The Welfare of My Enemy

$24.00 inc GST

Product Description

Too much information can be hard to swallow.
Time will often tell when leads are hard to follow.

Evidence blows away when the earth is fallow.
Some seeds take. Some graves are shallow.

Blending verse novella and book-length poem, The Welfare of My Enemy is a ground-breaking, haunted portrait of the phenomenon of Missing Persons. At times disturbing, always captivating, this new book showcases Lawrence’s marvellous imagery and spellbinding rhythms in a work that highlights a dark, prevailing underside to Australian society.

Anthony Lawrence has published twelve books of poems, the most recent being Bark (UQP, 2008). He has also published a novel, In The Half Light (Picador, 2000). His work has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Slovenian, Ukrainian and Japanese, and has received a number of awards. He is currently working on a book of erotic poems and a new novel. He lives in Newcastle.


“Immediately impressive is the avoidance of sensationalism. We are given precious little in the way of reconstruction: the putting of flesh on the bare bones of a disappearance thus activating the strange readerly voyeurism that draws us unwillingly but inevitably in to narratives of horror. Anthony Lawrence’s interests lie in the baffling paradoxes of absence.” MARTIN DUWELL, Australian Book Review

“Anthony Lawrence’s The Welfare of My Enemy is a collection of poems about the missing, and the anxieties that attend them. In poems of various lengths, written in buoyant free-verse couplets, he ranges through every situation and point of view that missing conjures—some trivial or temporary, but others, like the anxieties, unable to avoid the possibility that the nightmares might be real.” MARTIN LANGFORD, Meanjin

“In his 12th book of poems, The Welfare of My Enemy, Newcastle-based Anthony Lawrence joins an Australian tradition of crime verse that includes Alan Wearne and Dorothy Porter. It’s potent territory, where wittily ruthless cons and crims speak in iambs worthy of Iago. Such characters are self-aware constructions, calculating and cynical; and know their jobs as well as their own pathologies…” BONNIE CASSSIDY, The Australian

“Described by the publisher as a ”verse novella” or ”book-length poem”, Anthony Lawrence’s The Welfare of My Enemy collection is a many-voiced mosaic that relentlessly examines the phenomenon of missing persons. Among the voices that emerge are those of the missing, those who miss them, the perpetrators of abduction and murder, and those who work to retrieve the lost. The narrative that emerges doesn’t tell a single story but demonstrates repeatedly the ways unexplained absences haunt us.” KATE MIDDLETON, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Such ambitious poetry remorselessly takes the reader into the minds of the victims, the survivors, the perpetrators. To Lawrence, layers of history permeate the landscape and the earth. The author may be invisible but in this work he is not dead. At a time when poets and writers often concern themselves with poetry and the process of writing this is substantial – and present. Powerful stuff.” RAE DESMOND JONES, Rochford Street Review