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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Peter Goldsworthy reviewed by Geoff Page

 

 
The Rise of the machines and Other Love Poems By Peter Goldsworthy
 
Best known for his novels (Maestro, Wish, Three Dog Night, among others), Goldsworthy is also a writer of short fiction (most recently, Gravel) and libretti (Batavia and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll). He has also for many years balanced a morning career as a writer with an afternoon one as a GP. It's vital to remember, too, that since Readings from Ecclesiastes(1982) Goldsworthy has also been a poet – a witty and often affecting one.

The Rise of the Machines and Other Love Poems, a typically mock-laborious and ironic title, contains, according to its author, "all the poems I've completed (if that's ever possible) since my last [collection] was published way back in 2001".

Fourteen years is a long time between drinks and it's good to report that, in nearly all cases, the interval spent with libretti and fiction (and doctoring) has done nothing to blunt Goldsworthy's characteristic cleverness and his countervailing ability to move people – even as those same readers are smiling (or laughing out loud) in recognition of their own foibles and  misadventures.

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