Through a range of events, readings, appearances at writer’s festivals, awards and decent coverage in the Australian literary magazines it could be claimed that Australian poetry is undergoing a revival, however the number of reviews of recent releases still remains low, which is also reflected in the last six months here at Australian Women Writers.
Since 1 January 2017, there have been thirteen linked reviews published, from six different reviewers.
Anna Greenwood has reviewed Janeen Brian’s Silly Galah! a children’s title containing a selection of rhyming poems about animals.
The recent winner of the highly valued Windham-Campbell Prize (USD $165,000), the indigenous poet, Ali Cobby Eckemann’s book of poems about the Stolen Generation and the impact on herself and her family Inside My Mother was reviewed by Whispering Gums
Jonathan Shaw has reviewed three titles:
Shevaun Cooley’s Homing – released in May this year, explores what constitutes a “home” and how we might find our way there…
The 2014 release by UQP Night Writing by Tasmanian poet Kathryn Lomer, winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize in 2008.
Highly awarded poet Jennifer Maiden’s latest release The Metronome another political and social commentary from a prolific poet.
Another children’s title, and winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, indigenous writer Sally Morgan’s Sister Heart was reviewed by Mel the Subversive Reader (link not available).
It is great to see large representation from indigenous writers in the poetry round up and Ellen Van Neerven’s Comfort Food was reviewed by Kali Myers
I personally reviewed six titles and for every one of these reviews I also interviewed the poet:
Maxine Beneba Clarke – Carrying the World – Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for poetry, a selection of activist, street, slam poetry
J.H. Crone – Our Lady of the Fence Post – a collection that uses the appearance of an apparition of the Madonna at a memorial site for the Bali bombing victims to look at the role of the media, and cross cultural behaviours in suburban Sydney
Susan Fealy – Flute of Milk – one of the first titles released under the new UWAP “The Poetry Club” banner
Holly Isemonger – Deluxe Paperweight – a free title that you can download by experimental poet and recent winner of the Judith Wright Poetry Prize
Claire Nashar – Lake – another “experimental” work that was Highly Commended for this year’s Mary Gilmore Award
Alison Whittaker – Lemons in the Chicken Wire – a prolific indigenous poet was Shortlisted for this year’s Mary Gilmore Award for this book
Although many people may find poetry intimidating, simply forget about your school days and Shakespeare’s sonnets or Keats or Wordsworth, as poet Holly Isemonger said in my recent interview, poetry “should reflect our everyday life”, and there are plenty of titles for you to explore this literary art form. If none of the above take your fancy here are a few suggested recent releases;
Merlinda Bobis – Accident of Composition – a new poetry collection from the writer of the award winning novel “Locust Girl” (Winner of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction)
Amelia Dale – Constitution – an experimental reworking of the Constitution using verbatim quotes by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull from interviews on the 7.30 Report
Penny Drysdale – Dew and Broken Glass – a collection from the heart of Australia, Alice Springs
Domenique Hecq – Hush: A Fugue – part of the UWAP recently launched “Poetry Club” where five of the fourteen titles are by women writers
Jill Jones – Brink – the Mary Gilmore Prize winner in 1993 (an award for a debut collection of poems) her previous collection Breaking the Days was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and in 2015 she won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for The Beautiful Anxiety
Melinda Smith – Goodbye Cruel – a new release from the winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award
Personally I am hoping to get to all of the unread titles, and am hoping to interview each of the poets. I’m encouraged by the recent reviews coming through and wish the six monthly round up at the end of the year has a few more reviews. Google poetry readings or book launches, in your city, there are plenty on, you may find them more entertaining than you first thought, it could well open up a whole new area of reading for you.