Mount Parnassus remains a proscribed destination for the moment, but Aidan Coleman’s Mount Sumptuous (Wakefield Press, $22.95 pb, 56 pp) provides an attractive local alternative. Following on from the poems of love and recovery in Asymmetry (2012), this collection marks the poet’s reawakened appetite for the sublimities and subterfuges of suburban Australia, from cricket pitches ‘lit like billiard tables’ and Blue Light Discos to the flammable wares of Best & Less and the implacable red brick of ‘all-meat / towns’. As these poems and their pseudo-pedagogical endnotes show, Coleman is a keen philologist of the language of commerce. The title’s ‘sumptuous’ (from the Latin sumptus for ‘expense’) keys us in to the vital ambivalence of a poetry, which on the one hand honours the rituals of everyday consumption (‘lounging / book in hand, Tim Tams / … tea a given’), and on the other speaks to the exploitative logic of consumer capitalism (‘Take the juiceless fruits / of day labour and a white / goods salesman’s leaden chicanery’).... (read more)
In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Aidan Coleman reads 'Secondary' which features in the 2016 SA anthology.... (read more)
Quick across the twilight road,
the eight legs of the cat.
Water corrects the earth
to flatness, patching fields with sky.
Little boat of red figures, adrift between two days.
The creek slides through the rain's eyelashes.
Fitness: fact, fiction
or fantasy? – among things
open like fuchsias,
of kittens float quietly
down, as peaks
like helium or blinds,
now it's precisely
subtitled, you realise –
as the first tentative
The do-it-yourself piano isn't
kicked to matchwood, and you take
this for affirmation. When we
work out how to switch off
Bob Dylan, your plangent homemades
will go unaccompanied, no longer
sought like an injury lost in the mists
of Hansard. People suggest topics
they won't be using, and this is
more like an archive sneeze
than what yesteryea ...
Angling over star-fields,
the pitches lit like billiard tables.
Those lengths you were shouted up and back,
lungs scoured by brillo air.
The lazier concord of close mown grass
and low hanging fruit
of the short boundary. A tang of primitive
electronics: the circuit board's braille labyrinth,
the slab type of Amstrad.
This callow path, you< ...
Aidan Coleman is a poet, critic and speechwriter. He has published two collections of poetry: Avenues & Runways and Asymmetry, shortlisted for awards including the NSW Premier's Kenneth Slessor Prize, the ...
Weather in which I might be
book in hand, Tim Tams
(dark, perhaps), tea a given,
instead of the uphill pram push of swaying kids,
singing drunkenly –
what a coachman circa 1840
or his horse felt, probably,