Puncher & Wattmann
by Ken Bolton
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In Sly Mongoose the author deals with the vagaries of the Adelaide art-scene, the career of Cy Twombly, the Sydney of the 1920s, 40s and today. A quartet of poems treats a single locale and time-frame from the point of view of an ‘ordinary punter’, a beaver, a worried mother and a cyclist; and there is a sequence drawn from a diary of travel through an imaginary Africa in the 1970s, each entry partly structured around a buried pun or near-pun; a further pair of poems deals with after-echoes, among his friends, of the passing of John Forbes. So there you go.
‘Nobody in Australia is writing quite like Ken Bolton … working a relativist’s sceptical, provisional territory … (a) thinking against thought’.
— J.S. Harry
‘A rare instance of contemporary Australian poetry in the mode of literary and cultural criticism’.
— David McCooey
A gay, light-hearted bastard, Ken Bolton cuts a moodily romantic figure within the dun Australian literary landscape, his name inevitably conjuring perhaps that best known image of him, bow-tie askew, lipstick-smeared, grinning cheerfully at the wheel of his 1958 Jaguar D-type, El Cid. Born in Sydney in 1949 he works at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide and edits Little Esther books.
Bolton has published a good deal of art criticism, some of it collected in Art Writing (Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia). He edited Homage To John Forbes and wrote the monograph Michelle Nikou. He edited the magazines Magic Sam and Otis Rush and has published numerous books of poetry. Wakefield Press published The Circus in 2010 and Vagabond Press A Whistled Bit Of Bop. Earlier titles include At The Flash And At The Baci and Untimely Meditations.
- Ken Bolton, ‘Sly Mongoose’ in Galatea Resurrects
- Ken Bolton, ‘Sly Mongoose’ in The Australian Poetry Journal
Reviews and information on other websites
Pam Brown Galatea Resurrects Review Issue 17 2011