a life creative
They aren’t numbered, or in any hierarchy of pleasure, and there are others. But here are five of my favourite Australian poets, three of whom were in the same room together at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival – and the poetry of one of those three (Emily Ballou) I had the delight of discovering for the very first time.
His poetry is so simple and at the same time larger than itself. With a few words he shades behind the said with the unsaid. Many of his poems remind me of proverbs and are equally as memorable and didactic.
He also gives poetry readings in private homes to groups of eight or more people.
I had the privilege this year of attending Mark’s Cowshed Class writing workshop, and while there enjoyed a teaser or two of the poetry in Fire Diary before it hit the press last month. I’ve also recently just put down The Blue Plateau.
For me, reading Mark’s poetry is like walking the soul through the bush after rain.
Throughout much of his work I have read there is a swing between simplicity and complexity, a sense of ascending (spiritually), and a steadfast calm that transcends even the observations of violent pasts (as in Group Portrait, Delft, Late Sixteenth Century). His transitions from pain to beauty are without angst or self indulgence.
My only lady poet, this time around. I loved hearing her poetry at The Tasmanian Poetry Festival, where she read excerpts from The Darwin Poems, a poetic biography of Charles Darwin that explores his interior and exterior worlds.
Ballou’s poetry has a cinematic quality without, threaded with reverberations of colour, sound, dry humour and intelligence.
I was introduced to Letters to Live Poets (1969) by Alan Wearne in 3rd Year Uni, a publication intended as “an elegiac address” to poet Frank O’Hara. Beaver’s poetry is simplistic, wry and often journal-like – at times forgetting to be verse.
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