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The Old Humanists

by John Carey

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The Old Humanists

John Carey

Poetry ISBN: 9781921450112

Price: $19.95 inc.GST


courting on a verandah under a sulphurous moon

with her father all ears in the bathroom

stropping his razor to the rhythm

of the creaking love-seat...

- from 'Snapshots of Olive'

"John Carey's poems are a refreshing experience. They're deceptively effortless in wrapping mature, humane values in a sophisticated array of supple verse forms. Carey is adept at verbal whizzbangery, and not just in his surrealist lyrics like 'The Shed at the Back Revisited' and the brilliantly titled 'Oulipic Games' section. Splendid turns of phrase and startling images stand in this collection of meditations, graceful tributes, celebrations, narratives, life-stories and acerbic satires. Carey's delight in allusion and word-play veils insights into bleak contemporary social and cultural conditions, in fables like 'The Village of Protected Witnesses', 'The Suspect', and 'Motivation', where humour, as in an old-time Soviet joke, belies ugly political truth. Whether remarking on the sweep of history or meditation on the varieties of ways in which love and suffering are made manifest, Carey's tact is evident. This is a collection for connoisseur's of contemporary Australian poetry." — Michael Sharkey

John Carey is an ex-teacher of French and Latin. His previous collection is Sorting Through Wardrobes, 2004.