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Put Out More Prayer Flags

In this, his sixth full-sized collection, Paul Cliff explores the themes of Faith, Grace, Hope Fragility, Responsibility, Devotion–Privilege, Relegation, Betrayal & Loss – in multifarious aspects and across an array of personal and historical situations. These range from the title poem’s iconography of prayer-flags flying in the family back garden, to respectful approach to playing the piano, considerations of the fraught plight of zoo animals during the Battle for Berlin, the demise of an old Pilot Station; historical topics such as the latter day disinterring of bodies from the Franklin Expedition, and the musing of an Inquisitor investigating nuns; wry and/or beautiful takes on crocodiles, blue tongue lizards, quolls and whippets, through to reengineered bucolics fancifully reconstructing Burke & Wills. and contemplations on degeneration of the Darling River.

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September 2024 TBC 9780645973297 , , ,
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In this, his sixth full-sized collection, Paul Cliff explores the themes of Faith, Grace, Hope Fragility, Responsibility, Devotion–Privilege, Relegation, Betrayal & Loss – in multifarious aspects and across an array of personal and historical situations. These range from the title poem’s iconography of prayer-flags flying in the family back garden, to respectful approach to playing the piano, considerations of the fraught plight of zoo animals during the Battle for Berlin, the demise of an old Pilot Station; historical topics such as the latter day disinterring of bodies from the Franklin Expedition, and the musing of an Inquisitor investigating nuns; wry and/or beautiful takes on crocodiles, blue tongue lizards, quolls and whippets, through to reengineered bucolics fancifully reconstructing Burke & Wills. and contemplations on degeneration of the Darling River.

 

The variety of diverse poetic forms, tones and voice registers continues in the vein of Cliff’s 2017 prize-winning collection, A Constellation of Abnormalities. As Geoff Page noted in his review of that earlier book:

the late Noel Rowe describes Cliff as ‘Murrayesque in (his) capacity for correspondences’. Certainly, like Les Murray, Cliff has a high degree of individuality (some might say quirkiness), an egalitarian brand of compassion and a considerable wit but his end product is very different to Murray’s … Many of the poems are leisurely autobiographical narratives … [or] similarly-paced dramatic monologues … At times … something akin to flash-fiction … Cliff’s poems are always as long as they need to be … The variety of subjects, strategies and accents in this long-anticipated collection is impossible to summarise neatly. The comedy ranges from unapologetic farce through to oblique and sophisticated wit; the drama from political protest, through unalloyed tenderness to historical irony — Sydney Review of Books