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Tranter’s latest poems refresh through the exercise of urbane skills: this is a poet suave and playful, but never aloof; linguistically various, assured in style, and never less than fully attentive.
No part of this book may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission, except for brief quotations in reviews. Cover art by Louise Hearman: Untitled 23723-1998-oil-on- masonite-69x91cm, by permission of Liz Laverty.
For all the poems, their derivations and any significant notes are listed in the Notes to the Poems[ … This phrase was T S Eliot’s dedication of ‘The Waste Land’ to Pound: ‘the better maker’ or ‘the finer craftsman’, which is what Dante calls Arnaut Danièl, an Occitan troubadour of the twelfth century and the inventor of the difficult sestina poem form, a favourite of [US poet John] Ashbery’s. The back story of modern poetry is vigorously interrogated, though the narratives are contemporary and the action takes place in the arena of the here and now.
] In the case of the first two parts, I started with loose drafts which borrowed the end-words of each line of some poems in each of the two books concerned. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 2010. ISBN-9780702238451 UQP’s Internet site Awards: — the 2011 Queensland State Literary Award for poetry; — the 2011 Age Book of the Year award for poetry ‘Radical revisions, mistranslations and multilingual dealings: in «Starlight», John Tranter destroys and rebuilds work by poets including Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Ashbery and T. The atmosphere crackles with colloquial energy and the dialogue undercuts itself with a dry wit.
— Peter Pierce, «The Melbourne Age», July 15, 2006.
This new and selected poems reminds us, if we needed reminding, just how powerful John Tranter’s cumulated work is.
The later poems, particularly, use dislocation and randomness to create compelling otherworlds of words.