If Cooke’s previous book, Lyre, urged us towards the ‘more’ of the more-than-human world, then The grass is greener over your grave returns to the ‘human’ end of that spectrum—though always with an eye to the porosity of the human and its immersion in waves of land, language, dream, and sea. Typically wide-ranging in form, this new collection develops Cooke’s preoccupations with colonisation, ecology, metaphysics, and travel, while also acknowledging their heritage in the life and work of the late poet Martin Harrison.
“An extended elegy to a late friend and mentor, this is a culmination of the phenomenological and fiercely attentive place-based writing that has preoccupied Cooke’s work to date. Traces of other local poetic influences – Phillip Hodgins, Jennifer Rankin and John Anderson – are visible and audible in Cooke’s eventful treatment of the prose line and internal rhyme. There is, too, the emergence of a tougher, cooler voice; at times self-satirising, reminiscent of John Mateer’s personae, Cooke brings forward a lyric character who treads these poems with ironic scrutiny, reflecting the author’s ongoing work at the crossroads of non-Indigenous language and culture.”