Author(s): Joanne Burns
The title of Joanne Burns' new collection brush highlights the reader's first experience of a poem, its initial electricity; and the way the poem offers a surface of words that proceeds to reveal their possibilities or intentions. The central sequence 'road' is an animated display of the fashions of being in contemporary life - these poems are cheeky, playful, mercurial, surreal. Then there is the sequence called 'bluff', which excoriates twenty-first century financial culture with bite, hilarity and a sense of the absurd. There is a section devoted to personal memoir, including a five-part poem featuring Bondi beach, and a suite of memory fragments depicting twentieth-century modes of travel. The final group of poems, 'wooing the owl (or the great sleep forward)', explores the night, sleep and dreams, with their strange tones and surprising perspectives. There are 80 poems in the collection, most of them short, stressing the compressed pleasure that only poetry can offer.