Puncher & Wattmann
by Martin Langford
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Because there is no ground/ but the dancing between us. . .
says the title poem:
No ground but legs and their fancywork, bones and their song.
Langford’s new collection is a meditation on the nature and evolution of Australian spaces, exploring the tension between our enlargement narratives, and the need to resist them by acknowledging the others with whom we interact.
Loosely chronological, it begins by locating us within the natural world, and continues with poems about our disjunctive attempts to rationalise the nature of settlement. There are sequences on the nature of Australian silences, on transitional periods in the nation’s interior life and on the cultural layering of our suburbs. One section explores ways in which Australia has been represented, and another what Langford nominates as the seven Sydney seasons. The book culminates with a sequence in which our interactions are conceived as dances, as opposed to that mutual overwriting which is driven by the anxieties of the self.