The Law of Poetry

$29.95 inc GST

Product Description

Written over a period of two decades, The Law of Poetry contains poems that pay personal tributes to ‘things’—broccoli, ducks and concrete—as well as poems that seek to physically enter the realm of abstract concepts —chance, kindness and explanations. Set out in alphabetical order—as if a dictionary of essences—each poem is titled ‘The Law of Something’, be that ‘The Law of Absolutes’, ‘The Law of the Child, Lost’ or ‘The Law of Rubber Gloves’. The reader is asked not to judge—as law stereotypically demands—but to engage with this very idiosyncratic world of the individual poet and to be injected, like the shrunken travellers in the 1966 classic, Fantastic Voyage, into the nervous system of another.


“I admit to never having read any of Cronin’s previously published work, despite having a reasonably healthy appetite for contemporary verse. I’ve always been wary of poems with ‘a message’ or which have a didactic element. For me the prettiness of the words, the liquidness of the cadence and the honesty of the introspection are what draw me back to particular poems. Which is why I’ve been a Walt Whitman tragic since adolescence. And I was pleased to discover that there is a Whitmanesque quality to the structure of some of the works in this volume, as well as some commonality of theme and motif. There’s an undeniable celebration of what it means to be an individual, both intellectually and morally, in these poems, the shorter ones in particular.” NIGEL STOBBS, The Alternative Law Journal

“Stylistically, the poems would seem to be influenced by Spanish and French surrealism and owe more than a little to Jorge Luis Borges’ metaphysical free-thinking. Many of Cronin’s best are pithy, short aphorisms or insights. Others have a significant narrative dimension, reminiscent of a parable.” GEOFF PAGE, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Cronin’s, however, is not that kind of collection to me. It demands a different engagement: it is a house prepared for (the idea of) us. The house has several wings. The wings do not resemble one another. And the view from any room can be quite different to the view from another. It requires us to spend time in it, to come to understand its particular layout and architecture. It will reward this slow meditation.” MARCELLA POLAIN, Westerly Magazine

“Individual poems and the collection as a whole trace patterns and connections within language, evoking the idiomatic and axiomatic, and reminding us of the ways in which the figurative permeates much of our everyday speech…What these poems reveal is the pleasure of idiosyncrasy, of language, of reimagining the ‘things’ that make up our world and the sense of agency poetry and its interventions can offer.” JO LANGDON, Cordite Poetry Review

“Cronin hands down laws for every conceivable instance where poetry attempts to accommodate the world…t is more an annotation of possible laws that we might adhere to if we knew them, than a corpus of law, and bears the same relation to law that Philip Salom’s Alterworld bears to reality, with the same brio. This is poetry as cattle prod, and a welcome shock it is.” PETER KENNEALLY, Australian Book Review (paywalled)