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Emptiness: Asian Poems 1998–2012

Written by John Mateer


From the teeming cities of Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing to the quiet of a Malaccan street, a Honshu mountain or even a Malay cemetery in Cape Town, Mateer’s journeys are out into the unknown world and deep into the mind. Like the early twentieth century French poet and archaeologist Victor Segalen, who is key to the book’s later poems on China, Mateer always affirms the power and pleasure of the foreign.

'Despite the years of writing they represent, both collections bear a freshness of focus,' Cordite Poetry Review

'John Mateer is the best guide I know to the poetics of travelling in what we call Asia.' Barry Hill

'Emptiness, autumnal in tone and intellectually restless, is a wonderful introduction to John Mateer’s meditations on the intersections between places, selves and histories that make up his Asian poems.' The West Australian

'Mateer holds his mirror to both poet’travels in Asia in a number of superb, powerful poems which blend actual events and people with abstract notions of being, questioning the role of poetry in perceiving and creating meaning.' Wasafiri, Issue 86

ISBN 9781922089625 (Paperback)
Formats Lightning Source (203 x 133mm) (Paperback)
Categories Poetry
Pages 128
Publication Year 2014
Edition 1st
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • John mateer

    John Mateer

    John Mateer has published books of poems in Australia, Austria, Portugal and the UK, and smaller collections in South Africa, Indonesia, Japan and Macau. World Literature Today has called him ‘the most recent reincarnation of the international poet’. Mateer has been a guest speaker at writing festivals around the world. Read more