This tension gives the book its narrative focus and Shelton his humanity. Georgeff has written a tremendously engaging account of one poet’s life, without overly romanticising her subject, and has refrained from writing over Lea’s faults or ignoring his weaknesses.”
There’s a lot more to digest in the current issue, as is usual with Overland. If anyone has a comment or would like to discuss the points I make in my review, feel free!
If Bishop favours the high aesthetic road, Prater — editor of the online journal Cordite Poetry Review — prefers the mass-media superhighway. We Will Disappear pops and buzzes with references to drugs (Dexedrine, grass and cigarettes), military hardware (atom bombs, Semtex, F-15s and Minutemen) and virulent diseases (SARS), not to mention communications technologies, both current and defunct (satellites, radio, daguerreotypes and computer coding). Relentlessly racy, Prater hits hard and fast in his attempts to keep up with the wrenching juggernaut of our times.
I’ve just checked out Judith’s website and while I think it’s fair to say we’re very different poets, it’s nice to see a review of two books by people born in 1972 in Australia’s only national newspaper! Oh, and in the Year of the Rat, too!
I just wish the Oztraylian would post the review on their website, so that I could link to it. Personally, I had to go through Swinburne’s library homepage to get to it. In any case, I assume a copy of the full review will be available on the papertiger media website in due course.
UPDATE: One other double-plug I forgot to mention before comes from the avant-garde online poetry journal foam:e. In its latest issue, guest editor Louise Waller notes:
Unfortunately foam:e received more books than it is possible to review this issue, but I would like to suggest David Prater’s We Will Disappear published by soi 3 modern poets, and Sue Stanford’s Opal, published by Flat Chat Press are well worth a read.
Thanks Louise! And I can heartily recommend foam:e to all good poets!
Aww, shucks. It’s a crime wave, move on!
I should point out that the review was not commissioned, edited or posted by me but by our reviews editor, Ali Alizadeh. Further, the review itself was written by Ryan Scott, a Czech-Republic based poet whom I have never met or corresponded with. Still, I feel a slight twinge of discomfort and potential embarrasment to see a review of my own book in a journal of which I am the Managing Editor.
While it’s not quite in the same league as Walt Whitman writing reviews of his own book, Leaves of Grass, under false names and then using these reviews to create testimonials, it’s still, well, a bit strange. What do you think?
Anyway, what better way to follow that paragraph than to admit that I recently finished all 758 pages of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, a book that someone once said (I’m paraphrasing) made most other books look a little simpleminded. Now, I know people say that Ulysses is, erm, difficult. Seems Pynchon got it into his head that he could go one better and, by the looks of it, the man has succeeded. Parts of Gravity’s Rainbow are truly unreadable. You know that phrase “Don’t go there”? Yeah well, Pynchon goes there. There’s no point trying to describe where he goes. You’ll have to read it yourself. But boy am I pleased with myself that I managed to get through it. I enjoyed most of it. There is some truly classic humour in this book. Then again, there’s some stuff that’s not for the squeamish. For this reason, I find it completely understandable that the book both won and lost the Pulitzer Prize (the panel’s decision to award the prize to Pynchon was overturned on the grounds of obscenity, meaning the Prize was not awarded that year).
The Internet seems the perfect place for discussion of Pynchon, and a variety of websites offer much in the way of explanation and helpful references. Not sure if the Simpsons episode featuring Pynchon has aired in Oz yet. But did I mention meeting Pynchon on a train in the US a couple of years ago? I talk about it here. A poem of mine, entitled “Thomas Pynchon and the Art of Anonymity Maintenence” was recently published in Meanjin. Finally, Thomas Pynchon’s new intro to “1984”. Okay so it’s not that new but I just found it. Wow.