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Acanthus : New Poems

by Claire Potter, Claire Potter

Other authors: Jenny Grigg (Cover designer)

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New collection, ten years in the making, by one of Australia's richest lyrical poets. Acanthus offers a collection of poems that dwell in the landscapes of the northern and southern hemispheres, evoking myth and fantasy and romance, as they move between observation and imagination. At the heart of Potter's poetry is a keen awareness of the power of transformation, which brings the celestial and the physical, the imagined and the real closer to hand.The poems hold an ear to those wandering figures who, like Icarus, search the peripheries of those adjoining worlds for a way through, but instead often fall against the clockwork of the ordinary. Surreal gardens, repetitive geometry, rooms of clouds, witches and monsters, lie not outside the natural world but directly within it, mixing poetry and quotation, dream with prose. Each poem coexist at an angle to the next, sitting as if within the net of a wider page, seeking to embody the dramatic sense of reading and of falling right through its spaces. 'Acanthus combines dream-like clarity with sudden violent metamorphosis. The title recalls a story from Vitruvius: how, in spring, an acanthus plant flowered through a child's grave; how this inspired Callimachus to carve the Corinthian capital. Potter quotes Derrida: everything will flower at the edge of a desolate tomb. Grief and remembering, flowering greenness and carved stone: the poetry is shaped by such elemental forces. The poems of childhood, of elegy, of lovers' meetings and separations are everywhere subject to a mythical vision of human encounters.' -- Lisa Gorton… (more)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Claire Potterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Potter, Clairemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Grigg, JennyCover designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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New collection, ten years in the making, by one of Australia's richest lyrical poets. Acanthus offers a collection of poems that dwell in the landscapes of the northern and southern hemispheres, evoking myth and fantasy and romance, as they move between observation and imagination. At the heart of Potter's poetry is a keen awareness of the power of transformation, which brings the celestial and the physical, the imagined and the real closer to hand.The poems hold an ear to those wandering figures who, like Icarus, search the peripheries of those adjoining worlds for a way through, but instead often fall against the clockwork of the ordinary. Surreal gardens, repetitive geometry, rooms of clouds, witches and monsters, lie not outside the natural world but directly within it, mixing poetry and quotation, dream with prose. Each poem coexist at an angle to the next, sitting as if within the net of a wider page, seeking to embody the dramatic sense of reading and of falling right through its spaces. 'Acanthus combines dream-like clarity with sudden violent metamorphosis. The title recalls a story from Vitruvius: how, in spring, an acanthus plant flowered through a child's grave; how this inspired Callimachus to carve the Corinthian capital. Potter quotes Derrida: everything will flower at the edge of a desolate tomb. Grief and remembering, flowering greenness and carved stone: the poetry is shaped by such elemental forces. The poems of childhood, of elegy, of lovers' meetings and separations are everywhere subject to a mythical vision of human encounters.' -- Lisa Gorton

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