The Pastoral is alive…

Alive and well actually, if you look at examples like the shortlist for the ABR Poetry Prize in this month’s Australian Book Review.

The finalists are:

  • Sanctum by Alex Skovron
  • Full Bucket Moon by Ross Clark
  • The Fledglings by Robert Adamson
  • The Fencer and His Mate by Kathryn Lomer
  • The Red Sea by Stephen Edgar
  • Guidance and Knowledge by Anthony Lawrence

All but the first are concerned with the natural world, or set in a rural landscape: milking cows, axe-men and their craft, a north-west bay at sunset, the music of spur-wing plovers. They’re about other things of course, but it’s interesting to see the prevalence of the natural in our suburbanised world. My favourite of this lot? Probably Anthony Lawrence’s driving meditation on birds, his father and knowledge.


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