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Philip Mead, Zanzibar Light

These poems play with the endlessly malleable form of the sonnet, across a spectrum of tone and register, from traditional to terminals. They are in the innovative traditions of contemporary poetry that are willing to explore and remediate any of the conventions of the poetic archive. In the longer form poems shifting states of consciousness are tagged to scraps of language and mysteriously resonant scenes of contemporary life. The emphasis is always on the ephemeral, the intersections of dreamscapes with the barely noticeable strata of everyday life. The sentences are always close to ordinary, but unafraid to follow the runs of association and blockage generated by language itself.

‘This is a book of cross-talking voices coming from the same source. Meditative poems about landscape necessarily collide and upend the tangents of modernity, the ironies of the “civilized.” The sonnets in the book work individually and collectively, and there's an underlying journey in search of equanimity and knowledge but constantly being confronted and re-routed by the insensitivities, opportunisms and commercial brutalities of a corporate and controlling world.' – John Kinsella

Philip Mead was born in Brisbane in 1953. He was educated in Queensland, the United Kingdom and the United States, and began writing and publishing poetry in the early 1970s. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies in Australia and internationally, and have been published by University of Queensland Press (This River is in the South, 1984). In the 1990s he edited, with John Tranter, The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry and was Poetry Editor of Meanjin (1987-1994). He was Lockie Fellow in Creative Writing and Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne and is now Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Western Australia. He has also published criticism of Australian poetry and edited the work of several Australian poets. His critical study Networked Language: History & Culture in Australian Poetry won the 2010 New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Literary Scholarship.

Philip Mead, Zanzibar Light.
2018. 148mm x 210mm. 70pp. 
ISBN 978-1-922181-70-1


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


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