Review of Read It Again, by Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Read It Again is the fourth collection in Chris Wallace-Crabbe's critical career, a career that has run alongside, or perhaps beneath, a rich and productive poetic career. Since Australian literary critical discourse is so tissue-thin, it is a contribution to be profoundly thankful for. Each of his collections of essays and extended reviews is built in more or less the same way: there is a central core of concerns that the other pieces relate to either closely or tangentially. These concerns have changed as the career has progressed and reflect interestingly on the changing fashions of scholarship and literary criticism since the 1960s. This is not to suggest, though, that Wallace-Crabbe is in some way an innocent or calculating reflector of the Zeitgeist, for beneath the concerns I have been describing is a fundamental interest in the nature of poetry—his own art. Over his career, we have the sense of a man asking pretty much the same basic question but asking it in academic and critical contexts which have changed rapidly.
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