'The quality of Australian poetry has never been higher, nor the number of distinctive voices greater. A landmark publication, this collection presents the astonishing achievements of Australian poetry during the last quarter of a century. Over ten years in preparation, gathering over 200 poets and 500 poems, it makes the case for this country's poetry as a broadening of the universal set for all English-speakers. 'Somewhat astonishingly,' the introduction notes, 'and while no-one was looking, Australian poetry has developed a momentum and a critical mass such that it has become one more luminous field in the English-speaking imagination. Increasingly, anyone who seeks to explore the perspectives or music available in English will also have to consider the perspectives and music which have originated here - Australia having turned itself, too, into a place in the mind.' Both survey and critical review, this anthology offers a rare opportunity to explore the major national achievement of contemporary Australian poetry. (Publication summary)'
'This book is aimed at providing criticism of contemporary Australian poetry in a form that is accessible to general readers of poetry. It is intended to be the first in a series which will grapple with the bewildering diversity of the contemporary poetry scene. Part of the need for this scholarly collection is remedial; as we will argue, poetry review culture often lacks critical bite and the exigencies of academic research often bypass critical evaluation. The recent publication of Contemporary Australian Poetry (2016) highlighted the strength and vitality of the art form in Australia over the last quarter of a century. Feeding the Ghost I: Criticism on Contemporary Australian Poetry is intended to complement that body of work which has surprised so many readers with its vigour and depth. ' (Introduction)
'Two generations ago, the proponents of free and metrical verse were locked in battle. Now, without fanfare—and with no pretension to being the only way of doing it—free verse seems to be everywhere. This has not happened by chance. In the process, it has developed some powerful disciplines, many of which still seem to be poorly understood.'' (Introduction)
'The recent anthology Contemporary Australian Poetry, published by Puncher & Wattmann), purports to be “both a survey, and a critical review, of Australian poetry between 1990 and the present”. It’s not. In fact, it’s not even close. How can it be when the four editors completely omitted a genre of Australian verse that has enjoyed a great deal of popularity during this period?' (Introduction)
'One way to read poetry in Australia is to see it as being in a constant state of conflict. For the most part, this is a cold war where poets argue with poets in very poetic ways – the outcry about Geoff Page’s Southerly blog probably counts as the outer limit of this activity, which manifests more often in email exchanges, reviews that are compliment sandwiches or gossipy asides. Sometimes this breaks out into the open, as we saw when John Kinsella took out a restraining order against Robert Adamson and Anthony Lawrence and which the Sydney Morning Herald covered in 2006.' (Introduction)
'In the wake of Brexit and the rise of Donald Trumpism (with the underlining racisms and sexisms) Education has turned out to be the new Class divide i.e. a clash of the Ignorant verses the Enlightened. Seems, the Educated fear being ruled by the Ignorant & Know-Nothings, and the Less-Educated fear (as has always been the case) being governed, by the arrogance of intellectual snobs who know next to little-or-nothing of their lives and experiences. It seems (according to the pundits) that people in Britain and the USA are increasingly being shaped (and Voting) according to how long they spent at school. (Sending all the commentators back to their proletarian textbooks presumably). The ancient Greeks knew that for Democracy to work properly, you had to let the Have-Nots get their claws into the Haves every now and then. But with the creeping rise of Corporations, Globalisation, the closing down of local industries in preference to world markets etc. this is becoming less and less possible or likely. It isn’t so surprising when you realise that Economists (from Hayek to Friedman) are all of a piece; seriously believing that Democracy itself is the cause of our “economic ills” producing inflation (no less) at the expense of free-market economics. This new cultural divide is nowhere more obvious however than in the current anthology. The Editors proudly headline the title of their Editorial (on the first page) with the words “A Luminous Field” (with their haloes, presumably) unashamedly parading the “new paradigms” of Australian poetry. This Elitist attitude permeates a lot of Australian anthologies, albeit not as blatantly as this one. It would be instructive to do a statistical breakdown of who and how and how many of those poets in those anthologies (especially pre-1980s) were similarly Degreed.' (Introduction)