Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Shark

Rachel has three poems in the new Fiddlehead (230), which we found in the mail yesterday upon our return from Lasqueti.

Turns out this issue also features a supplement of Australian poetry, edited by Andrew Sant. I met Andrew--a charming fellah and a very good poet--last year when he read at St. Mary's University with David O'Meara and David Manicom, two fine Canadian poets whose work I recommend. We had a few pints afterwards and several of us were bugging Andrew to tell us which Aussie poets we should be reading. He and the Davids had previously read in Fredericton at UNB, hosted by Ross Leckie, Fiddlehead's top fern. VoilĂ ! I haven't read all of the poems yet, but if the first one, "The Shark" by Judith Beveridge, is any indication, it should be an excellent feature. If I've been hard on the journals in past posts, it's in part because there's not near enough of this sort of thing: outward-looking, xenophilic, focused. Kudos!

Here's audio of my reading "The Shark," which I love for its combination of gritty unflinchingness and dense patterns of sound, which reminds me somewhat of Ted Hughes.

Update: Mark wrote in with a recommendation for Les Murray (if you're interested in finding out about Murray, you should click the link; the site is fantastic, with lots of poems in text format and a few in audio). He's just about the only contemporary Aussie poet I have read a lot of (and as Andrew says in the intro to the Fiddlehead feature, which includes two Murray poems, this is a common phenomenon outside of Australia), mostly the poems in his Selected volume, Learning Human. The best Murray is as good as it gets in contemporary poetry for my money. I've got his verse novel Fredy Neptune in the queue waiting to be read.

Update 2, April 1: The feature is indeed a very good one. Besides Beveridge, I especially liked poems by Stephen Edgar, John Kinsella, Anthony Lawrence, Les Murray, Jan Owen, and Peter Porter. Murray and Porter were the only ones I knew about prior to reading their poems here.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hey Zachariah,

If you're looking for a good Aussie poet, you really can't go wrong with Les Murray. I think he's been nominated a couple times in the international category of the Griffin Prize. His book The Biplane Houses is excellent. I was living in Aus last year before moving back to Canada and saw him read at the International Writers Festival. He was excellent.