Husband-and-wife poets, John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan, have each been shortlisted for the 35th Age Book of the Year awards, which will be presented at the opening of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival on 22 August 2008.
Both their 2008 collections received high praise from Judge, David McCooey, a poet and academic.
McCooey described Kinsella’s Shades of the Sublime & Beautiful as a work that was ‘both profoundly sensate and deeply lettered, intensely political and powerfully personal.’
He said Ryan’s collection, Scar Revision, was ‘a powerfully coherent collection, offering brilliant poetic models of how we “revise” the scars caused by experience and loss.’
Fremantle Press CEO, Mary-Anne Paton, said it was due recognition for two outstanding Western Australian authors.
‘As a small, independent publisher with limited resources, we have to be extremely discerning about what we publish.
‘Only three poetry collections have been released by Fremantle Press in the past twelve months or so and all three were shortlisted for major national awards,’ said Paton referring to Caroline Caddy’s Esperance, which was shortlisted for the John Bray Poetry Award at the 2008 Adelaide Writers’ Festival.
John and Tracy are each one of five poets to be shortlisted for the $10,000 prize along with Anthony Lawrence, David Malouf and J.S. Harry.
Ryan’s second book for 2008, a novel called Sweet, will be launched at the Big Sky Writers’ Festival in Geraldton this September while Kinsella’s second Fremantle Press title, Contrary Rhetoric, is out now.
The Age Book of the year awards will be presented on 22 August at Melbourne Town Hall before the keynote address by Germaine Greer at the opening of the Melbourne Writers Festival. http://www.mwf.com.au.
From the Judge’s Report:
Shades of the Sublime & Beautiful
Using Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) as its ironic intertext, Kinsella’s latest work takes a characteristically clear-eyed view of Australian landscape. Throughout the collection, Kinsella considers the relationship between history, landscape, violence and aesthetics.
His connections are often startling and always open to the complex ways in which ‘experience’ and ‘poetry’ are intertwined, so that his work is both profoundly sensate and deeply lettered, intensely political and powerfully personal. His poetry is, as ever, energetic, intense, original, and brilliantly inventive.
Scar Revision is concerned with the literal and metaphorical scars of grief, parenthood, and love, tracing moments of intensity, and the long intensity of familial and personal history. Ryan’s compelling poems are both direct and metaphorical, marked by their striking imagery and rhythmic skill, as well as their skilful blend of demotic and lyrical language.
They are also notable for the way they balance seriousness of purpose with an arresting sense of humour. The book is a powerfully coherent collection, offering brilliant poetic models of how we ‘revise’ the scars caused by experience and loss.