Contemporary Australian Poetry

$49.95 inc GST

Product Description

The quality of Australian poetry has never been higher, nor the number of distinctive voices greater.

A landmark publication, this collection presents the astonishing achievements of Australian poetry during the last quarter of a century. Over ten years in preparation, gathering over 200 poets and 500 poems, it makes the case for this country’s poetry as a broadening of the universal set for all English-speakers.

‘Somewhat astonishingly,’ the introduction notes, ‘and while no-one was looking, Australian poetry has developed a momentum and a critical mass such that it has become one more luminous field in theEnglish-speaking imagination. Increasingly, anyone who seeks to explore the perspectives or music available in English will also haveto consider the perspectives and music which have originated here — Australia having turned itself, too, into a place in the mind.’

Both survey and critical review, this anthology offers a rare opportunity to explore the major national achievement of contemporary Australian poetry.



“The selection is instead dominated by poetry of natural description, familial recollection, and elegy, and it is impossible not to marvel at the attentiveness to observed details of experience, and the search for a pattern of language adequate for its transformation, evident in so many accomplished poems. Yet, and perhaps for this reason, some of the most striking works here are those in a less familiar vein: Fiona Hile’s ‘Francis Bacon was a Master Empiricist’ provides a bracingly corrosive counterview; David Brooks’s heightened rhetoric channels Lorca’s Poet in New York  (1940) in the polemical ‘Pater Noster’; John Jenkins offers a surrealistic dream-vision of Robert Menzies; Jordie Albiston’s ‘Falling’ is a raw and compelling extended work; while Susan Hampton’s oblique notations stand out for their scrupulously antilyrical tone. John A. Scott’s excavations of the mythologies of European High Modernism in ‘Sketches from Montparnasse’ are also atypically exotic, and resonate with Jessica L. Wilkinson’s similar staging of the Nijinsky myth in ‘FAUNE et JEUX’, another of the outstanding poems in the Holland-Batt collection. The late Bruce Beaver flashes by in a page, but his tightly scanned ‘Aubade’ has a musical energy that eclipses many of   the more flatly declarative poems that surround it.”

JOHN HAWKE, Australian Book Review


‘Contemporary Australian Poetry’ in Australian Book Review