Intricate Knots and Vast Cosmologies: The Poetry of Judith Beveridge


A poetry as carefully produced and sensitive to the dense interweavings of reality as that of Judith Beveridge can be difficult to describe since pulling one thread involves disturbing so many others. One could begin by listing what it doesn't do, what lies outside its ambit. It is rarely, for example, a poetry of urban experience (except in seeing the city as the source of un-pattemed clutter) and, perhaps relatedly, rarely a poetry of satire or parody. The early poem, 'Streets of Chippendale' for instance, derives its unusual, humorous tone exactly from embodying an outsider's observation of the discrepancy between the name and the reality ('Streets named Ivy, Vine, Rose and Myrtle—I now lack a single tree'). It is also a poetry of personal reticence, never exposing the self in the way that the poetry of Bruce Beaver, one of Beveridge's mentors, does. Although she includes narratives from childhood the authorial position is often very oblique. The poetry certainly never aggrandises the self by seeing it as significant in various metonymic or metaphoric ways: this is not a poetry of an egotistical sublime. Nor is it a poetry of linguistic experiment or one of confrontation; indeed it positions the reader as an intimate.

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Published 1 May 2000 in Volume 19 No. 3. Subjects: Imagery, Metaphors, Poetic techniques, Use of language, Writer's craft, Judith Beveridge.

Cite as: Duwell, Martin. ‘Intricate Knots and Vast Cosmologies: The Poetry of Judith Beveridge.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, 2000, doi: 10.20314/als.f8b6726dd7.