As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, mas ... More
WHICH POETS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOU?
Countless contemporary Australian poets, Tomas Tranströmer, Weldon Kees, Elizabeth Bishop. I could go on, but it’s not just poets. I would love to write a poem as ‘poetic’ as Michelangelo Antonioni’s films. I wish I could be as funny as Pierre Étaix. And th ... More
The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animal ... More
David McCooey reviews 'The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition' by Roland Greene et al.
It’s not just history that is written by the victors, but the encyclopedias, too. The eighteenth-century encyclopedias, such as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, were the projects More
In The Resistance to Poetry (2004), James Longenbach claims that ‘Distrust of poetry (its potential for inconsequence, its pretensions to consequence) is the stuff of poetry.’ T More
‘T his is a book for anyone,’ begins On Poetry, by the English poet Glyn Maxwell. It is a bold gesture, returning an ancient art to ‘anyone’ interested in it. Inasmuch as any book can be for everyone, On Poetry is such a book. It is funny, original, and doesn’t presuppose expertise on the part of the reader. It is the best book on reading and ... More
One day in 1984, Leonard Cohen played his latest album to Walter Yetnikoff, the head of the music division of Cohen’s record label, Columbia. Yetnikoff listened to the album, and then said, ‘Leonard, we know you’re great, we just don’t know if you are any good.’ Columbia subsequently decided against releasing the album, Various Positions (1985), in ... More
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss is the companion volume to Jamie Grant’s 100 Australian Poems You Need to Know (2008). The title of the new anthology shies away f More
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 lectur More