Puncher & Wattmann
by Benjamin Dodds
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The poems in Regulator reveal an observant eye and an acute ear; the language is evocative, precise and sensuous. There are poems of the natural world, bristling with death and transformation, and of the everyday/dangerous laboratory. In Benjamin Dodds’s childhood Australia, the Virgin Mary, painted in All Weather Exterior blue, fades in the Riverina sun; ‘dangerously adolescent men/in wet sucking board-shorts’ bomb into the irrigation canal; a sweat-stained rural Santa hands out packs of Twisties. Under the surface, the insistent pulse of sexuality, an undertow of dread, a glint of subtle menace.
Dodds examines the real Australia where the small, flat human incident might disappear in such monstrous immensity, where aliens might choose to pass by—a naturally surreal world. This is a place to band together or be sucked into nightmare and float out into awful space, a place where only the intimacy of human contact keeps us grounded. This is poetry that reads like a novel, the characters alive and waving to us from the page.