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ISBN: 0 9775787 2 0   •   222 pp. pbk   •   RRP: 24.95

The Passion Paintings gathers – thus far – an oeuvre. Here is ‘Book Three’, a full-length collection of new poems by Aileen Kelly; and alongside it is most of the poetry that appeared in her earlier two books.

The energy that made Coming Up for Light a celebrated first book in 1994 – still so fresh in the first fifty pages here – emerges as a driving into an intricate poetic.

Aileen Kelly writes lyrics of emotional and intellectual force, and wit. They feel personal but forbid sentimentality. From the start, she has had acid and mourning poems about atrocity. There are also reflections on the intimate arc that plays between the poet’s home in Melbourne and her youth in England. By the time of City and Stranger in 2002, it is evident that the topic is existence. ‘On the planet’s rim’, our common exposure is equally political and personal – and yes, physical.

A Kelly motif is a finding of the numinous in the undeniably secular. This is quietly intensified in some of the poems in Book Three: both in the stillness and question of dream narrative, and in sharp or affectionate language of physical detail.

Here is a section of poems from The Passion Paintings.

ReviewsThe Passion Paintings.