‘untranscended / life itself’: The Poetry of Pam Brown


There are many ways to peel an onion: sharp knife and tears; under water like your mother taught you; surreptitiously, creeping in, layer by layer; or with sunglasses on. And cunning poet Pam Brown knows them all. There they are, those devastatingly onion-like little poems, with furled skins and layers, offering up biting streetscapes and cafes, half-remembered far-away places, distant friends, 'rock & roll', and lost, ordinary cities; that deceptive, seemingly autobiographical voice cruising between wit, boredom, disillusion, nostalgia, paranoia, irony. Always irony. Always the slippery poetics of knowledges warping, even as the poet obsessively scans the texts for narrative: a seeking of 'untranscended / life itself ('Patti Smith Was Right'; Cordite 9).

The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers

Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.

Published 1 October 2005 in Volume 22 No. 2. Subjects: Australian poetry.

Cite as: McCredden, Lyn. ‘‘untranscended / life itself’: The Poetry of Pam Brown.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, 2005, doi: 10.20314/als.b3c27546cc.