The magisterial Geoff Page’s twenty second poetry collection finds him in a contemplative mood – intimations, if not of mortality itself then certainly of a restless peace and a robust frailty. His fine eye for locality and fine ear for the vernacular are operating in full force, and the poetry ranges from the playful light verse that conjures up a broad smile to an altogether deeper mode, often reaching back into history, which might just as easily bring forth a long, deep knowing sigh.
Geoff Page is an Australian poet who has published twenty-two collections of poetry as well as two novels, five verse novels and several other works including anthologies, translations and a biography of the jazz musician, Bernie McGann. He retired at the end of 2001 from being in charge of the English Department at Narrabundah College in the ACT, a position he had held since 1974. He has won several awards, including the ACT Poetry Award, the Grace Leven Prize, the Christopher Brennan Award, the Queensland Premier’s Prize for Poetry and the 2001 Patrick White Literary Award.
Selections from his work have been translated into Chinese, Hindi, German, Serbian, Slovenian and Greek. He has also read his work and talked on Australian poetry in Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, India, Singapore, China, Korea, the United States and New Zealand.
In his new collection the peerless, prolific Geoff Page sweeps from the leery relatives of his past to the no less cryptic deities of his future.
Call yourself a socialist?
my mother used say
whenever I was mildly mean
or stirred her up in play.
There are many wry chuckles – the existential problem of shirts, or Auden vs the indigent.
Meanwhile his bovine gods have tougher questions to answer:
Acknowledging that sentience,
I wonder what their world view holds.
Grass, high suns and reproduction?
Well-spaced cruelties, unexplained,
then more or less forgiven?
This classic collection of Page-turning poems, light and dark, wry and weary, will delight his legions of loyal fans, not least the ABC’s legendary Adelaide radio host Peter Goers, who recently declared Geoff Page ‘Australia’s finest living poet’.
A witty, wise twenty-first collection from an elder statesman of Australian poetry.
Improving the News offers meditations on coffee, country life, Casino, and Clive James. With a characteristic lively wit, supple use of metre and piercing insights, this new collection is vintage Geoff Page.
LAUNCHED IN CANBERRA BY MELINDA SMITH
CIVIC LIBRARY, TUESDAY 19TH NOVEMBER
LAUNCHED IN SYDNEY BY BROOK EMERY
GLEEBOOKS, SUNDAY 24TH NOVEMBER