Elizabeth Lawson has been an abiding and important presence in Australian Literature, particularly Australian Women’s Literature, for many years. This collection makes available, for the first time, a representative and thematically diverse selection of her highly crafted, linguistically playful, witty and richly meditative verse.
It is a poetry of wide embrace: flowers, grasses, birds, reptiles, and mammals both of land and sea all find place and voice here. But not all such poems can be only celebratory: the connection is fragile, the fragility haunts, and we are often culpable.
Time and Love are governing principles too: places travelled to and through, lived and lived-in; people once-lost but always loved, people loved now and always. Many of these poems, rich in reference and allusion, reveal the poet’s love of literature, art, and music; all reveal the poet’s love of language and its possibilities, from the quirky to the caustic to the profound.
“Lawson’s background as a literary scholar is evident in Penelope’s Chairs, which brims with allusions to and embedded quotations from the likes of Shakespeare, Donne, Vaughan, Wordsworth and Hopkins.”
AIDAN COLEMAN, The Australian