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Aidan Coleman Aidan Coleman i(A18709 works by)
Born: Established: 1976 Aberystwyth,
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Wales (UK),
c
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United Kingdom (UK),
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Western Europe, Europe,
;
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: ca. 1984
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Works By

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1 Steps to Parnassus : Martin Johnston’s The Sea-Cucumber Aidan Coleman , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: Westerly , vol. 66 no. 1 2021; (p. 60-76)
'Martin Johnston (1947-1990) left behind a slim oeuvre of remarkable poems, lauded for their wit and erudition. The son of  the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, he spent most of his childhood in Europe, living for almost a decade on the island  the of Hydra as part of an expatriate community of artists, which included the then little-heralded Leonard Cohen. He worked mainly as a critic through the 1970s, and in the '80s wrote subtitles for SBS Television. Johnston's life was also marked by tragedy. His mother's suicide in 1969 was followed by his father's death from tuberculosis the following year, and then his sister Shane's suicide four years later. These events haunt his writing. Johnston, who was an alcoholic for much of his adult life, died at the age of forty-two. During this time, he published an acclaimed experimental novel, Cicada Gambit (1984). He also published a book of modern Greek poetry in translation Ithaka (1973), and three books of poetry: Shadowmass (1971), The Sea-Cucumber (1978) and The Typewriter Considered as a Bee-Trap (1984). An elegant volume of Johnston's selected poems, Beautiful Objects (Ligature), edited and introduced by Nadia Wheatley, marked the thirtieth anniversary of his death in 2020, along with the launch of a memorial website. ' (Introduction)
 
1 Virtual Conference in the Tropics i "There we weren’t", Aidan Coleman , 2021 single work poetry
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 80 no. 2 2021;
1 'A House in the Country Spells Death' Aidan Coleman , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Overland , Autumn no. 242 2021; (p. 34-42)
'The first thing Ranald Allan and his friends heard, after they passed through customs at Sydney airport, was John Forbes' booming deadpan, reciting the poem: 'Up, Up, Home & Away'. ' (Introduction)
 
1 The Pastures of Youth : An Uneven Poetic Memoir Aidan Coleman , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 430 2021; (p. 55)

— Review of Walk Like a Cow : A Rumination on Walking Brendan Ryan , 2005 single work autobiography
'‘The first forty years of life furnish the text, while the remaining thirty supply the commentary,’ Arthur Schopenhauer remarked in The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims. While the timespan is different, the proportions are similar. Brendan Ryan’s Walk Like a Cow, which focuses predominantly on the poet’s first twenty-five years, has been written over roughly two decades. The memoir features twenty-seven largely self-contained chapters and nine previously published poems, in a roughly chronological narrative.' (Introduction)
1 Life of the Poet Frustratingly Short on Intimate Details Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 12 December 2020; (p. 20)

— Review of David Campbell: A Life of the Poet Jonathan Persse , 2020 single work biography
1 Contra i "The greatest", Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work poetry
— Appears in: Rabbit , no. 31 2020; (p. 60-61)
1 Plainspoken Virtuosity : The Poetry of Philip Hodgins Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 18 August 2020;

'His “poems are as urgent and accessible as headlines, though infinitely more beautiful”, the broadcaster Phillip Adams wrote of the Australian poet Philip Hodgins.' (Introduction)

1 Circuit, an Elegy i "'right' you say, shaking out the day", Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work poetry
— Appears in: Westerly , July vol. 65 no. 1 2020; (p. 107)
1 The Function of Knowledge and Contingent Difficulty in the Poetry of John Forbes Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 20 no. 1 2020;

'The poet John Forbes (1950-1998) was famous for his erudition, but it is a feature of his work that has long been overlooked. Outlining how knowledge functions in Forbes’ poetics and compositional process, I argue for foregrounding this knowledge content in readings of his work, before modelling sustained readings of the erudition of two of Forbes’ best-known poems, ‘Stalin’s Holidays’ and ‘Ars Poetica’. These readings focus on the experience of contingent difficulty – that category of difficulty, according to George Steiner, that finds its source in a reader’s lack of knowledge – and the role that research, or ‘homework’ (26), plays in the reading process. While acknowledging that Steiner’s contingent difficulties are intertwined with – and sometimes created by – other categories of difficulty, this article argues for the productiveness of such ‘homework’ early in the interpretative process. Steiner likens contingent difficulties to ‘burrs on the fabric of the text’ (27). I extend this metaphor to propose that contingent difficulties, in their tactile, grip-like quality, enable a reader to engage with a difficult poem, and to proceed with exegesis, when the difficulties the poem otherwise presents seem insurmountable.' (Publication abstract)

1 ‘Let A Thousand Errors Bloom’ Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , July 2020;

