‘Our leading transtasman poet.’
– Dr Nicholas Reid (Canberra)
Satirical Poems: New & Selected
Author: Stephen Oliver
Publication date: July 2016
Gone: Satirical poems: New & Selected brings together a diverse range of metrical constructions including villanelles, sonnets, raunchy ballads and whimsical ballades. There is an invigorating, sardonic edge to Oliver’s poetic, driven by an often oblique and dark humour. The ballad, for instance, is a demotic form, but it takes a particular skill (one Oliver owns to a high degree) to write with the kind of verve that enlivens rhythms both comic and colloquial. Here we have tales of murder, drunkenness and debauchery. We live in the Age of the Anthropocene. Oliver deftly lampoons a world consumed by its own narcissistic concerns.
‘Composed over the course of the last few decades, and displaying an enormous range in voice and form, these poems find focus in the struggle between art and amusement, both with respect to the writer who creates and the audience that consumes. Consequently, while always entertaining, the poems also often possess a subtle power to disturb and provoke, an effect that in the best examples leave you almost feeling guilty for having so much fun while reading them.’ Jefferson Gaskin—Antipodes
Ballad of Miss Goodbar produced as a video poem & voiced by the author can be viewed here:
Stephen Oliver’s poetry titles: Henwise, Hawk Press, 35pp (1975); & interviews, Horizontal Press, 68pp (1978); Autumn Songs, Horizontal Press, 20pp (1978); Letter To James K. Baxter, Horizontal Press, 24pp (1980); Earthbound Mirrors, Horizontal Press, 52pp (1984); Guardians, Not Angels, Hazard Press, 80pp (1993); Islands of Wilderness—A Romance, Penguin Books, Australia, 122pp (1996); Unmanned, HeadworX Publishers, 92pp (1999); Election Year Blues, Pork Barrel Press, 22pp (1999); Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000, HeadworX Publishers, 192pp (2001); Deadly Pollen, Word Riot Press, USA, 32pp (2003); Ballads, Satire & Salt—A Book of Diversions, Illustrated by Matt Ottley, Greywacke Press, Sydney, 88pp (2003); Either Side The Horizon, Titus Books, Auckland, 112pp (2005); Parable Of The Sea Sponge, Kilmog Press, Dunedin, 32pp (2007); Harmonic, Interactive Press, Brisbane, 112pp (2008); Apocrypha, 22pp (2010); Intercolonial, Puriri Press, Auckland, 74pp (2013).
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