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Urban Myths: 210 Poems


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About the Author

John Tranter was born in Cooma in 1943. He attended country schools and took his Bachelor of Arts in 1970 after attending university sporadically. He has published eight volumes of poetry and edited the controversial anthology The New Australian Poetry which featured some of the more experimental work of his own generation. During 1987 and 1988 he was in charge of the ABC Radio National arts program Radio Helicon. He lived for some years in Singapore and London and now lives in Sydney.


Known internationally as the founder and editor of Jacket, the first (and best) large-scale Internet poetry journal, Tranter, since the 1970s, has enjoyed another, broader reputation in his native Australia: readers there see him as a leading figure in Australia's slippery, intellectual, urbane, post-'60s, postmodern poetry scene. This (rightly) big third selected is the first to sample his whole career. Here are the racy early-1970s poems whose sharp fragments protest middle-class complacency, Australian traditions and the Vietnam War, when the new alphabet soup of the earth/ is raised into a flag. Here are Tranter's declarations of literary rebellion, showing a gift to stir up fevered passions/ in a fit to envision a disastrous future. Here are his hymns to Sydney, regrets about his rural youth, and later reconciliations with bourgeois householdry and fatherhood: would we be satisfied/ with our childhood, he asks, if it happened again? Here, too, are Tranter's many, repeated, successful experiments with traditional forms: sonnets rhymed and unrhymed, sestinas, Sapphics, pantoums and haiku, among others, including some of Tranter's own inventions. Tranter's cool, cosmopolitan versatility, with its eye on an ambivalent future, has yet to attain the international reputation of his bitter, backward-looking Australian rival, Les Murray; with this big collection, that may change. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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