Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lemon Shark

In Luke Beesley’s impressive debut, there seems to be an awful lot of two things – rain and cinema. Fitting, perhaps, for a native of Brisbane, to be a little pre-occupied with tropical lows. And the cinematic references (mostly in the form of dedications) strike me as fitting too, considering the vivid, rollicking intellect of this poet. I think I would like Luke Beesley were we to ever meet in person. His is a wry take on life, a little obtuse at times, but that’s OK. The times demand that of we poets to an extent, and anyway Luke Beesley is, as I say, a native of Brisbane where an entire movement is shaping up around a gun with a very crooked barrel.

Soi Modern Poets, an offshoot of Paul Hardacre’s Papertiger franchise, have done a sterling job with this book. It looks smart, and has been meticulously edited, no small thing in these days of the “publisher’s lunch”. It is one of three titles on offer in this first series, and I only chose it above the other two because I am already pretty familiar with the work of Brett Dionysius and Billy Jones, whereas I have until now only glimpsed compelling snatches of Luke Beesley’s work in journals and anthologies and was keen for more. This collection has certainly not disappointed.

The word English is wet. It has rained recently and it works
like a smashed grape; not wine but the lamp-light quality
of its flesh under sunlight. England is the seed.

(From “The Cliffs”)

I can open this book at pretty much any page and such treasures will come tumbling out. There are a few, such as “Milk Teeth” that passed me by somewhat, but often on first reading a poem can seem intended for someone else, an audience of one, and the poem in question possesses enough originality to carry it further, if perhaps read separately from the rest of the collection. This comment should in itself serve as testament to the strength of this debut by a young and promising poet. Visit the Papertiger Media website to snavel your copy and get a smart canvas bag thrown in! Just click on the post header.

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