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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2006)
The house is smudged with lamps; outside there's rain.
Open windows, verandah, TV-moon
next door, through dark fronds, a harsh typewriter
sound of wetness, and bougainvillea
wound as lianas, sawn away between
each carved post. Those petals make their clamour
silently, held by heat of the houselight
in high arc above the steps.
Believing, as Ezra Pound did, that real emotion is all that endures, Robert Gray has avoided 'magic realism', whismy, irony and mannered tone in his poetry. Instead, his style is classically direct, clear and concrete, demonstrating an Augustan preference for substantial content. The poems of Nameless Earth are richly textured in their language; naturally elevated in manner and yet without pretension.
Taking as its subject the natural world and the arbitrary nature of things, this collection includes concrete poems, rhymed lyrics and epigrams, discursive philosophical discourse and free verse. Formally diverse and endlessly inventive, Gray's poems always grow, nevertheless, out of a vivid and genuine response to the world around him.
Table of Contents
Summer, Summer . . .
'A Poem of Not More than Forty Lines on the Subject of Nature'
A Country Churchyard
Visiting in Fife
In Departing Light
In the Mallee
Days of '71
Xanadu in Argyll
A Bowl of Pears
The Drift of Things
Homage to the Painters
'In dappled . . .'
Shack and Pine Tree
A Northern Town
Thinking of Harriet
Among the Mountains of Guang-xi Province, in Southern China
It Was My Sixtieth Year . . .
To a Friend
At the Cove
Joan Eardley in Catterline
Two Prose Poems
The School of Venice
'I know of no other poet writing in English who gets anywhere near Gray's power with images.'
Peter Goldsworthy, Australian Book Review. 'Mr Gray has an eye, and the verbal felicity which must accompany such an eye. He can use an epithet and image to perfection and catch a whole world of sensory under-standing in a word or a phrase.'
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