John Kinsella’s ‘Graphology Poems’ reviewed by Robert Wood

‘In his writing, Kinsella is equipped with mercurial turns of phrase, great breadth of reference, skilled and charismatic daring, prolix volubility and topical range.’

‘If readers find in Kinsella and Graphology any fixed idea […] it might simply be a dynamic possibility, which is to say, his output encourages, and necessitates, a response of our own making. Kinsella has been so various and diverse, so energetic that one can find almost whatever one likes in his writing. In that way, it is a question of saying, which Kinsella do I want to read, not do I want to read him at all.’

The full review, published in foam:e, can be found here.

Graphology Poems: 1995–2015 can be purchased here.

John Kinsella’s ‘Graphology Poems’ reviewed by David McCooey

‘Like the landscapes Kinsella so often writes about, Graphology Poems is sprawling, sometimes messy, often imposing, and always compelling.’

‘These lines of poetry are by a writer utterly taken up with the materiality of language, and by the intense, sometimes mysterious processes, in which the material world becomes the stuff of language.’

Graphology Poems is a major publishing event in Australian poetry. In what is surely Kinsella’s magnum opus, we find the dragons and the facts miraculously together on common ground.’

The full review, published in ABR, can be found here.

Graphology Poems: 1995–2015 can be purchased here.

Robyn Rowland’s ‘This Intimate War’ reviewed by Susan Laura Sullivan

‘[Rowland] encourages the reader to honour and seek that which nurtures the human spirit, even in reflection of loss, rather than that which neuters connection and denies the intimacy that lies between human and human, human and earth.’

The full review, published in Plumwood Mountain can be found here.

This Intimate War can be purchased here.

John Kinsella’s ‘Graphology Poems’ reviewed by Thom Sullivan

‘“Graphology”, Kinsella reminds us in his introductory notes, is a pseudoscience that claims that aspects of personality can be deduced by analysing a person’s handwriting. It requires an examination of form, movement and use of space, all of which are important stylistic and thematic considerations within the Graphology poems.’

‘The energies and impulses of the poems, or clusterings of poems, remain in flux, creating a sense of impermanence or capriciousness. It requires some trust that an individual poem, or clustering of poems, is of-a-piece with the sequence, and creates a sustained tension in the work. A resistance to closure also allows the sequence’s inclusiveness of reference, from the organic to the cultural, which is itself an exploration and substantiation of identity.’

The full review, published in Plumwood Mountain, can be found here.

Graphology Poems: 1995–2015 can be purchased here.

Louise Nicholas’s ‘The List of Last Remaining’ reviewed by Mark Roberts

The List of Last Remaining is a book that deserves to be read more than once. While it contains many very fine individual poems, its greatest strength is perhaps how well the poems work together, how each section creates a micro-climate of imagery, and how, the book as a whole brings this all together so that a reader is left with a feeling of completeness.’

The full review, published in Rochford Street Review, can be found here.

The List of Last Remaining can be purchased here.

John Kinsella’s ‘Graphology Poems’ reviewed by William Yeoman

‘Modulation is here used in its musical sense of changing key. But the dominant metaphor of the Graphology Poems — the home key, if you will — is the concept of graphology itself. Like other WA poets such as Nandi Chinna and Annamaria Weldon, Kinsella writes the land and himself in the process.’

‘There is something of the calligraphic quality of Fred Williams’ landscapes here, or Lee Krasner’s dense calligraphic Little Image paintings of the late 1940s.
But there is also the idea of the poet as seismologist, ever alert to slippages of meaning and moralities rather than tectonic plates, and of the ensuing shock waves.’

‘If you don’t know [Kinsella’s] fiercely political, deeply humane poetry, which like its maker or indeed any of us is capable of being simple and direct or complicated and abstruse, there’s never been a better time than now to change that.’

The full review, published in The West Australian can be found here.

Graphology Poems: 1995–2015 can be purchased here.

