Numb and Number

$25.00 inc GST

Product Description

David Musgrave’s seventh collection of poems is a kind of clearing: poems which open up, sometimes painfully, sometimes joyfully, what it is to be in the world. From obliquely confessional poems concerned with the death of his mother and the unexpected endings of significant relationships, to celebrations of new lives, this collection encompasses a wide range of emotions, attitudes, forms and styles. The poems show a significant sharpening from earlier work and increasingly move in the direction of uncompromising honesty. Numb and Number is an elegantly powerful collection by a significant poet who is entering a new and interesting phase of his career. David Musgrave is affiliated with the University of Newcastle, where he teaches creative writing.


“On its back cover, Numb & Number describes itself as “a kind of clearing” containing poems which “open up, sometimes painfully, sometimes joyfully, what it is to be in the world”. The poems will, in other words, clear away many of the obstacles to a more open, expressive poetry. But there is also a sense that this book is, perhaps, itself a “clearing house”, a collection of disparate pieces which need to be published to clear the decks for other projects. And Musgrave seems attracted to projects which are more complicated than a simple collection of individual poems. His 2016 book, Anatomy of Voice, is a remarkably ornate, almost baroque, construction “dealing with” the death of a beloved mentor but using among its structural props, Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy and the emblem books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.” Martin Duwell, Australian Poetry Review

“There is an enormous range on offer, and the collection is worth reading for these moments of realised maturity and humour, which are entirely appropriate in a poet as accomplished and acclaimed as Musgrave.” JAMES ANTONIOU, The Sydney Morning Herald (paywalled)

Martin Duwell reviews ‘Numb and Number’ in Australian Poetry Review