Ali Matteini

a life creative

5 of My Favourite Contemporary Australian Poets

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.

Peter Bakowski
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.

Mark Tredinnick
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.

Peter Boyle
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.

Emily Ballou
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.

Bruce Beaver
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.

One comment on “5 of My Favourite Contemporary Australian Poets

  1. WriterBee
    November 15, 2010

    I know the work of three of these five poets, and coincidentally have met those three too. It does make a difference often to hear the poet's voice. I love the simplicity of Peter Bakowski's poems, the way he compresses so much meaning into such tight lines.I heard Mark Tredinnick speak and read at the Reality Bites Festival in Queensland earlier this year. I love the intelligence of his work and his perceptive observations.And I heard Emily Ballou read at the 2009 Melbourne Writers Festival and immediately bought her Darwin poems. I've read them several times now and each reading brings out more detail.

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2010 by in creativity.

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