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 the English-speaking imagination. Increasingly, anyone who seeks to explore the perspectives or music available in English will also have to 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

“Since Contemporary Australian Poetry is such a large (658 page) and inclusive (239 poets) book and because it appears just after the end of its nominated period, it gives the impression of being a definitive statement rather than a provisional sampling…[it] neatly trumps its rivals.” MARTIN DUWELL, Sydney Review of Books

“But delights abound in a big book that is fairly priced, easy to handle and worth treasuring even when jostled by the next poetry anthology.” PETER PIERCE, The Sydney Morning Herald (paywalled)

“The volume offers so much good work that anyone who cares about poetry must simply be thrilled to wrestle with what is possible in today’s Australia as that extends into language games, and from these shores to those around the world once more…this fantastic volume which will stand as a testament for some time yet.” ROBERT WOOD, Westerly Magazine


‘Contemporary Australian Poetry’ in Australian Book Review