ISBN: 0 9808523 3 2 • 176pp. pbk • RRP: 27.95
The poets here are Elizabeth Campbell, Bonny Cassidy, Sarah Holland-Batt, L K Holt, Graeme Miles, Simon West and Petra White. And the book is a celebration: large samples of poems from each. Now in their late twenties to mid-thirties, each has a substantial body of wide-ranging, stimulating and moving work.
Generational groupings of poets are often self-selected around defined reading interests. In this case it’s inclination to devour as much of poetry’s past and present traditions as possible, for the wide craft and spirit of the art. The upshot is a particular, persistent élan: intelligence that is free to be daring, with a practised suppleness of free-verse lines.
These poets share the modernists’ eclecticism, taken into the postmodern – having grown up with the effects of instant, global communication. The diversity of contemporary experience has a ready and confident home in their art. These are poems of a true distinction.
John Leonard, born in Melbourne in 1940, holds a PhD from Queen’s University. He taught literature at Monash and James Cook Universities. His most recent anthologies are Seven Centuries of Poetry in English, fifth edition (OUP) and The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry – which he takes to be a companion book to this.
This is the Preface by the editor John Leonard, to this Anthology.
Reviews: Young Poets: An Australian Anthology