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Product Description

Using the Rorschach inkblots as metaphors, conjuring the wondrous and the monstrous in his poems, Toby Fitch brings a new vision and shape to Australian poetry. Old modes of expression, such as the mythic, the romantic, the symbolic and the surreal, are all given fresh voice and patterning. The poems in Rawshock mythologise love, anxiety, the self and city living, dovetailing inner and outer worlds with a healthy antipodean dose of absinthe and concrete poetry.

“Toby Fitch’s Rawshock opens onto hell and onto a Eurydice who seems more knowing than she used to, whose eyes tell of gay abandon as well as the old emptying pain. These poems are a fresh, vivid working-through of the myth: a myth that keeps reminding us there’s nothing new under the sun, except when poets strike indelible lines from newly minted words charged with the currents of daily usage. The tone is dark, not bitter; the language maps the landscape of an electrified underground: there is music here, but no birds sing in the trees. The artwork is as skilful as the fine handling of the lines, making poetry anew.”

—Robert Adamson

“Makes me feel as if I’m reeling on my feet, as if I were facing a swooning, malevolent abyss.”

—Judith Beveridge

“Apollinaire of Avalon, Lorca of the Inner West. No such comparison, close as it comes, quite does this collection justice. This is simply one of the freshest and most promising new voices we’ve heard in Australia in years, undiluted, intense, Orphic, daring, with surprise in almost every line, word-play reminiscent of Mallarme, and (at last!) an exciting, uninhibited use of the page. Surely one of the poetry books of the year.”

—David Brooks


“Toby Fitch’s first full-length collection, Rawshock, has a comparably ludic quality but a darker atmosphere. Many of the poems have dream-like geographies and meteorologies, owing a lot to the French surrealists.” GEOFF PAGE, The Australian

“There are pitfalls at almost every step in this kind of undertaking, and Fitch avoids all of them. He defibrillates the hackneyed theme, and creates sculptured poems that play with shape, stutteringly, and yet are living things, not merely rearrangements. Close the book, and watch as the poem folds into its ink blot, producing an almost physical sensation of collapse and coition.” PETER KENNEALLY, The Australian Book Review

“Sydney-based poet Toby Fitch’s first book-length collection, Rawshock, is a lively, artful and conceptually engaging excursion into the underworld of a profound poetic imagination; through the eponymous poem sequence, Fitch offers up the viscera and vital organs of the Orpheus myth for the delectation of contemporary readers…Fitch has done something different in his telling of the tale: through ‘Rawshock’ he invites us to look back on how we, in the present, read the myths of times past to see ourselves as distorted reflections, the symmetry imperfect as the shape his poems take up on the page.” NICOLA THEMISTES, Cordite Poetry Review

“The visual similarity of the first sequence, Everyday Static, to the third, Oscillations, suggests that despite everything nothing has changed. These are attractive poems with titles that evoke their subject and deal with it. Occasionally, they are moved to wind themselves across the page… Sometimes they use the demarcations of the book to more ingenious effect.” FIONA HILE, Mascara Literary Review