June 04

STONE POSTCARD

Dr David Musgrave, Paul Magee and friend

Dr David Musgrave, Paul Magee and Alan Gould

And now for something not completely but sort of different. The launch of Paul Magee’s latest book of poetry Stone Postcard at the Drill Hall last saturday arvo. The book was launched by Paul’s buddy Dr David Musgrave who said that he thought he was coming to launch a stoned postcard and expressed not a little faux disappointment …. Dr David is a poet, novelist, publisher and critic who was formerly the CIO of a Health Insurance Company. He explains his failure in the corporate world as being entirely due to his deep knowledge of Menippean satire. But back to Paul who is Associate Professor of Poetry at Canberra Uni and a much published genius. Paul read several poems at the launch and it was great to here the words from the horse’s mouth as it were – a real treat in fact.

The title poem in Stone Postcard is a passionate drama that thinks through the close kinship of solace and trauma, something neither private nor public, and always waiting. The book as a whole moves with that spacious idea. The focus is intense, as you might expect. The tone, at the same time, is often laconic. There are two Parts. The first, starting with a birth and fractured family, has an intimate scope; the second carries questions of belonging out to wider horizons. Paul Magee’s variety takes in a policeman embracing an exploding man in Iraq, the international committee that met to recalibrate the metre in 1983, a keyhole view, a toddler at the beach, visits to an office of Employment Plus, and to New Jersey. Virgil’s detailed, horrific account of war’s chaos in the siege of Latium unfolds a nine-page climax to the book.

Stone Postcard published by John Leonard Press

photos by Jeanette Brand

David Broker and Karen Klein

David Broker and Karen Klein (work by Kensuke Todo)

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Paul with Michael Campbell and Jess Campbell

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Emilie Owens and Matt Abbott

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Paul and Ilona DiBella

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Michelle Elmitt with Maggie and another of her daughters

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Neil Ridgeway and Mary Walsh

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Greg Gould and Lesley Boland