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Tim Thorne

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Tim Thorne reads his poem 'Theft' which features in the



What is the mind that would invent the lock?
What are the pathways of the brain
that must be followed with no ball of string
to arrive at a device
which excludes? Why would you start?

If this slab of the earth
was where you had always been,
there would be no entry point,
no threshold of distrust, only the base
a ...



Note the passive voice in that last line,
the denial implied. ‘People were shipped out.’
The agent with a conscious brain linked
to a hand with a pen or a gun felt his own grip
all along the neural pathways.

Some noises we can sleep through
but even the softest can be an alarm.
Sailboats in the calmest water are still not ...



The maps that teased my childhood were silent.
The imagination they cosseted
was of no use. Instead of song
there was a flatness, a sheet of pastel shades.
I could find Peru, but not food.

And these maps were my inheritance.
Maps can be owned. Land is something else.
Maps can be stolen. When the atlas claps shut
those who ...

On the Mountain


Here where clouds soothe rocks, high above commerce,
I could catalogue the sharper images
of evil but to what use? City tabloids
and browsers will unroll bandages
enough to wrap communal wounds.

The bardic robe sits ill. The mist suggests
the insubstantiality of wish.
Summon a future like some old romantic,
some ...



And it is the act, the will
channeled through fibre to impact;
this is history as king hit.
Imagine your own bedroom as nullius,
adding extra dizziness to any fall.

If pain, as is said, cannot be remembered,
only the having been hurt,
then where does the pain belong
that comes out of the blue ocean
into a v ...

Tim Thorne won the William Baylebridge Award in 2007, the Christopher Brennan Award in 2012, and the Gwen Harwood Prize in 2014... ... (read more)

The Unspeak Poems, Tim Thorne’s fourteenth collection, is characteristically politically engaged and international in its scope. The best of these poems make use of Thorne’s acute ear for everyday speech. ‘Gettin’ there’, for instance, sad and memorable, creates through jumpy fragments of wry observations and narrative a picture of misguided hope against loaded odds: ‘The saddest place I’ve ever seen / is the bus shelter outside Risdon prison. / You lose about one teddy bear per eviction / on average.’ The same talent is used to different effect in recording the incoherence of racism in ‘7/11’.

... (read more)

‘I could give ’em / enough social comment to fill a car park’ proffers the narrator in ‘Busking’, halfway through Tim Thorne’s I Con. In many ways, this book delivers on that promise. Thorne’s targets include war, colonisation, inequality, political deception, capitalism and celebrity. One moment he juxtaposes Dannii Minogue’s career with descriptions of police brutality; the next he bowls a bouncer at former Australian cricket captain Kim Hughes for touring South Africa during the apartheid era.

... (read more)