Chris WallaceCrabbe

'Obituary of A.D. Hope' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Friday, 25 October 2019

As physical as he was metaphysical, his playful courtesy equal to his reflectiveness, Alec Hope has mortally gone from us now. In his time, which was far from short, he was like nobody else in our literary landscape. Coming from an age in which subject matter mattered, Hope became a poet of astonishingly wide range, as of remarkable intensity. His burning star has been clouded a little in recent decades because of his investment in masculine sexuality, but he survives powerfully: sometimes hilariously. We won’t forget his Red Riding Hood devouring the wolf. Among his recent forebears, he rejoiced in Baudelaire, Yeats, and early Auden, the latter an overpowering figure when the young Australian sailed to Oxford.

T.S. Eliot’s brand of juxta-positional modernism meant little to Alec, who found it all a bit shifty, but he did share the St Louis master‘s ideas about poetic impersonality: a poem was the Ding an sich, not the shadow of its writer within it. Once, indeed, he poked mullock at Eliot by citing his putative play, Merd, or In the Cathedral.

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At last, books about Such is Life and its endearingly attractive, quixotically sophisticated author, Joseph Furphy, are coming out. Three in the last few months is a welcome harvest, certainly a happier response than Furphy got during the prolonged Wilcannia showers of his life.

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Peter Goldsworthy, doctor and poet, is a writer of significant style and concision. This new selection of his lyric poetry lives up to its jaunty, graffitied, lavender cover; it bespeaks lightness. And lightness is damned hard work. You don’t get there just by smiling and going to book launches ...

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Who is, or rather who was, André Gide? I ask this because a distinguished editor warned me, on hearing that I was about to review Robert Dessaix’s enticing new book, that nowadays nobody would remember who Gide was. Ah, the years, the years! It was another story in the time of my youth ...

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Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Dark Palace' by Frank Moorhouse

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Relations between the public arena and the private are what the novel is all about. This loose, generous prose form was developed in early-modern Europe to enable a vigorous bourgeois imagination to ask the question: what is public, in fact, and what is private ...

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'Demurely' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 06 June 2018
Brunette or shocking white, these wallabies
have their own special nook nearby,
under that blackwood.
                                          Why ...

'At Table' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 06 June 2018

In memory of Graham Little

I scribble in cafes, which inspire
                  The forms in which I’m able:
Although invited, I‘ve declined
                  A pizza at ...

'Heidi-Ho' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 06 June 2018
Below great ears like galleon sails
hangs an off-grey trunk – odd word –
more than the puny dangling tail
marking this leatherjacket.
So much overcoat in our tropics, then?
But why is any creature as it is?
The ark’s gangplank must have been sturdy,
shipping creatures from those Turkish hil ...

'Creature' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 06 June 2018
All those hominids stood around to watch,
scratching their heads and hairy armpits.
So like them it was,
                                     well, sort of
but ever so ...

'Nuages' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Wednesday, 06 June 2018
Ah, the ever-lyrical, even if
stared into from a cabin up above:
snowy cloud-sonata which then
recedes into softness
with its airy iceberg flocks
can be the stuff of verse or
counterpoint, say, but can’t
feed serious fiction for
the yarnspinner has to eat
the heavy middle of our sand ...
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