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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Review Short : Tracy Ryan’s The Water Bearer
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‘… the poem / will cover a multitude of signs.’ This line, appearing early in West Australian author Tracy Ryan’s ninth poetry collection, can be read as connecting directly to what’s been posited as the very purpose of poetry: to confound or thicken language, to free it from its mere communicative dimension, as Walter Benjamin might put it, and allow it to bump up against things-in-themselves. In fact, this line also bears witness to what the volume as a whole achieves. For the remarkable poetic field that is The Water Bearer sets in motion a multitude of signs and their constellations, but importantly, through the skill of a poet at the height of her powers, also leaves them covered. A line from a later poem (ostensibly about the function of windows) illustrates this achievement differently: ‘Hold threads under tension, a frame.’ With the multiple readings the collection provokes it becomes evident that the volume itself performs as a frame, holding together threads of signs, objects, meanings, but always ‘under tension’: the essential muteness of the outside – the overflow side of language, or what Rilke designated as ‘unsayable’ – feels ever pressing.'

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Cordite Poetry Review No Theme VII no. 86 1 May 2018 13979368 2018 periodical issue

    'Four years ago, writing an essay on David Malouf, I learned that Hawthorn Library held a copy of his first poetry collection, Bicycle and Other Poems (1970). I borrowed it, and, sadly, I returned it, too. Today, I rang the library to find the book. The friendly librarian on duty told me that it had been ‘deleted’ from the catalogue. She could find no record of whether they had given it away or thrown it in the recycling bin.' (Lisa Gorton, Introduction to No Theme VII)

Last amended 22 May 2018 12:53:19 Review Short : Tracy Ryan’s The Water Bearersmall AustLit logo Cordite Poetry Review
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