Lexicographers, not just newspapers and television, respond to disasters. Language is never fixed, never finished, never done. In recent months, language has been shaped by the coronavirus. In this episode, Amanda Laugesen, director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre at ANU and editor of The Australian National Dictionary, discusses coronaspeak, the language of lockdown.... (read more)
Lisa Gorton began publishing in ABR in 2003. Since then she's given us several dozen review essays and poems. Lisa has published three poetry collections, most recently the acclaimed Empirical, a Giramondo publication. Her novel, The Life of Houses, shared the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction.
This month we published Lisa's long poem 'On the Characterisation of Male Poets' Mothers'. As Lisa explains, the poem almost entirely comprises a medley of quotes that describe famous poets' mothers – sourced all from Wikipedia.... (read more)
Charles Baudelaire’s mother—
orphaned at seven—living
on the charity of friends—
at twenty-six married
an ex-priest, widower—
After her husband died she married again
and was happy—
Two birds scoop white sky
into the lank pines behind your stone
as if to say we’re with you.
In front the road crofts and peaks.
You can’t pinpoint the sector
but it was adamantine
like your knowing to pull out ...
The languid water of a fountain
rises to a steady height, collapses
upon itself, splashing
a stone bowl on a pedestal.
The elliptical pool ripples
in the afternoon’s light air.
We play because we kow-tow and are free;
a set of guidelines activating choice
or so we hope. The mineral poet wrote,
‘By loss of memory we are reborn’,
but memory’s the root of active power:
we grab the minute and we grasp the hour
hoping that such engagements prove us free.
I think of you now for the first time
in about five times as many years
as you actually lived, so uncomplainingly,
they always said, as they do of the dead.
Yes, death was a good career move for Mr Elvis
Presley, but for those of us yet to leave the building,
cancer offers a lifeline, bringing family fame,
at least, and a careering mind, especially during
the long night-watch, when what happened in Vegas
comes home from Vegas,
Retired, my father
tells me things.
He saw, far out to sea,
a great Pacific gull,
hound a crow,
slim brushstroke of ink.