March 2017, issue no. 389

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Dylan Thomas' by William Christie

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

The legendary Dylan has now been dead for a century and his fumy glitter has probably faded a little. But then, how far do any poets these days really have glamour to show for themselves, no matter how hard they drink? Very few, in the Anglophone world at least: there’s nobody around like Wales’s roaring boy.

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'Sack' by John Kinsella

David McCooey

The eponymous poem in John Kinsella’s latest book recounts a group of teenagers witnessing a sack being flung from a speeding car. The sack, they discover, is filled with tortured kittens. This shocking poem of human cruelty begins a collection concerned with Kinsella’s great themes: the degradation of the environment, human violence (particularly towards animal ... More

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Wild' by Libby Hart

Peter Kenneally

Libby Hart’s new collection is ornate and knotty in a way that the reader would never divine from its cover, which is clear and white, with ‘wild’ in plain green typescript. It is essentially a bestiary, with birds of all kinds, as well as other creatures, including humans, in wild places, blown by winds and salt spray, or bringing wildness to ‘settled’ hu ... More

Bridget Vincent reviews 'Broken Hierarchies' by Geoffrey Hill

Bridget Vincent

In his November 2010 lecture delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill tested the idea that poetry might constitute a form of perjury. He acknowledged that ‘this is a deeply pessimistic view: many would say anachronistic’. Showing that language is an imperfect and even fallen medium which presents moral hazards to its users was not, however, the ses ... More

Geoff Page reviews 'Selected Poems' by Evan Jones

Geoff Page

Evan Jones’s Selected Poems is more than timely: its author was born in 1931. In an introduction (or ‘Personal Appreciation’), fellow Melbourne poet Alex Skovroncomplains that ‘Evan’s work has not always received the attention it deserves, especially in recent years’. It is worth pausing a moment to consider why this should be so.

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Jennifer Strauss reviews 'The Best Australian Poems 2014' edited by Geoff Page

Jennifer Strauss

‘Lending printed eloquence to a poem’ comes from ‘Alas’, Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s elegiac tribute to Seamus Heaney. There is eloquence aplenty in this fine collection of more than a hundred and twenty poems edited by poet Geoff Page, someone who understands that eloquence speaks in many tones and in various formal structures. This variety is generously repre ... More

Geordie Williamson reviews 'Poetry Notebook 2006–2014' by Clive James

Geordie Williamson

Geordie Williamson explores the personal and wondrous world of critic and poet Clive James in his Notebook 2006–2014.

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Geoffrey Lehmann reviews 'Exhibits of the Sun' by Stephen Edgar

Geoffrey Lehmann

Exhibits of the Sun is Stephen Edgar’s tenth collection of poems. Born in 1951, he is now ripe for a major Collected Poems. With careful pruning of some lesser pieces, such a book will display the full range of his work, which marries virtuosic technique with powerful emotion and intellect.

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Peter Kenneally reviews 'The Turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry'

Peter Kenneally

Of all the books published in the United States last year, only three per cent were of foreign origin. This year is hardly likely to be any different. So it is something of a wonder that this considerable and imaginative collection of modern Australian poetry was produced in the unlikely setting of the University of Louisiana. Professors Jack Heflin and William Ryan ... More

Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'The Best 100 Poems of Gwen Harwood'

Ann-Marie Priest

In ‘Late Works’, the last poem in Black Inc.’s new selection of Gwen Harwood’s poetry, a dying poet, determined to pen her ‘late great’ poems, calls from her hospital bed for paper. The nurse, misunderstanding, brings toilet paper, much to the poet’s chagrin. It is a typical Harwood inversion – the pretensions of the ‘great artist’ are mocked to ... More

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