Louise Nicholas’s ‘The List of Last Remaining’ reviewed by Lucy Dougan

‘Louise Nicholas’s The List of Last Remaining very satisfyingly brings together a substantial body of her work. Its five, intelligently ordered sections each rise up to enact their shimmering, persuasive world and then fade out to make way for the next.’

The full review, published in Cordite, can be found here.

The List of Last Remaining can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Barnaby Smith

‘[I]n the elegant Kin, Elvey offers a compelling and sonorous interpretation [of ecopoetics]. For her, it is the poetics of compassion and kindness, extending in every direction possible.’

The full review, published in Southerly, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Dimitra Harvey

‘At her best, Elvey observes human embeddedness within complex, vibrant, non-human spheres with keen linguistic control and playfulness.’

The full review, published in Mascara Literary Review, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ reviewed by Tse Hao Guang

‘Ouyang Yu’s Fainting with Freedom is soap-bubble language. It lives halfway between being and becoming, full of conversational breath, reflective of the mind that created it, bilingual and annoyed, bored and shocked at its own boredom.’

The full review, published in Text, can be found here.

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ reviewed by Bonny Cassidy

‘The poems in Fainting with Freedom emphasize that empathy is not sameness, just as dwelling should not be confused with belonging, nor language with unity. Rather, the “state” to which Yu belongs is the poem itself.’

The full review, published in Jacket2, can be found here.

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

 

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ reviewed by Ali Jane Smith

Fainting with Freedom includes prose poems, easy-to-read lyric poems, strange disjointed poems, thin poems, wide poems, long and short poems, poems that speak plainly and poems that cut up words. What’s consistent is the sense of control, maintained and relinquished. Yu’s precise lines, steady, speech-like rhythms, logical sequences of related ideas give way to absurd associations, unexpected images, wildness. These two modes of writing are kept in balance, each used to upset the other.’

The full review, published in The Australian, can be found here.

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

 

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ reviewed by Elena Gomez

‘Though a playful exploration of the sounds, textures and semantics of English and Chinese languages, this collection hints at a deeper ambiguity with the world and how we make meaning of and in it.’

‘Most enjoyable about this collection is the way it often borrows the language of profundity only to almost immediately cut it down at the knees. It’s poetry that is wry, curly, tonal and suspicious of platitudes.’

The full review, published in Overland, can be found here.

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ features on three ‘Best of 2015′ lists

It is with great pride that we see Ouyang Yu’s superb collection Fainting with Freedom featuring on three ‘Best of 2015′ lists from the following readers:

Authors on the Readings bookstore website.

John Kinsella in ABR:

‘Ouyang Yu’s work continues to astonish me with its shifts and range, and Fainting with Freedom (Five Islands Press) is among his finest work.’

Alex Miller in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian:

‘Deceptively simple and direct, Ouyang Yu’s language in Fainting with Freedom (5 Islands Press) challenges and mystifies, leading us into dark places where sudden shafts of understanding engulf us. Wisdom and beauty speak side by side here. It is poetry of a double voice arising from two equal languages. His brilliant insights are directed towards the self, his own self, the most devastating and the most revealing of them leading to something that is the nature of his own truth. It is a rich truth in which the Australian he has become is brother to the Chinese soul from which the deepest tones of his unique voice are sounded. The freedom of the title is a dangerous and a sublime place for this poet. Ouyang’s is a poetry that never strains after its own centre but leaves a silence rich in meaning and even menace, and always of mystery, like the still centre of a storm, where the sense of his words is held in that perfection we call poetry, the silence between the words. An utterly satisfying collection. Some of the finest poetry ever written in this country. What is most absurd is most often where Yu finds his eloquence, his inspiration arising from a place of contradiction and profound empathy. This is his most powerful collection yet.’

