Paul Cliff is a Canberra-based poet, playwright and editor. He has worked as Senior Editor in the publications sections of the National Library of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia. This is his fifth book of poetry (in addition to three chapbooks). His last collection, A Constellation of Abnormalities, won the ACT Publishing Award for Poetry in 2018. Among other awards and prizes, he has won the David Campbell Poetry Award, while his experimental play, Deadline: A Manual for Hostage-Taking, won the Canberra Playwright’s Award 2000 and was produced by Canberra Repertory at Canberra’s Theatre 3.
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In this, his fifth full-sized collection, Paul Cliff evokes the city of Canberra and surrounding region, where he has lived for the past 20 years. The poems work via characteristically wideranging moods and voice registers, from lyrical and elegiac to narrative and comic. They also deploy a variety of forms, from sonnets and odes to fables and epigrams, underlain by seductive rhythms and arresting metaphor. The capital’s festivals, institutions and monuments, everyday street life, suburbs, and lakescape are investigated, while the more distant terrains of Weereewa (Lake George), Namadgi, the Monaro, the Snowy Mountains, and the South Coast of New South Wales are also evoked in engaging and often striking terms.