Monday, September 19, 2005

The Best Australian Poetry 2005

With all the talk of the latest Best American Poetry, edited by Paul Muldoon, Verse would like to call attention to another BAP edited by a non-U.S. poet: The Best Australian Poetry 2005, edited by Peter Porter.

Highlights include Javant Biarujia's prose poem "Icarus," MTC Cronin's "The Dust in Everything," Michael Farrell's "Poem without Dice," Jennifer Harrison's "The Lovely Utterly Cold Snow," J.S. Harry's 15-page "Journeys West of 'War,'" John Kinsella's "The Vital Waters," Anthony Lawrence's "Wandering Albatross," Jennifer Maiden's "Thunderbolt's Way," Peter Rose's "Quotidian," Craig Sherborne's "Journo," John Tranter's "Transatlantic," Chris Wallace-Crabbe's "From the Island, Bundanon," and Fay Zwicky's "Makassar, 1956."

Unlike Les Murray (who edited The Best Australian Poems 2004 for another publisher), Porter does not include his own work in the anthology.

One drawback in this series is its general editors' decision not to include poems by Australian poets published in journals outside Australia. This is unfortunate because a lot of Australian poets have been publishing in U.S. journals like Verse, Slope, TriQuarterly, and others. This policy also restricts the number of journals represented in each issue (BAP 2005 features work from only 14 periodicals). Granted, it makes sense for Australian journals to represent most of the poems published in the series, but it would be useful--and more accurate, in relation to Australian poets' publishing practices--to include U.S., British, and online journals that regularly publish Australian poets. This year's guest editor is a case in point: he lives in London and regularly publishes his own poems in non-Australian periodicals.

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