You will find it difficult to decide on favourites herein. Close to the top must come David Wojahn’s poem about the meeting between Dylan and Woody Guthrie at the Brooklyn State Hospital. Then there is Tomas Transtromer’s poem about Haydn (‘Allegro’), which is quite sublime.
There is an abundance of that much vaunted Russian soul – spiritual and cynical, sometimes both at once; continually celebrating and kvetching about creation – in this fine collection.
Introduction to French Poetry provides a lovely and well-structured overview which will help show the relationship between poets – how one historical movement gave rise to another, as well as to provide a beginner’s sense of the many different styles and symbols of the poetic giants who shaped the French poetic landscape.
Language is used here as talisman – a means for escaping the ugliness of the present into something bigger and, if not better, more powerful. Rhythm and alliteration are used expertly, to create partial rhymes and a song-like metre that mirrors meaning.
Beatriz Copello’s under the gums’ long shade is a beautifully written, tender collection full of rich moments. It travels along a very national route, exploring the Australian terrain, and then moves outward to a place that encompasses all of humanity.
Each poem stands alone and it is possible to read them in isolation, but whether Darwin is studying, travelling, testing hypotheses, raising children, reflecting on life and death, or dying, there is a real sense of the humanity behind the legend – something that the reader can identify with.
The iconic references are frequent enough to lure in the hippest of readers, and much of the poems are humorous. A series of “available” fortunes are listed in “These Fortunes are Currently Available”, including such things as “He may be ugly but remember how desperate you are.”
Even in the 24 pages of this chapbook, however, readers will find that walker touches on the full spectrum of human frailty. This is a book that takes us through our many fears, both realistic ones, and those that poke fun at the many strange habits of the modern human. It’s a powerful little collection full of quirky introspection, original and intense imagery, and lots of pithy black humour.
In their citation for the award, the judges observed that the poems “gently invite us to share their ferocious compassion. With their praise for the world and their fierce accusation, their defiance and applause, they combine grief and glory in a music of crazy excelsis. In this generous retrospective volume a gifted young poet has become a master.”
There’s a freshness to this form of novel, and Lowe handles it well, but I still feel like I’ve been left with a snapshot rather than a story. Nevertheless, as a portrait of both a post-WWI veteran, an image of cricket at its most exciting period in Australia, and a portrayal of Sydney in the 20s, this is a lovely, evocative book, full of rich imagery and sensual moments.