It’s the lot of the poet to sit outside the mainstream of life, yet require themselves to look into it and reflect upon what they see, to write into the gaps and the missing pieces of the mosaic, trying to find the truth and the otherworldly simultaneously.
Nathan Curnow has written and published several collections of poetry, short fiction and plays. His latest collection, The Apocalypse Awards, was launched at The Art Gallery of Ballarat on Sunday.
A series of poems that have sprung from a dark and personal place and also a personal crisis, says the poet, the writing is at once a vision of a world in collapse and in fear of destruction, and a darkly funny commentary upon our current society.
Guest speaker at the launch was Adam Ford, fellow novelist and poet based in Castlemaine.
Mr Ford said that Nathan Curnow was searching for a new way to write about the things he is interested in, a viewpoint that was more impersonal and encompassing of a different series of voices.
“The poems in The Apocalypse Awards are surreal, they are urgent, they are measured, they are compelling… they’re tight. They are really good poems.
“This book is apocalyptic. It’s the perfect title. The book is a barometer for those who feel the pressure of living in a world that isn’t working in the way they want it to. It’s a call to arms, a validating of the feelings of horror and dislocation, asking the question ‘what are you going to do about it?’”
Mr Ford said the depth and the viscerality of the imagery in The Apocalypse Awards brings to mind the work of William Blake and W.B. Yeats as much as it does contemporary Australian poetry.
Mr Curnow said that as he was writing the book he never realised that by the time it was released society would have the perfect expression of ‘absurdity, horror and humour’ as they do now in the rise of people like Donald Trump.
“It’s the perfect articulation of this book. In many ways we can just sit back and watch Donald Trump do his thing.
Mr Curnow read extensively from his new book to a large and appreciative audience at the gallery.
The Apocalypse Awards is published by Australian Scholarly Publishing and is available for $19.95.
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