Keepers is highly entertaining and serious; there are brilliant flashes and reflections, ironic observations and a lot of humour. The poems form stories and portraits of recognisable and unrecognisable people who teach and study in a School of Arts. You may know them: the intense, the terse, the drugged and the eccentric. Upstairs is the Health and Safety Novelist, and The Face, a narcissistic academic; and down in the basement, in lower registers, Fish, the cleaner and print-room assistant, working away among the students, including Gillian the sculptor who is suddenly successful and Jess the writer who some have questioned. The ironic observations of Fish, flâneur and Go player, form a narrative underlying the poems. Interspersed throughout are figures from history: Balzac, Gentileschi, Shostakovich, Orlan, Klima… After the shadowy voices of The Well Mouth these poems by Salom have come up into the light.
Praise for The Well Mouth:
“The Well Mouth is a remarkable enterprise… it makes the usual selection of poetic lyrics look timid or humdrum by comparison.” — Anthony Miller, The West Australian
“The Well Mouth is a miracle of poetic engineering, a sharply-realised narrative which captures unforgettable images of what the next world might feel like.” — Robert Lumsden, The Adelaide Review
Philip Salom is a poet of great energy and inventiveness. Several of Philip Salom’s books have won national and international acclaim for their metaphorical intensity and powerful narratives but his latest collection is by far his most entertaining and playful. Previous books include The Well Mouth, Sky Poems, A Cretive Life, and two novels—Playback and Toccata and Rain. He lives in Melbourne.
“Theatrical, playful and sly, the book is above all a dazzling and deft celebration of poetic form, underlaid by a bass note of mortality that gives its mischievous shape-shifting unsettling depths.”
ALISON CROGGON, Overland