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Words uncaged, Tim Upperton

How to Defeat the Philistines David Beach, David Beach, $25.00

Winter Eyes Harry Ricketts, Victoria University Press, $25.00

A Fine Morning at Passchendaele Kevin Ireland, Steele Roberts, $25.00

Poetic forms are a bit like zoos. When I was a child, zoos had much smaller cages, and the lions and tigers and leopards would pace up and down inside them. You could see the animals, but you were also really aware of the bars on the cage. I don’t know if the animals were bored, or seething with anger. They would get to the end of the cage and turn around and pace again, and what I wanted more than anything was to see them break out of their cage. The same is true when I read a sonnet, or a villanelle, or a sestina: I’m most interested in those moments when poems chafe against the forms that constrain them. Zoos are different now, the cages are bigger, less obtrusive, and the animals have room to roam. Poetic forms are different, too. A sonnet, for instance, has 14 lines, except when it’s an American sonnet, when it might have 20, or more, or fewer. It has a volta, or turn, after the octave, except when it has no turn at all, and it follows a Petrarchan or Shakespearean rhyme scheme, with sonorous pentameters, except when it’s in loose, unrhyming couplets, like Baxter’s “Jerusalem Sonnets”.

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Poem — Tim Upperton

The Bare Hook Don’t ask what this is all about. At the end of the row, you start over. The way in is the way out. From Toulouse, France, you wrote what you say to hush each new lover: Don’t

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The centre cannot hold, Tim Upperton

Poet Tim Upperton argues against order as a crucial element in successful poetry. Imagine some chickens in a yard. Each morning their owner appears, banging the side of a tin bucket full of grain, and the chickens crowd around to

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Poem — Tim Upperton

Sonnet   Fuck your simile. Fuck your elegy for. Fuck your homily, your extended metaphor. Fuck your metonymy. Fuck your exquisite language economy. Fuck your metre, your keeping time. Fuck your vers libre. Fuck your rhyme. Fuck your Elizabethan men

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Poem — Tim Upperton

That way only That right. That OK? That’ll do. That’s that then. I’ll leave that to you. That’s not what I said. That’s enough. No, not that. That’s the stuff. That your suitcase, sir? That what you think? Fancy that.

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Poem — Tim Upperton

At the cemetery the gravestones are hilarious  You have two dogs that are hounds from hell. They scuffle and slobber. I don’t do dogs very well. Your lower lip is full, your upper lip is thin. I simply am not

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Poem — Tim Upperton

History   Turn the pages, slowly. Each word afloat  on narrative’s sea, each glyph the principal  character in its own story, each clinging on  for dear life. A is aleph, an ox. Upside down,  its blank, horned face blazes through

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