Judith Bishop

Judith Bishop lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has studied in the United States and Britain. She is Director of Linguistic Services at a multinational language technology company. Her poems have won many awards, including the Peter Porter Poetry Prize (2006, 2011), an American Academy of Poets University prize (2004) and the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship (2002-2004). Her translations from French poets (Philippe Jaccottet, Gérard Macé) have appeared in Australian and international journals. Her first book, Event (Salt, 2007), won the FAW Anne Elder award and was shortlisted for the CJ Dennis Prize, the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, and the ASAL Mary Gilmore Prize. Her most recent collection is Interval (UQP, 2018).

Judith Bishop reviews 'New and Selected Poems' by J.S. Harry

May 2022, no. 442 23 April 2022
Judith Bishop reviews 'New and Selected Poems' by J.S. Harry
J.S. Harry and her lapin alter ego, Peter Henry Lepus, would assuredly have had ‘words to say’ about the war in Ukraine and its manufacture by a group of human beings. Peter, a Wittgensteinian, would have pondered hard the nature of the war ‘games’ that preceded use of arms: games in which each ‘move’ was a crafted piece of language and (dis)information, known as ‘intelligence’ or ... (read more)

'The Forest', a poem by Judith Bishop

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
There could be someone, there, walking through a forest – upright or slightly bending – gathering, not berries, or fallen nuts, or mushrooms, but thoughts; there could be thoughts like whining insects that drill down through the air to this someone, who is not ‘someone’ to insects, but at most, might be a chemical, electrical or visual site; there could be someone over there, making noise ... (read more)

'Sein und Zeit', a poem by Judith Bishop

July 2021, no. 433 23 June 2021
'Sein und Zeit', a poem by Judith Bishop
We can walk into a room not knowing.It doesn’t happen every time. A white room can be painted to be pure.I mean, just to show us that it’s clean. But it doesn’t have to be.We can walk into a room not knowing whether,or when, or even that. Thatcan be the hardest room. Only you will know.First there is the walking. The floor, a chair or two.The posters of visionsof someone else’s visi ... (read more)

'Portraits of the Future', a new poem by Judith Bishop

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
i.Look, said the sonographer, your sister says hello!A black photowhere the future rival sucks a thumb-to-be.Never in all historywas such a portent visiblewithout a guiding star. ii.Algorithms tinker at the corners of my life.One tells me what I need to know.One tells me what I want.No, I say, not furniture, not the nearest death.I sense that they are holding back.Turn around, slowly: I want to s ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'Change Machine' by Jaya Savige

October 2020, no. 425 24 September 2020
Judith Bishop reviews 'Change Machine' by Jaya Savige
Change Machine is an exceptionally strong third collection. To the extent that a schematic of thesis–antithesis– synthesis applies to poets’ books, this one both exceeds and incorporates the work that came before. Intriguingly, the title poem seems a late addition, citing the pandemic in three clipped lines, borne on the shoulders of two innocuous words, should and but: I’m broke. And ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'The Gang Of One: Selected poems' by Robert Harris

August 2019, no. 413 22 July 2019
Judith Bishop reviews 'The Gang Of One: Selected poems' by Robert Harris
In a letter to a friend, American poet James Wright reflected on the meaning of a Selected Poems for a peer he considered undervalued: ‘It shows that defeat, though imminent for all of us, is not inevitable.’ He quoted Stanley Kunitz, whose Selected was belatedly in press: ‘it would be sweet, I’ll grant, after all these years to pop up from underground … The only ones who survive … are ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'Crow College: New and selected poems' by Emma Lew

May 2019, no. 411 15 April 2019
Judith Bishop reviews 'Crow College: New and selected poems' by Emma Lew
Original voices are always slippery to describe. The familiar weighing mechanisms don’t work very well when the body of work floats a little above the weighing pan, or darts around in it. As in dreams, a disturbing familiarity may envelop the work with an elusive scent. It is no different for poetry than for any other art: the mercurial alloy, or unforeseen offspring, astonish and perturb. They ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'An Open Book' by David Malouf

December 2018, no. 407 23 November 2018
Judith Bishop reviews 'An Open Book' by David Malouf
It is a curious thing, and not a little moving, to see writers celebrated for their work in other genres turn in later life with renewed vigour to poetry. David Malouf, like Clive James, has avowed a desire for poetry now, as the main form of writing his expression wants to take. Certainly, its brevity has a part in this, for the best of poems can happen, if fortunate, in minutes, not months, as M ... (read more)

Judith Bishop reviews 'Sun Music: New and selected poems' by Judith Beveridge

September 2018, no. 404 24 August 2018
Judith Bishop reviews 'Sun Music: New and selected poems' by Judith Beveridge
The appearance of a New and Selected Poems by a widely loved and admired poet has all the pleasures of a major retrospective, but viewed alone, without the clamour of a gallery event. It’s in the nature of retrospective to raise the banner of analysis-as-public-spectacle. What does this art mean to us, and how is it unique? The artist’s own words form part of the context for understanding the ... (read more)
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