Michael Farrell has lived in Sydney and Melbourne, spending much of his childhood on a farm. He has worked as an editorial assistant and poetry reader at Meanjin and as editor of Slope. He has written various performance works, including the play 'Up Here' which was performed at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 1991 under his direction. Farrell's literary influences include Joyce, Brecht, Stein, ee cummings, and popular culture. His early rural experiences also colour his poetic work.
Farrell has completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne on experimental poetics in the nineteenth century and, in 2013, was a creative fellow at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
'This book rewrites the history of Australian literature as the rough beginnings of a new literacy. Farrell's investigations of the colonial, material page begins with Bennelong's letter of 1796, and continues through bushranger Ned Kelly's famous Jerilderie letter, Jong's Chinese-Australian phrase-chains, Harpur's proto prose poem, Dorothea Mackellar's coded diaries, Christopher Brennan-does-Mallarmé (and collage), and ends with Mary Fullerton's quotation game "Bromide." Here you will find songs, letters and visual poems by Indigenous farmers and stockmen, the unpunctuated journals of early settler women, drover tree-messages and carved clubs, and a meta-commentary on settlement from Moore River (the place escaped from in The Rabbit-Proof Fence). The book borrows the figure of the assemblage to suggest the active and revisable nature of Australian writing, arguing against the "settling" effects of its prior editors, anthologists and historians. It resists offering a new canon, but offers instead an unsettled space in which to rethink Australian writing.' (Publication summary)
Cocky’s Joy draws on Australian history and popular culture. Farrell was born and raised in rural NSW and as its title suggests, many of the poems in this collection are rooted in the bush, which they present as connected to the rest of the world in magical and often hilarious ways. There are love poems too, and riffs on such figures as the cowboy, the waiter and the assembled family. Farrell’s experimentalism doesn’t prevent him from offering moving tributes, to women and lovers, and to scenes recalled from the past. In fact, it is precisely his eye for metaphor and the unexpected combination, for punning and the letter – in both its verbal and visual aspects – that gives his poetry its humour and energy. [Publisher's blurb]
The Geopoetics of Affect : Bill Neidjie’s Story About FeelingJASAL
22013single work criticism 'My article is a reading of Bill Neidjie's book-length work, Story About Feeling, with particular emphasis on a reading of the work in terms of place and affect. I argue for a new approach to writing about writing about the earth: that is, a new affective paradigm.' (Author's abstract)