Feldspar, the new collection of poetry from Brendan Ryan, is unflinching in its focus on rural landscapes, the treatment of farm animals and the humble lives of people often missing from poetry. There are odes to invigilators, truck drivers, a family member who took to walking, laments for dogs and the hardened realities of country living. A sense of longing for and loss from the country is a sub-text for poems that reveal how place is never only a geographical location, but more of a state of mind to be revisited again and again and where belonging can also be found in music, driving or looking at the country you inevitably return to.
‘Brendan Ryan startles and soothes, all the while challenging stereotypes of country life. Poems of people we don’t like, practices we abhor and behaviours we thought were gone, sit amongst poems of beauty and love and stoicism. Ryan writes with compassion, yet there is an edge to much of his poetry, telling it as it is, sparing neither himself nor others as he wields verbs, images, and rhythm like poetic weaponry, hitting the mark every time.’
‘Throughout Brendan Ryan’s superb new collection, Feldspar, he deftly employs the craft he has honed for decades. Ryan’s subjects include family relationships, aging parents, dairy farming, memory, music and community. Ryan treats his subjects with admirable honesty, directness and compassion. Employing settings in Victoria’s Western District, Wimmera, Mallee and Surf Coast regions, his beautiful poems evoke striking images and deliver profound insights through precise colloquial language, demonstrating that he is one of Australia’s finest poets.’