Empirical

Lisa Gorton

Empirical
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Empirical

Lisa Gorton

The third poetry collection by Lisa Gorton, one of a small number of Australian writers who have won major literary awards for both poetry and fiction.         

Lisa Gorton began writing Empirical when the Victorian Government  of the time threatened to cut an eight-lane motorway through the heart of Royal  Park in Melbourne. She walked repeatedly in the park, seeking to understand how  the feeling for place originates, and how memory and landscape fold in and out  of each other. The poems exploring this feeling for place are followed by a  sequence which recreates the colonial history of Royal Park through the  gathering of fragments from newspapers, maps and pictures, a different way of  asserting its value, by demonstrating how a landscape can conceal the history  of country beneath its layers of time.

From this close-up study, in its second  part the collection opens out into poems which meditate on ancient  statues, Rimbaud’s imperial panoramas, the making of Coleridge’s poem `Kubla  Khan', the exhibition galleries of Crystal Palace - tracking, through chains of  influence, and a phantasmagoric procession of images, the trade between empire,  commodities and dreams of elsewhere. Empirical  follows  a deluxe promenade of thought, in which landscapes are mirrored and refracted in  the contemporary Baroque style for which Gorton is renowned.             

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