January–February 2018, issue no. 398

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Young Eliot' by Robert Crawford

Andrew Fuhrmann
26 November 2015

This long-anticipated first volume of Robert Crawford's biography of T.S. Eliot, the first with permission from the Eliot estate to quote the poet's correspondence and unpublished work, highlights the Young Eliot as – not least in the achievement of his poetry – always an Old Eliot. And yet the picture of Eliot as a child and adolescent is detailed. In Young ... More

Judith Beveridge reviews 'Happiness' by Martin Harrison

Judith Beveridge
25 November 2015

'Happiness' may seem like an odd word for the title of a book of poetry, and given the circumstances of Martin Harrison's final years – his illness, the tragic death of his younger Tunisian lover, Nizar Bouheni – the title is rather ironic, but the poems in this posthumous volume are rich, bountiful, full of the same 'worshipful attention', the same sense of ope ... More

Geoff Page reviews 'Babel Fish' by Jillian Pattinson

Geoff Page
29 October 2015

Halfway through her first full-length collection, Babel Fish, Jillian Pattinson quotes Borges's famous argument: 'Myth is at the beginning of literature, and also at its end.' Her whole book does its best to embody this idea.

As its title 'Waterline' implies, the first group of poems here is loosely unified by water references, from the semi-scienti ... More

Fiona Hile reviews 'Rhinestone' by Ella O'Keefe, 'Metadata' by Amelia Dale, 'end motion/manifest' by Sian Vate, and 'Office of Locutions' by Kate Middleton

Fiona Hile
29 October 2015

All writers need good bookshelves, but the poet, perhaps more than any other writer, is charged with the involuntary dispensation and relentless accumulation of reading material. This is partly due to the proclivities of the producers and partly due to the characteristics of the form itself. As the notable cultural critic Pierre Bourdieu remarked, poetry's effects d ... More

David Wells reviews 'The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry' edited by Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk, and Irina Mashinski

David Wells
29 October 2015

Translation is all about choice: which authors will be attractive to the target audience? Which texts by those authors will be of interest? Which aspects of those texts should be emphasised? How can ambiguities in the original be preserved or resolved? What relative weight should be given to formal and semantic elements? Historically, the translation of Russian lite ... More

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'The Hazards' by Sarah Holland-Batt, 'Conversations I've Never Had' by Caitlin Maling, 'Here Be Dragons' by Dennis Greene, and 'The Guardians' by Lucy Dougan

Cassandra Atherton
30 September 2015

Contemporary Australian poetry has a complex and ever-evolving relationship with the land, both at home and abroad. Almost twenty-five years post-Mabo and entrenched in ongoing ecological crises, Australian poets explore new ways of experiencing and defining place. Where misguided nationalism sought to limit Australian poe ... More

Geoff Page reviews 'Wild Track' by Kevin Hart

Geoff Page
27 August 2015

Kevin Hart was born in London in 1954, grew up in Brisbane, and worked in Melbourne before moving to the United States, where he still teaches (currently at the University of Virginia). Although he has won extravagant praise from Americans such as Charles Simić and Harold Bloom, he remains, to Australian readers, ... More

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Crankhandle' by Alan Loney, 'Stone Grown Cold' by Ross Gibson, 'Aurelia' by John Hawke, and 'Dirty Words' by Natalie Harkin

Peter Kenneally
31 July 2015

Poetry books as artefacts in their own right, regardless of commercial viability or relevance to the click-bait Zeitgeist, are currently showing sturdy signs of life, so it is a welcome development to have the online Cordite Review sensibility fixed in print, in a palpable way and on a graspable scale. Th ... More

Peter Goldsworthy reviews 'Sentenced to Life' by Clive James

Peter Goldsworthy
28 July 2015

Clive James’s series of memoirs began in 1980 with the Unreliable one. Thirty-five years and four more very funny books later, the Five Lives of Clive have been rounded with a sixth: a slim volume of poems. It is probably also the most reliable, as if, paradoxically, James took more poetic licence when working in prose. The prevailing tone is a long way fro ... More

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

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