A Constellation of Abnormalities (Paperback)
Paul Cliff is a poet, playwright and editor whose poetry, stories, critical articles and reviews have been widely published over the past 30 years. Among prizes won (or for which he has been shortlisted) are the Mattara Poetry Prize, the David Campbell and Rosemary Dobson Prizea. Deadline: A Manual for Hostage-Taking won the Canberra Playwright's Award 2000 and was produced at Canberra's Theatre 3. He has worked for multinational publishing houses, universities and magazines, and was Senior Editor at both the National Library of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia.
This, his sixth collection, consolidates and extends the range of his previous work, with diverse themes touching on popular culture, the political versus private worlds, rural and urban locations; artistic, literary and historical figures; the craft of writing and editing; rites of passage (illness, ageing, death); animals and travel. And on the sometimes surprising interconnectino of these. Poems assume an array of forms including dramatic monologues, lyrics, elegies, sonnets, haiku, epigrams, ekphrastic pieces and prose poems - all underpinned by the observant eye, verbal inventiveness, infectious sense of play, swinging rhythms and striking imagery which critics have noted in his earlier collections.
"Here is a poet who values succinctness, the sharp evocative phrase, the precise image ... there is a great deal of wit: and an eye that surveys war, human foibles, relationships, the changing Australian ethos with an ironic detachment." - Ron Pretty, founding editor, Five Islands Press
" Cliff has] a Murrayesque capacity for correspondence ... This is poetry that reminds us how deeply association depends on observation ... other things to enjoy are his] humour ... breathless observation and lyricism." - Noel Rowe, Southerly