ‘Book the first’, certainly outstrips Pound’s inaugural efforts – a mere sixteen Cantos issued in 1925 – by a country mile.

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A Cool and Shaded Heart by Noel Rowe & Ethical Investigations by Noel Rowe

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March 2011, no. 329

Noel Rowe, poet and critic, was something of an enigma to me. It is hard to believe that he was still in his thirties (just) when I met him in 1990 at the University of Sydney, he a lecturer, I a postgraduate student. Noel seemed to have an enormous wealth of experience, though he was never showy with it ...

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Bestseller by M.T.C. Cronin

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October 2001, no. 235

In the August 2001 issue of Meanjin, M.T.C. Cronin writes of poetry: ‘The poems are not as useful as ribs but like them do protect life and when removed from the body grow certain murmurings of the mind.’ No matter how chaotic or runic her prose pronouncements, Cronin’s poems are quirky and original at best, diffuse and repetitive at worst.

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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: after the ninth section it just breaks off with a colophon indicating that there could be more words one day, or perhaps not. It’s left unfinished too in the sense of being a work which never resolves into a coherent narrative or even a coherent thought-structure. The polyphony of the text is left jagged and juxtapositional, much in the manner of block music. Or more likely in the manner of a downloaded text where many voices have criss-crossed in a many-timed, interactive way.

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