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

Ouyang Yu’s ‘Fainting with Freedom’ reviewed by Michael Aiken

‘This book contains microcosms of alertness to the oddity of language as language, the arbitrary way meaning is distorted or inflected by unfamiliar acts of repetition, the use of phrases grammatically correct but somehow socially bizarre/inept, or the inappropriate use of passive or active voice.’

‘The playful self-deprecation in this book feels honest without being earnest, self-critical without being self-effacing; subtle but showy.’

‘Reasserting the value of the subject in the living world seems to be a driving mission of the verse. Whether or not we can describe the ineffable, or comprehend it, to exist is to know the ineffable exists. This book is a celebration, a condemnation, and a defiant incitement to go with boldness, to be amongst it.’

The full review, published in Cordite, can be found here.

Fainting with Freedom can be purchased here.

Jennifer Compton’s ‘Now You Shall Know’ reviewed by Geoff Page

‘Jennifer Compton’s new collection, Now You Shall Know, has an early late-career energy about it – and a focus on what is really important. Not for her the post-postmodern language games. As she notes at the end of her autobiographical poem, “We are farmed out”, Compton has long been a “noticing kind of child” and her hands-on expertise includes not only horse riding, gardening and playwriting but human nature generally—particularly in its familial embodiments.’

The full review, published in The Sydney Morning Herald, can be found here.

Now You Shall Know can be purchased here.

 

Jennifer Compton’s ‘Now You Shall Know’ reviewed by Luke Simon

‘”Now You Shall Know”, a poem filled with complex imagery, painful dialogue and dramatic verve, won the Newcastle Poetry Prize and is [Compton’s] latest eponymous poetry collection. The book is divided into six different sections, entitled in turn: awaiting our delivery, oh, a rapt downwards look, in the long run, wrenched backwards, and, somehow urgent. These poems concern themselves with aspects of family life and with themes of loss, grief, change, and memory.’

The full review, published in Rochford Street Review, can be found here.

Now You Shall Know can be purchased here.

 

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Rose Lucas

Kin, Anne Elvey’s first full collection of poetry, brings together a wide range of poems full of light and the acuity of close attention. These poems focus on a world of interrelationships where tree and water, creature and human, air and breathing, coexist—suggestive of an underlying philosophy of humility and acceptance.’

The full review, published in ABR, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Geoff Page

Kin is Anne Elvey’s first full collection, following on from three chapbooks, and its maturity shows. Though, as with any first collection, its manner and content can vary somewhat, Elvey’s book is consistently doing things only poetry can do. In her case, this involves significant environmental and religious dimensions but there is no unwelcome preaching.’

The full review, published in both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Michael Farrell

‘The poems of Anne Elvey’s Kin, dedicated to her father, elaborate on the title, productively making it stand for blood and other kinds of relation. There’s a level of intimate observation to these empathic poems that marks Elvey as a contemporary of poets such as John Anderson.’

The full review, published in The Australian, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Cassandra Atherton

‘The kinship Elvey forges between her poems and ecological criticism lends both rigour and reverence to her first full-length collection of poetry. There is a radiant stasis at the core of her poems that encourages the reader to listen to the susurration of multiple, overlapping conversations to which Elvey is contributing.’

The full review, published in Cordite, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

Michelle Leber’s ‘The Yellow Emperor’ reviewed by Geoff Page

‘Leber is adept at suggesting characteristics of the Chinese “original”, as it were, while generating compelling poetry in modern English…The Yellow Emperor is a strange but curiously satisfying achievement.’

The full review, published in both the Age and Sydney Morning Herald, can be found here.

The Yellow Emperor can be purchased here.

‘Breaking New Sky’, edited by Ouyang Yu, reviewed by Dimitra Harvey

Breaking New Sky, a new collection of poems selected and translated by Ouyang, presents work from forty-six established and emerging Chinese (including Taiwanese) poets, born predominantly between the late 50s and 80s (though some as early as 1913 and as late as 2002). The collection’s title—a play on the Western idiom “breaking new ground” – connotes innovation, originality, and also risk. It embodies contemporary Chinese poetry’s iconoclasm, as well as Ouyang’s desire to introduce “something new” into the Australian literary landscape.’

