Paul Munden reviews The Best Australian Poems 2016


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In her introduction to this anthology, editor Sarah Holland-Batt claims for the work ‘a colloquialism, contrarianism and playfulness that separates it from its counterparts in the northern hemisphere’. Being hitherto more familiar with that northern hemisphere, this reviewer’s critical interest was immediately aroused.
The nearest equivalent publication in the UK and Ireland is the annual Forward Book of Poetry. It differs in that it features the winning, shortlisted and highly commended poems for the Forward Prizes for Poetry, as selected by a team of judges. On glancing through both anthologies as a casual browser might (in some utopian international bookshop), it is true that several pages of the BAP make a deliberately playful pitch for attention. But playfulness can run deep, and is sometimes appreciated only when a reader tunes into the particular colloquialism and contrarianism that surely characterises vigorous poetry in many parts of the world. For readers less familiar with those particularities, something may well ‘suffer a bit / in the translation’, to use a phrase that Holland-Batt quotes from a poem by Michael Dransfield.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationCordite Poetry Review
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017


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