Michael Farrell has a reputation as the most adventurous and experimental of contemporary Australian poets, since he continually pushes the boundaries of what our poetry can do.
is likely to be his breakthrough collection, the one which wins him a wider audience, and part of the reason for this lies in the use it makes of Australian history and popular culture. Farrell was born and raised in rural NSW and as its title suggests, many of the poems in this collection are rooted in the bush, which they present as a surreal wonderland, connected to the world in magical and often hilarious ways. There are love poems too, and gay riffs on such figures as the cowboy, the waiter and the ‘romantic woman’.
Farrell’s experimentalism doesn’t prevent him from offering really moving tributes, to parents and lovers, and scenes remembered from the past. In fact, it is precisely his eye for metaphor and the strange combination, for punning and word play, that gives his poetry its humour and energy. Catherine/ designed pages for ads where tiny buffalo/ roamed a celery patch, leaving health warnings/ on the stalks. Why not just use ants? objected/ Heathcliff.