The full review, published in Mascara Literary Review, can be found here.

Breaking New Sky can be purchased here.

Michelle Leber’s ‘The Yellow Emperor’ reviewed by Lucy Van

‘Leber is a Melbourne-based poet and a clinician of Chinese medicine, and in this, her second volume of poetry, she merges the two practices in an archaeological translation of Han mythology that finds it art through listening to the body. The work, part verse-novel, part poetic mythography, imagines the origins of the Yellow Emperor legend by dramatising the core principles of Chinese medicine. The project is certainly impressive in scope, a daring and highly ambitious application of the diagnostic art to the purpose of mythological reconstruction.’

The full review, published in Cordite, can be found here.

The Yellow Emperor can be purchased here.

Michelle Leber’s ‘The Yellow Emperor’ reviewed by Ruby Todd

‘Through spare, vivid images, Leber deftly conveys a sense of the immediacy of history, the materiality of myth, and the way that the singular detail can convey a truth that is timeless and universal.’

The full review, in the April edition of Text, can be found here.

The Yellow Emperor can be purchased here.

Susan Bradley Smith’s ‘Beds For All Who Come’ reviewed by Susie Utting

‘The contents page of Beds for All Who Come suggests a poetic ride rich in intertextual and sub-textual allusions, as well as public and personal historical details. The Prologue, with its single poem entry “Girl on fire in the eucalypt gulag: Germaine Greer witnessing the end of the world” introduces a cast of characters who appear in three separate Acts: Clementine and Sarah Churchill, Sylvia Plath and Frieda Hughes, and Ulrike Meinhof and Bettina Röhl. All these mothers and daughters write poems. With this cast in mind the reader begins her own journey to explore Smith’s collection.’

The full review, in the April edition of Text, can be found here.

Beds For All Who Come can be purchased here.

Anne Elvey’s ‘Kin’ reviewed by Jessica Wilkinson

‘Elegantly political, Kin inspires attentiveness in us as readers, and suggests that such small-scale quietude—toward detail, sensations, our non-human earth others—may offer a pathway for ecological and spiritual reparation.’

The full review, in the April edition of Text, can be found here.

Kin can be purchased here.

 

Sam Moginie reviews ‘Breaking New Sky’, edited by Ouyang Yu

Breaking New Sky is a happily variegated collection of work by contemporary Chinese poets, edited and translated by Chinese-Australian poet, novelist and translator Ouyang Yu. Strangeness produced by means of a “neutral” or “plain” English (a “Yu signature tone”) gives the poems and their objects a riddle-like quality whose pleasures and dramas implicate food, sex, work, river systems, animals, domestic space, relationships, the medical system, nostalgia, death, farming and sleep. This plainness is put to work as the material of an aphoristic narrative mode that defines this anthology; making small claims continuously and thereby amassing charm.’

See the full review on Cordite here.

Breaking New Sky can be purchased here.

John Kinsella’s ‘The Vision of Error’ reviewed by Helen Moore

‘Tracing territory familiar from several previous collections, this anti-pastoral of the Western Australian “Wheatbelt” (“Tens of thousands of acres of GM canola / […] / feeding frenzy”) now substantially relies/builds on his readers’ fore-knowledge.’

The full review, published in Wolf Magazine, can be found here.

The Vision of Error can be purchased here.

Lisa Jacobson’s ‘The Sunlit Zone’ reviewed by Linda Weste

‘In each verse novel, the unique relationship of poetic and narrative elements leads to a dynamic duality of design. Lisa Jacobson’s verse novel, The Sunlit Zone, illustrates how productive this interplay of narrative and poetic elements can be…’

The full review, published in Mascara Literary Review, can be found here.

The Sunlit Zone can be purchased here.