An omnibus from Australia—the editor claims it to be a nation of love. Donna Ward writes in the foreword that 632 people submitted 1501 poems for this; and 173 poets wrote the 200 poems making up the final. Editor Tredinnick has an intro about the many forms of Love and how this book spreads the good. And who does not love Love? Well bad love poems are really scary and I was half afraid to open this book however beautiful the cover. No worry though. It goes down like vanilla almond milk laced with gin. Delicious.
How can I read all this, you ask? Well, have you ever been to an all-day swim event where your participant has the first and last 3-minute entry, at the beginning and end of the day? That aside, I can quite seriously recommend this book as it is not HALLMARK writing. There is raw love as in Song of the Barebreasted Honeyeater by Christine Paice; Betrayed love in Israel by Erin Martine Sessions; bereaved love by Jen Webb, The Widow’s Point of View—and every other known love and a lot of it.
Love is not an embarrassment. The editor really did a job in dismissing the ineligibles. What I like most is it doesn’t feel success-driven. It lays out the thought and grief; and folds in the heart and mind with exceptional care. The metaphysical poets sometimes used the word Love as irony. These poets take it straight on. Love is a poetry genre and this book shows where folks are now, born from the gold and brass of the 18th and 19th century. Some poets here take risks; some report life-changing moments; others ponder the source of Love, and when we stop reading we have non sentimental conclusions about Love—essential and indispensable—idealized or carnal. The book is a survey and a documentary and shows the basis for our heart’s conduct. But the biggest love of all shows, loud and clear, from the people who put the book together.
From the Section ‘You are Gone Now,’ by Paul Kelly:
Time is elastic
Together, days disappear
Apart, seconds crawl