Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of My Arthritic Heart by Liz Hall Downs

But this is just the beginning of what most of us don’t want to hear. A good part of this collection is about the poet’s struggle with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis that when coupled with poverty and inhumanity is a hard…

A review of Emma Strunk by Tony Nesca

This is an approach that has peculiar qualities. It never becomes poetry of the quotable and pretty sort but it avoids the pitfalls of a prose that needs connective tissue that is simply functional. It is not conventional narrative but…

A review of Songs of the Last Chinese Poet by Ouyang Yu

This collection, which was short-listed for the 1999 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for multicultural writings, is not an easy read. Nor will it leave the reader with a warm sense of transcendence. The language is confronting, defensive, and graphic. But…

A review of Another Universe: Friendly street poets 28

Some poetry, even good poetry, forces the reader to work hard, uncovering meaning from obscurity, but Another Universe isn’t like that at all. These poems were clearly designed to be understood quickly, sharing their meaning in a straight hit from…

A review of New and Selected Poems by Ouyang Yu

Despite (and perhaps at times, because of) the anger and rejection, Ouyang Yu’s voice has become a quintessentially Australian voice. We are almost all migrants, and most people have felt the kind of self and societal alienation that many of these poems touch on. This deep-seated irony is obvious enough to add power even to those poems that anchor themselves in silliness.

A review of Broken Land by Coral Hull

This is very powerful, and more so because it doesn’t rely on appealing to the reader’s intellectual sense of right or wrong. It is about pain and beauty, about loss and longing, and the full loss of life is as…

A review of Totem by Luke Davies

This is a very concentrated piece of work, a poem cycle if you will which touches on the biggest and most important themes – love, life and death in its broadest most cosmological sense, and the relationship between these. Keeping…

Interrogations at Noon by Dana Gioia

The variety and range is considerable with such a brief collection. I found myself unable to complete the reading process when I reached the last poem in the book and went back to the beginning to reread some of the…

A review of The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney

The difference is startling but the poetry is unmistakable and convincing in its authenticity. But may it be the authenticity of Heaney rather than of Sophocles? Reviewed by Bob Williams The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney Faber and Faber…