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Jaya Savige, Maze Bright

In the 1940s, behavioural psychologists and developmental biologists working in the nascent field of epigenetics coined the term “maze-bright” to describe laboratory rats displaying a marked proficiency in maze navigation. Since then, the term has been deployed across a range of contexts, most notably in HR parlance to describe ‘attractive hires’.

This suite of poems seizes on the semantic pluripotency of its titular motif, transposing it into the early twenty-first century cultural keys of gaming (“パックマン Étude”), cinema (“Magic Hour, LA”, “Cinemetabolic”), finance and insurance (“To His Coy Investor”, “Act of God”), extreme sports (“Wingsuit Journal”), psychogeography (“Citicity”), post-colonial deracination (“Nick Cave at Buckingham Palace”) and others.

Jaya Savige is the author of two collections of poetry: Latecomers, winner of the Kenneth Slessor Prize (NSW Premiers Awards), and Surface to Air, shortlisted for The Age Poetry Book of the Year. He is a Gates Scholar at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, and teaches at A.C. Grayling’s New College of the Humanities. He grew up on Bribie Island, and lives in London.


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