The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
by Michael Sharkey. Volume edited by Gordon Collier.
This volume contains a selection of the Australian poet Michael Sharkey’s uncollected essays and occasional writings on poetics and poets, chiefly Australian and New Zealand. Reviews and conversations with other poets highlight Sharkey’s concern with preserving and interrogating cultural memory and his engagement with the practice and championing of poetry. Poets discussed range from Lord Byron to colonial-era and early-twentieth-century poets (Francis Adams, David McKee Wright, and Zora Cross), under-represented Australian women poets of World War I, traditionalists and experimentalists, including several ‘New Australian Poetry’ activists of the 1970s, and contemporary Australian and New Zealand poets. Writings on poetics address form and tradition, the teaching and reception of poetry, and canon-formation. The collection is culled from commissioned and occasional contributions to anthologies of practical poetics, journals devoted to literary and cultural history and book reviewing, as well as newspaper and small-magazine features from the 1980s to the present. The writing reflects Sharkey’s poetic practice and pedagogy relating to the teaching of literature, rhetorical analysis, cultural studies, and writing in universities, schools, and cultural organizations in Australia, New Zealand, China, and Germany. It also evidences Sharkey’s familiarity with literatures written in English and his wider career in publishing, editing, free-lance journalism, and the promotion of Australian and New Zealand literature, especially poetry.