Monday, 10 July 2017

dave drayton: no tory evaded over yonder

P(oe)Ms is the title of Dave Drayton’s extraordinary book published by Rabbit magazine. It consists of onomastic poems centred on each of Australia’s twenty-nine Prime ministers, meaning that each poem uses only the letters of the name of the particular PM.  I’m often left cold by poets who subscribe to Oulipian practises (the use of method to overcome psychology ends up often enough as a psychological testament, i.e. this person likes systems). These poems however have all the joy of Jonathan Williams’ anagrammatic and other works. Tony Abbott’s take on the ‘boat people’ comes out in one line of his poem as ‘A boat, not a bathtoy’. One of his predecessors, John Howard (John Winston Howard), offers ‘How hard is jihad?’ The famously bibulous Bob Hawke offers ‘Smash a beer O Robert’. These quotations are merely lines in poems of various length dealing with each of the incumbents. It is an extraordinary piece of work.

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