— Review of A History of What I'll Become Jill Jones , 2020 selected work poetry

'The year 1599 was Shakespeare’s annus mirabilis – a year in which, after a relatively barren period, he wrote four masterpieces: Julius CaesarHenry VAs You Like It, and Hamlet, spanning the First Folio’s three genres of history, comedy and tragedy. The achievement of this period was crowned with the Bard’s longest and most enigmatic play, Hamlet. For me, Hamlet is Shakespeare’s great open poem – the play more than any other that points to the generative power of language. I think of Shakespeare (always writing by candlelight in a small room above the front bar of a London pub) in love with writing, amazed by what he was writing, unable to keep the profusion of his verse within the tidy lines of a plot.' (Introduction)

1 Via Negativa i "This is not a knee to get", Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work poetry
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7 March 2020; (p. 22)
1 Thin Elegy i "Your funeral", Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work poetry
— Appears in: Social Alternatives , vol. 38 no. 4 2020; (p. 53)
1 Daffodils i "Whenever I return", Aidan Coleman , 2020 single work poetry
— Appears in: Social Alternatives , vol. 38 no. 4 2020; (p. 15)
1 4 y separately published work icon Mount Sumptuous Aidan Coleman , Mile End : Wakefield Press , 2020 18793794 2020 selected work poetry

''This is an outstanding volume of poetry. It is wonderfully original and deliciously complex. Its intellectual pirouettes and cutbacks are a pleasure to follow, always offering an incredibly agile and aesthetically stimulating journey. With brio and wit, Coleman's poems jag through various allusions, from computer games to Shakespeare, from reality TV to Blue Light Discos. In lesser hands such a dizzying array of references could lead to a kind of vertigo or even a sense of self-indulgent over-referencing. Yet Coleman's omnivorous poems handle disparate elements superbly, holding an openness in tension with their erudite clarity.' - Lachlan Brown

''These poems of great architectural skill and precision are small houses (nothing in excess) of scrutiny - what is watched on the television, what is read in print and on the screen, is analysed in the context of "responsibility". Wry, aphoristic, compiled brick by brick, expression by expression, each poem accords with and flouts the regulations at once - that is, this immaculate crafter of the poem also questions the propaganda of prosody and poetics. Smart, learned, and ironic, the work leads us through the artifice of art and aesthetics, confronting our cultural certainties and pre-judgements. Satire with compassion, wit with deep insight. His is a unique voice.' - John Kinsella' (Publication summary)

1 Interruptions in Blue i "Sharper than a MiG-jet, your first surfboard", Aidan Coleman , 2019 single work poetry
— Appears in: Meniscus , April vol. 7 no. 1 2019; (p. 104)
1 AI i "Meanwhile", Aidan Coleman , 2019 single work poetry
— Appears in: Meniscus , April vol. 7 no. 1 2019; (p. 103)
1 Does Function Follow Form? Openness and Formal Association in the Early Poetry of John Forbes Aidan Coleman , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs , October vol. 23 no. 2 2019;

'This article aims to reconstruct features of John Forbes’ compositional process in his first decade of serious practice, through analysing drafts and early versions of his poems. I compare early versions of ‘Here’, ‘The Joyful Mysteries’ and ‘Stalin’s Holidays’ to their final incarnations to show how Forbes was resistant to a fixed, or single, idea when writing a poem. In the context of such openness, Forbes’ poems often moved towards a sense of closure, through the pressure his use of form applied and through its more suggestive qualities. Following a comment Forbes made in an interview, I label this process ‘formal association’. I contend that Forbes sought a balance between closure and openness, while arguing that the dynamic interplay of this openness with formal association, during the composition, was crucial to his achievement.' (Publication abstract)
 

1 Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham Aidan Coleman , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , May no. 91 2019;

'Devotees of Australian literature are unlikely to possess more than a half-dozen single volumes by poets born before Federation, and their reading of such poets is generally limited to anthologies. The problem, I’d suggest, is one of availability more than desire. University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP) is one publisher looking to redress this through an intermittent series of titles, which include Lesbia Harford’s Collected Poems (2014) and the Collected Verse of John Shaw Neilson (2012), together with more recent classics, such as Francis Webb’s Collected Poems (2011) and the Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewitt (2010). UWAP’s latest volume is the elegantly produced New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham, edited and introduced by Australian-born, poet-scholar Nathanael O’Reilly, which republishes 100 poems from Wickham’s five collections together with another 150 previously uncollected poems.' (Introduction)

1 Jolt i "Men's heads pull them", Aidan Coleman , 2018 single work poetry
— Appears in: Island , no. 155 2018; (p. 39) Australian Poetry Journal , vol. 10 no. 2 2021; (p. 17-18)
1 The Late Poems of Stephen Lawrence (1958-2012) Aidan Coleman , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Rochford Street Review , 25 October – December 2018;

'I met Stephen for a beer the day before he took his life, and for the next couple of weeks replayed our conversation. He seemed calm and cheery. We talked then, as always, mostly about poetry. As he left, he gave me some new unpublished work, most of which I include here, with the permission of his family.' (Introduction)

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