January-February 2016, issue no. 378
Andy Kissane’s fourth collection, Radiance, is a heartening answer to those who, like publisher Stephen Matthews, lament that ‘many modern poets choose to shroud their work in point-scoring obscurity at a time when clarity and accessibility might encourage more people to read poetry’. Kissane doesn’t address this issue directly, but his book is an imp ... More
In ‘Painting’s Flatness’, Paul Magee ruefully observes the following: ‘If only surfaces were possible / here in the imagination / just to walk and to touch sincerely the ground.’ This, as the title of the poetry collection suggests, is the essence of Stone Postcard: a poet’s search for stability in the face of exquisite and inscrutable change.... More
In Workshopping the Heart, Jeri Kroll brings us a feast of poetry: selections from her seven previous collections, poems from 2005 to 2012, and excerpts from her forthcoming verse novel, Vanishing Point. From 1982 to the present we are able to witness an evolution towards a mature poetic voice as Kroll negotiates her way through life’s various traver ... More
Seeking perfection or ‘enlightenment’ requires a monastic devotion to the life of the spirit and a rejection of material comforts. Judith Beveridge’s writings about the young Buddha and his cousin Devadatta bring out all the intricacies and contradictions inherent in such a quest.
This new volume, Devadatta’s Poems, holds up a kind of mirror t ... More
It may seem strange to begin a review of Paul Carter’s extraordinary poetry collection by quoting the words of another writer, but these lines of Boris Pasternak’s – taken from his essay in The Poet’s Work (1989), a collection of writings by twentieth-century poets on their art – seem particularly pertinent:
By its inborn faculty of ... More
My first encounter with concrete poetry came via Apollinaire’s Calligrammes (1918), specifically his eye-catching poem ‘Il Pleut’. With its gently cascading words falling down the page, it was immediately clear that the typographic arrangement of the poem was of far greater import than its semantic content.
Although the term was not coined until ... More
Personal Weather is Peter Bakowski’s seventh collection, yet he remains impossible to categorise. His is a distant relative of Ken Bolton’s conversational style, while also a close cousin to central European poetry. His poems can be three-page narratives or urbanised haiku. Above all, Bakowski is a poet of wonder – wonder at the contradictions and compl ... More
Melbourne often seems an indeterminate place, with one flat suburb leaching into another. Writers tend to use place as local colour, the places themselves having little to say, in most cases. Kevin Brophy is an exception, and, especially in this ‘new and selected’ collection, a revelatory one. John Leonard have done great work in putting so many of Brophy’s po ... More
Twenty pages from the end of his New Selected Poems, Geoff Page imagines being ‘an heir of Whitman’, and muses that ‘I think I could turn awhile and write like the Americans, / they are so at ease in their syllables, irregular as eyelids, / various as the sea’. These lines are so cleverly Whitmanesque that the idea seems momentarily plausible. Only an ... More