the death of poetry

I can’t find the article online but the Review section of the Weekend Australian today featured a very poetic and forlorn looking Alan Wearne on the cover with the dramatic headline, ‘As this man accepted a premier’s award for poetry his publisher was planning to dump him’

Turns out that this was referring to Wearne’s verse-novel The Lovemakers and an incident in 2002, but that’s okay; things haven’t improved much. The two page feature by Rosemary Neill is a bit depressing in its thesis that big publishers are not interested in publishing poetry but does offer some rays of light in small press and (surprise) the internet.

Other poets pictured include Miles Merrill, Dorothy Porter, Les Murray, Steven Herrick, David Malouf, Bronwyn Lea and John Tranter but my favourite is the Wearne portrait of the poet as a disillusioned man: darkly lit, hair ruffled, bearded, jumper and long scarf placed alongside a mirror of self-reflection or regret? Hand cupped pensively under his chin it’s either a masterful portrait of the archetypal angst-ridden poet, or he’s got tooth-ache! If this is how mainstream media delineates the ‘poetic’ then no wonder it’s marginalised.

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