Poet of the month

Bill Manhire is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
28 October 2016

Before I knew about poetry it would have been the Grimms, plus Orson Welles reading ‘The Happy Prince’. Then R.A.K. Mason, Carl Sandburg, Robert Creeley – at which point I developed a taste for clunkiness, awkwardness, tonal non sequiturs, all the way from Wyatt, Hardy, and the weirder parts of Browning, to Frank O’Hara and Stevie Smith. My poetry tastes have always been pretty chaotic: in my reading universe, Lorine Niedecker, John Betjeman, Adrienne Rich, and the Beowulf poet all rub along together.

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Sarah Holland-Batt is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
26 September 2016

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.

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Geoff Page is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
24 August 2016

Public oratory and prose fiction both need a significant degree of rhythm, but for almost all poetry (including free verse) rhythm is indispensable. Both genres use the 'sound effects' of assonance, alliteration, etc., but verbal music is more important to poetry than to prose.

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Jill Jones is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
24 May 2016

Poetry is, usually, shorter, and, in many but not all cases, the lines turn. I've become less attached to prose, especially prose that pretends to 'the poetic'. I'd rather read a book that's prosaic, in the true sense, than a 'poetic' novel. Some prose is poetry, of course, but not because it's poetic. I won't even start on hybrid works.

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Poetry can say anything that prose says, but it has to get there far more quickly and in much less space. I think this sense of spatial, psychological pressure is the main point of difference.

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Kent MacCarter is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
25 February 2016

I have a host/parasite relationship to my poems, fussing over inspiration until, oftentimes, it decomposes into ruins: host poems. From that non-process, new poems, unique, sprout from the loam, subsuming what 'nutrients' exist and become my better poems. They arrive, and within ten drafts I'm happy.

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Stephen Edgar is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
27 November 2015

Influence can be overt, deliberate imitation, or more subtle, an absorption one is hardly aware of. I deliberately imitated Dylan Thomas in my adolescence and learned, along with some bad habits, much about formal technique from him – as from Donne, Herbert, Milton, Keats, Yeats, Hardy, Auden, Larkin, Hecht. In the writing of blank verse there is a long line from (dare I say it?) Shakespeare to Wordsworth, Browning, Stevens, Frost. Among Australians, Shaw Neilson, Slessor, Hope, Wright, Harwood, Campbell, Peter Porter.

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David McCooey is Poet of the Month

Australian Book Review
27 April 2015

When writing and recording music, I often just start with a technical ‘problem’. (How does parallel compression work? What does this plug-in do?) In contrast, the low-tech and ‘invisible’ nature of writing tends not to engender such creative problem-solving, so I admire those writers, such as John Tranter, who can embrace ‘proceduralist’ strategies.

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I’m inclined to say poems are triggered, or ‘arrive’, rather than they’re the fruit of inspiration. The poem does have to be written, which is in itself craft. The best poems may need a little tinkering, but on the whole I’d rather not labour away at a sow’s ear. (Though I should say I value a real sow’s ear above a silk purse.)

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Lesbia Harford would have been interesting to meet, because of her unconventionality and political views, in addition to the poetry. Earlier, Percy Shelley, for similar reasons.

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