Michael Farrell

If I were to make gauche generalisations about the poetics of MTC Cronin, Jordie Albiston, and Michael Farrell, I might respectively write conceptual, technical, and experimental. But these established poets – each in their fifties, highly regarded – display fluency with all these descriptors, especially in their latest books.

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The recent death of Les Murray can be likened in its significance to the passing of Victor Hugo, after which, as Stéphane Mallarmé famously wrote, poetry ‘could fly off, freely scattering its numberless and irreducible elements’. Murray’s subsumption of the Australian nationalist tradition in poetry, including The Bulletin schools of both the 1890s (A.G. Stephens) and 1940s (Douglas Stewart), has delineated an influential pathway in our literature for more than fifty years. Yet the death in 2017 of the American poet John Ashbery might be viewed as equivalent in its effect, given the impact of his work on several generations of local poets, which has in many respects constituted a counter-stream to Murray’s often narrowly defined nationalism. Ashbery’s voice has been infectiously dominant in English-language poetries over several decades, in a manner similar to T.S. Eliot’s impression on poets of the earlier twentieth century. Critic Susan Schultz, the publisher of this volume, has charted the dynamics of its transcultural influence in her aptly titled collection, The Tribe of John (1995)

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'Advantages of Stopovers', a new poem by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell
Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Writing a line, as if from bed, on a lovely, handmade

organ based on Gerald Murnane, the Goroke novelist

last seen pouring a glass of amber silk and swaying

imperceptibly enough to be called coincidental to Hot

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'Syllabic Patterning' by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell
Thursday, 26 July 2018

He went down to the shed to look for a chook
a particular one he’d seen earlier that morning
one he realised he’d never seen before, and
that seemed to have disappeared. It was brown
with white markings, distinctive, like wallpaper ...

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'Liked In Prison' by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell
Monday, 29 May 2017

Walking the streets, reading his books
in the cafés and bars, this was his over-
riding question: would he be liked in
prison?

He was not particularly bad, or good, or
graceful, or skeptical. He reckoned he
belonged to the median when it came to
the smokers of Lwów: but would he be
liked in prison?

...

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Michael Farrell reads 'C.O.U.N.T.R.Y' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

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In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Michael Farrell reads 'Fancy' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

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In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Michael Farrell reads 'Fancy' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

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You feel this way, kind of free when you lie down

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States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Fancy' by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell
Monday, 22 February 2016

I was riding a shark through Cork, just for the exercise of course
It might seem quaint but rather it was
Gorgeous, like an early morning courtyard
Imagine the dialogue. AC/DC confronts shark
       shark repeats
       shadow prime minister's
Gaffe
You guys are the white Australian Uluru. Fancy, say ...

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