Poetry

Reading Australia: 'One hundred poems: 1919–1939' by Kenneth Slessor

Peter Kirkpatrick
10 June 2015

People who go in for the arts are often advised Don’t give up your day job. But what’s a suitable day job for a poet? A century ago many Australian poets made a meagre living as freelance writers for newspapers and magazines. Some even took up journalism full-time, writing their verses on the side. The old Bulletin, one of the wellsprings of Austra ... More

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Suite for Percy Grainger' by Jessica L. Wilkinson

Peter Kenneally
29 May 2015

Jessica L. Wilkinson won the 2014 Peter Porter Poetry Prize with ‘Arrival Platform Humlet', a phantasmagoria of typographical and lexical invention whirling around a tune of the same name by Percy Grainger. This book performs the same service for his whole life and oeuvre, to stunning effect.

Grainger (188 ... More

Paul Hetherington reviews 'Towards the Equator' by Alex Skovron

Paul Hetherington
29 May 2015

Alex Skovron’s impressive volume of new and selected poems, Towards the Equator, drawn from all of his published work to date, shows him to be a writer of recurrent and abiding preoccupations. He cares passionately and sometimes rather fastidiously about culture (particularly European culture), and continually worries about words, books, and their import. H ... More

David McCooey reviews 'Cocky's Joy' by Michael Farrell

David McCooey
29 May 2015

As popular culture has long understood (hello Priscilla, hello Muriel), there is something queer about Australia. Michael Farrell’s latest collection of poems, Cocky’s Joy, rewrites Australia as a site of almost-inherent queerness. ‘Cocky’ is antipodean slang for a farmer, but the term’s evocation here is surely a camp subversion of traditional, mas ... More

Jacinta Le Plastrier reviews 'The Weekly Poem' edited by Jordie Albiston

Jacinta Le Plastrier
30 April 2015

Discussing the genesis of a poem, W.H. Auden told Paris Review that at any given time he had two things on his mind: ‘a theme that interests me and a problem of verbal form, meter, diction, etc. The theme looks for the right form; the form looks for the right theme. When the two come together, I am able to start writing.’ Australian poet Jordie Albiston ... More

'Waiting for the Past' by Les Murray

Stephen Edgar
27 April 2015
My first reaction on picking up Les Murray’s new collection, Waiting for the Past, was to note how handsomely produced it is ... More

Des Cowley reviews 'After Naptime' by Chris Edwards

Des Cowley
30 March 2015

Chris Edwards is an enigmatic presence in Australian poetry. Part of a generation of poets who came of age in the 1970s, he co-edited the short-lived Beyond Poetry (1974–76) but then abandoned publication for many years. With the onset of a new millennium, he unexpectedly re-emerged, publishing a series of chapbooks that culminated in his first full-length ... More

Geoff Page reviews 'Embracing The Razor' by John Upton

Geoff Page
30 March 2015

Writers who move in mid-career from one literary genre to another often encounter resistance. Some turfs are well guarded. They can also misapprehend the new form they are planning to join. John Upton, who for almost thirty years has been a successful playwright and screenwriter, has made the difficult move seamlessly in this first collection of poems.

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Toby Fitch reviews 'Drones and Phantoms' by Jennifer Maiden

Toby Fitch
27 March 2015

Jennifer Maiden’s eighteenth book of poetry bears yet another title punning on war (remember Tactics, The Problem of Evil, The Occupying Forces, The Border Loss, Acoustic Shadow, Friendly Fire). Her umbrella themes – politics, power, evil, the public and private selves, war, and the role of art – are back. The title is ... More

Des Cowley reviews 'Axis, Book 1' by a.j. carruthers

Des Cowley
02 March 2015

With Axis, his first full-length publication, a.j. carruthers explicitly aligns himself with the lineage of the long poem. It is a bold move, if we consider that the major exponents of the form, from Ezra Pound to Anne Waldman, had invariably produced significant bodies of work prior to embarking on their poetic marathons. But ambition is fundamental to the l ... More

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