Friday, August 18, 2006

Title: Subterranean Radio Songs

Genre: Poetry

Author: Joel Deane

Year: 2005

ISBN: 1 876819 31 6

  • Shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award
  • Winner IP Picks Best Poetry

'Joel Deane’s Subterranean Radio Songs is relaxed and full of flare.' Kevin Brophy and Robyn Rowland, judges of Anne Elder Award

'His work demonstrates distinct undertones of both worldliness and urbanity. He is also alert to what constitutes a ‘story’, including its colour and drama. For Deane events are related through the first-person singular – an authorial ‘I’, usually presented in a natural and straightforward way. The exception is Deane’s excellent ‘Dogma 95’, which toys with the ‘problem’ of authenticity. In this poem, two lovers on a beach act out roles, as if in separate movies. The ‘problem’ is this: we only have culturally determined strategies for any representation of self, all of them ‘second-degree’, and hence falsifying. I like Deane’s strong grasp of the so-called ‘dilemma’, and his nerve in sending it all up as bad faith and absurd intellectual cowardice, cutting through to the lovers’ genuine feelings. Deane’s book is an autobiography in two parts, with the first section (‘South’) taking us breezily through his childhood, to his first marriage and tragic loss of a child, then a traumatic break-up. ‘South’ concludes with the brilliantly energetic ‘Under Westgate’. In this virtuosic ‘poem in motion’, the hard, jerky, foot-down rhythms and kinaesthetic imagery convey a visceral experience of driving under the site of the famous bridge disaster, while everything spins emotionally out of control.' - John Jenkins, Australian Book Review

'Deane combines his storytelling skills with a natural instinct for the rhythms, rhymes and finely tuned lines of poetry. His work owes a lot to the tradition of the Beats and spoken word generally. The poetry is natural, fluid and accessible but there is emotional complexity, and a beating heart. The poems speak directly to the restless human spirit and hunger for experience. It made me long to grab a backpack and hit the road.' - IP Picks 2005 Judges’ Report

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