Enlarging Our Experiments with Narrative: John A. Scott’s Triology with Annotations
In the last fifteen years a remarkable number of Australian poets have attempted to write fiction. This phenomenon raises the inevitable question of what they have been able to achieve in the field of prose narrative that novelists have not. It is a complex question and beyond simple answers, but a detailed look at some of the work of one of these poets may serve to sketch out ways in which the question can be approached. The long narrative poems of John A. Scott are a particularly interesting case because of their liminal quality; they inhabit a borderland between the long poem and the novel and Scott remains a poet rather than a novelist manqué. As a consequence we can be confident that this is not the case of a poet submitting to a kind of retraining out of a desire to become a novelist. What we have is someone operating at the place where the possibilities of fiction meet the possibilities of poetry.
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