Although it has been almost half a century since 1968, a year readily mythologised in Australian poetry, the so-called Generation of ’68 are still the most talked-about contemporary poets. There have been few attempts to define the next generations of poets. Forty-three years is a long definition of what might be deemed ‘contemporary’ ...... (read more)
Stumbling round the house absent-mindedly or in the off-hours, I wonder where the economy-sized fish tank came from; or the dictionary of some unexpectedly eloquent Oceanian language; or the errant slab of copper sulphate (did some friend or enemy leave it?). Then I remember that it’s the new Australian poetry anthology I am reviewing, the thick end of 1100 large ...
Bronwyn Lea has chosen ‘Beginnings’ as the theme for the first issue of Poetry Australia’s new journal. The Editor has some interesting things to say about a poem’s ‘beginning’ in her Foreword, but the journal doesn’t as yet have the feel of something fresh, lively, and distinctive that a beginning promises ...... (read more)
Gig Ryan is something of a postmodern classicist, deftly balancing John Ashbery’s slippery indeterminacy and Anne Carson’s lyric innovation. She is also a complete original. It is difficult to think of another poet who has more consistently and resolutely fashioned beauty from flat, broken English ...... (read more)
Over nearly thirty years and ten books, Diane Fahey has made a significant contribution to Australian poetry. The Wing Collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, showcases a wonderful array of her work. This generous collection offers a rich journey through Fahey’s key images and the recurring preoccupations that ...... (read more)
The title of Bruce Dawe’s first collection, No Fixed Address (1962), pointed to an early working life of innumerable casual jobs. This was covered to some extent in Stephany Steggall’s excellent biography, Bruce Dawe: Life Cycle (2009). As the working life of an Australian poet, this would be ...... (read more)
With 1086 pages of poems and critical biographies, Australian Poetry Since 1788 – the third anthology co-edited by Robert Gray and myself – is by far the largest anthology of Australian poetry to date, and at least twice the size of its predecessors. Perhaps controversially, it has fewer poets than many earlier anthologies, with only 174 named poets. Bu ...
Lines in the sand
Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley
by John Kinsella, edited by Niall Lucy
Liverpool University Press (Inbooks), $170 hb, 224 pp, 9781846314698
This book of essays by the vegan-anarchist-pacifist poet John K ...
Enclave of images
Surface to Air
by Jaya Savige
University of Queensland Press, $24.95 pb, 96 pp, 9780702239137
Jaya Savige’s first book, latecomers (2005), was an impressive début and won the New South Wales Kenneth Slessor Aw ...
Gravitas and levitas
A Local Habitation: Poems and Homilies
by Peter Steele, edited by Sean Burke
Newman College, $39.95 hb, 168 pp, 9780734041708
Once in a seminar long ago, I heard Peter Steele quote one of Winston Churchill’s more ...