I am sure, when Les started writing, that he didn’t really know what he would end up producing. Well now he has written it: a further contribution to the ongoing album of Sydney, a keen-eyed portrait gallery, a record of travels far and wide – and with the whole lot framed by questions we haven’t resolved yet, and almost certainly won’t, but which it’s essential to keep on asking.
As this book is dedicated to John Foulcher’s brother, Ian, nothing can be underestimated about the tinge of grief as each poem flutters in and out of a sense of religious faith and that’s faith’s challenges. The moon landing, the paintings of Crewdson, and physical love, the body is paramount as our capsule and here it is presented in its ragged faults and its skin passion.
In Ecstatic, the personal and the political are intertwined in the most profound of senses. In this book, it is the political world we must live in, love in, make love in, grow old in, die in. It is in this world that we lose hope, over and over, only for hope to painfully re-emerge and insist we fight and dream again.
Alex Skovron is the author of seven collections of poetry, a prose novella, The Poet (2005), and a book of short stories, The Man who Took to his Bed (2017). His volume of new and selected poems, Towards the Equator (2014), was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His work has been translated into a number of languages, and he has co-authored book-length translations of two Czech poets: Jiří Orten and Vladimír Holan. His most recent book of poetry is Letters from the Periphery (2021). He is currently working on a new collection of short fiction in prose.
Figure in the Landscape, this new collection of poems by Danny Gardner, champions these aspects of the poetic art: in the strict observances of confronted things – places, paintings, streets, birds, butcher shops, suicides, gardens, and, indeed, landscapes – re-calibrated through the uniqueness of the poet’s eye and mind; impressions turned into subtle resonances, into abstract interpretings, confident pronouncements, blunt rejoinders, melodic invocations. Each a new, distinct discovery.
Nature is not only celebrated in Castle’s poetry, but suffused with a sense of the sacred. Her use of the title word ‘triptych’ is telling: a triptych (from the Greek triptykhos meaning ‘three-layered’) is an artwork in three parts, usually religious. As a convent-educated daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants to England, she is well versed in church traditions, and her poetry is steeped in a sense of the liminal, of finding herself hovering on the thresholds of worlds—the secular and the spiritual, Ireland and England.
Domesticity is a key theme and value of Emilie Collyer’s poetry. Likewise, questioning – how do I navigate this body? This world? Gender politics? Public vs private? The cartography of intimate vs domestic, feminist vs patriarchal, blended family vs barren landscape, choice vs coercion.
Gad has already published two collections of poetry in literal Arabic and one book of songs in the Egyptian dialect. His sensual enjoyment of language permeates Siren of the Heart. In lines that sing with the pleasures and delights of love, the poet considers its amorous joys and sacred gifts.
Writing and writing in a community has always been central to how Sarah sees her place in the world. I’m more of a lone wolf writer, so I notice it – and am awed by it. The poet’s search for meaning in Sarah’s case is not only for herself but for other people and the world we all have to live in. And she does this magnificently and courageously through both her prose and poetry and her remarkable teachin