This is a book with a significant vision. It brings renowned thinkers into a communal space, like a galvanising symposium or an inspiring protest. Each thinker, by activating their various practices through art, poetry, speeches and essays, moves us towards a just and ecologically sustainable, peaceful existence.
The poems in this collection fell into natural pairs; the long list became a short list a clear tone came through, a sinfonia emerging with a crescendo half-way through in Draft Lottery, 1969, easing back down through the ekphrastic poems (poems responding to artwork) and ending in the slow movement of the title poem: a poetry collection to be read in one sitting — a beginning, middle, an end.
Cliff Fyman has been around the Poetry Project in New York for close to four decades, a quiet, athletic presence who has been known to juggle while reciting his work. Which was excellent, but somehow he was quietly overlooked.
Not any more. Cliff has produced one of the most exciting books I’ve read in ages. It’s shocking to discover that Taxi Night (Long News Books) is his first full-length book.
It his hard not to respect someone who has had the courage to devote themselves full-time to writing in Australia given the hand to mouth existence that this kind of life often ensures. And judging by much of Henderson’s poetry, his life has not been an easy one. Indeed, it appears to have been a constant search for a light at the end of the tunnel.
Philip Davison has published nine novels, including The Book-Thief’s Heartbeat (Co-Op), McKenzie’s Friend (Cape), The Long Suit(Cape), Eureka Dunes (Liberties Press), and Quiet City (Liberties Press). He writes radio drama. His stage play, The Invisible Mending Company, was performed at the Abbey Theatre. He has co-wrote Learning Gravity (BBC Storyville), a documentary film on poet and undertaker, Thomas Lynch. He is a member of Aosdána.
I once had the privilege of hearing Miriam Wei Wei Lo read her poetry at the State Library of Western Australia and also on the ABC’s Poetica. That seemed so long ago. In fact it was 2004 when her first edition of Against Certain Capture was published by Five Islands Press, in the New Poets 10. The good news is that her book has resurfaced, it’s an identical second edition published by an imprint called the Apothecary Archive.
Justin Lowe is a poet, editor and occasional reviewer who lives in a house called Doug in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where he edits poetry blog Bluepepper. His seventh collection, The Picketer, was released late last year, and his latest, Hall of Mirrors, is currently doing the rounds of publishers. He has had poems put to music by such acts as The Whitlams and The Impossibles, and has published widely around the world, most recently in Meanjin, Verity La, Blue Nib (Ireland) The Cortland Review (USA).
My review of this dazzling book has been delayed by my father’s recent death. But the greatest tribute I can give to Anne Casey is to say that reviewing her work has been one of my greatest consolations in the past several weeks. I find myself rereading the poems in this collection several times a day, like a devout person telling their prayer beads.