The Inconsolable Faces of Australian Women Poets, Keith Dunlap

Gillian Sargeant, Refugees Marching, 4′ X 2.5,’ oil on canvas


The Inconsolable Faces of Australian Women Poets


The men are all old men, paper thin,
with octopus faces, the poisonous ink
beaten out of them on the concrete harbor wall
at the edge of the China Sea by fishermen
with arms like wet ropes. The female

poets exhausted by the constant repetition
of the same old tropes. Exhausted
by the expectations assigned to them.
By the diligent calibration. Eight
fingers fiddling with the obsolete knobs,
trying to triangulate the worn-out signal,
to abandon themselves; to drink in enough misery
and the hallowed concentration
of loss, and to frame that loss
in terms familiar to us all.

Keith Dunlap


Review by Andrea Jackson

Without a photo to see what the poet was talking about, I couldn’t grasp what was being said about the woman. But the description of the old men was marvelous and I won’t soon forget it.

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