'Agenda': Poetry in motion

An Australian victory
Click to follow

Many of the carefully chosen poems are beautifully rooted in a locality, but like all fine poems, they transcend nationality and place. John Kinsella says he is proud to be associated with this issue, which "looks brilliant and on which a great job has been done". It has been praised by, among others, Clive James, and by another well-known Australian poet, Jan Owen, who describes it as "a rich and dynamic choice, a very nice balance of poetry and criticism". The poets whose work appears include Les Murray, Rosemary Dobson, Clive James, Peter Porter, John Kinsella and Dorothy Porter. Dennis O'Driscoll, critic and poet, enthuses: "The Australian issue is an education in all the outbacks and inbacks of that country's poetic territories."

Editor Patricia McCarthy quotes Judith Wright, matriarch of modern Australian poetry: "When all the living's done/ it's poems that remain." Indeed, many of the poems in this issue will remain, lingering in memory, to be returned to again and again. As is usual with Agenda, there is a blend of well-established and emerging voices, including Aboriginal ones.

The introductory essays set Australian poetry in perspective, and include a focus on its Aboriginal, and other, origins. General essays and reviews focus on Australian poets not sufficiently known in the UK. Two promising young Broadsheet poets from the online Broadsheets for young poets (www.agendapoetry.co.uk) are given prominence and the regular Notes for Broadsheet Poets, initiated by the editor as an inspirational aid for teachers and students on the craft of writing poetry, contains tips from major Australian poets. In poet Barry Hill's prizewinning biography Broken Song, T G H Strehlow is quoted as saying of the Aboriginal song: "If everything is vitally interconnected, then the whole world is a poem, an enchantment simply awaiting notation, or indication." The richness and diversity of the contents of this Agenda lead to the thought that the whole world is "an enchantment".

For more information about 'Agenda', go to www.agendapoetry.co.uk. Future issues include North American Voices, a general anthology and a Carol Ann Duffy issue. Subscription rate (four issues plus one volume is one subscription) is £28 individual, £22 students/OAPs, £35 libraries and institutions. Subscribe online or send a cheque/Visa number to: Agenda, The Wheelwrights, Fletching Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6TL. Single copies available from this address.