Nods to his­tory in top­i­cal verse

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

Best ad­mire) talks to Con­stance Markievicz, one of the mighty, tur­bu­lent women who stalks the poems of Yeats like the des­tiny of Ire­land. “Con­stance Markievicz woke in grand High­land coun­try / in the snow shadow of Ben Ne­vis, newly / tramp­ing be­side Jeremy Cor­byn …’’

In “open coun­try, high hills and waves as wild / or gen­tle as horses” the chat touches on friend­ship. “‘ But com­plex,’ sighed Cor­byn hope­fully, ‘Mount­bat­ten / and his wife were friends with Gandhi.’ Con­stance, / who had wounded a Bri­tish sniper in the fight / for Saint Stephens’ Green, had come quite late / to the con­cept of pas­sive re­sis­tance … ”

Maiden’s ver­sion of po­etry in­clud­ing his­tory has some­thing of the rich, un­sta­ble, be­guile­ment of a po­etry, like Yeats’s, that pur­loins the grandeur of his­tory to pro­vide po­etic nar­ra­tive and dia­lec­tic with a se­ri­ous­ness of drama and al­lu­sion com­pa­ra­ble to its high and mighty for­mal magic.

In The Metronome the calami­tous wrongs of what has been done to har­ried seek­ers of refuge on Nauru (and to the once rich peo­ple of Nauru them­selves) re­call Ge­orge Or­well’s view of the

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