Using the Rorschach inkblots as metaphors, conjuring the wondrous and the monstrous in his poems, Toby Fitch brings a new vision and shape to Australian poetry. Old modes of expression, such as the mythic, the romantic, the symbolic and the surreal, are all given fresh voice and patterning. The poems in Rawshock mythologise love, anxiety, the self and city living, dovetailing inner and outer worlds with a healthy antipodean dose of absinthe and concrete poetry. Toby Fitch’s Rawshock opens onto hell and onto a Eurydice who seems more knowing than she used to, whose eyes tell of gay abandon as well as the old emptying pain. These poems are a fresh, vivid working-through of the myth: a myth that keeps reminding us there’s nothing new under the sun, except when poets strike indelible lines from newly minted words charged with the currents of daily usage. The tone is dark, not bitter; the language maps the landscape of an electrified underground: there is music here, but no birds sing in the trees. The artwork is as skilful as the fine handling of the lines, making poetry anew. -Robert Adamson Makes me feel as if I’m reeling on my feet, as if I were facing a swooning, malevolent abyss. -Judith Beveridge Apollinaire of Avalon, Lorca of the Inner West. No such comparison, close as it comes, quite does this collection justice. This is simply one of the freshest and most promising new voices we’ve heard in Australia in years, undiluted, intense, Orphic, daring, with surprise in almost every line, word-play reminiscent of Mallarme, and (at last!) an exciting, uninhibited use of the page. Surely one of the poetry books of the year. -David Brooks
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