Homage to Catullus

May 9, 2019 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | HISTORY, Poetry |

A rumination: Farts foreshadow faeces, Poppers presage poo; When they start, and carry on There’s little else to do But find yourself a toilet And sit yourself right down, Unless your suiting will assume A savage shade of brown.  

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Les Murray

17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019 A canonical poet, Murray couldn’t be bothered either to hide his faults or his reactionary tendencies. As Peter Porter wrote of him: “A skewer of polemic runs through his work. His brilliant manipulation of language, his ability to turn words into installations of reality, is often forced to hang on an embarrassing moral sharpness. The parts we love – the Donne-like baroque – live side by side with sentiments we don’t: his increasingly automatic opposition to liberalism and intellectuality.” And in fact, his vast body of work is somewhat uneven and even, at…

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T.S. Eliot in the Library

September 26, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

"In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo"...Eliot photographed by Lady Ottoline Morrell

26 September 1888: Thomas Stearns Eliot born in St Louis, Missouri. In its long piece on Old Possum, Poetry Foundation [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/t-s-eliot] said: “When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, “the world became a lesser place.” Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky “not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.” For Alfred Kazin he was “the mana known as ‘T. S. Eliot,’ the model poet of our time, the most cited poet and incarnation of literary correctness in the English-speaking world.” Northrop Frye simply states: “A…

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The Sentimental Bloke

September 7, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

C.J. Dennis, born 7 September 1876 He lived in an age when you could get away with writing in dialect (like Robbie Burns or Walter Scott before him) and his most famous work, The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke makes one cringe nowadays. Although we love one of his titles; The Glugs of Gosh. The ‘Laureate of the Larrikin’ was born in Auburn in the Clare Valley of South Australia, and spent most of his life in Melbourne.  He’s buried in the cemetery at Box Hill. Here’s “At the Play” from Sentimental Bloke, where Doreen and Bill (the Bloke) take…

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John Dryden

August 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Dryden (born 9 August 1631), England’s Poet Laureate before that office was fairly soon debased, you can set aside his works that tediously extol public virtue and look instead at his poetic struggles between Religion and Reason, or Now and Then: “Dim, as the borrow’d beams of Moon and Stars To lonely, weary, wandring Travellers, Is reason to the Soul; And as on high, Those rowling Fires discover but the Sky Not light us here; So Reason’s glimmering Ray Was lent, not to assure our doubtfull way, But guide us upward to a better Day. And as those nightly Tapers…

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