About the book
'Heide' is an epic poem about history, painters, patrons—the people who made modern art happen in Australia, and those who opposed it. There is a particular focus on the artists gathered around Sunday and John Reed at Heide in Melbourne. The poet's extraordinary technique—his use of historical facts, quotations, numbers, and the visual form of the poem—generates both the book's encyclopaedic reach, and its Anarchist perspective. The effect is one of exuberance and lightness. 'Heide' is emphatic in asserting the centrality of art to human experience.
About the author
π.o. is a legendary figure in the Australian poetry scene, born in Greece and brought up in Fitzroy, the chronicler of Melbourne and its culture and migrations, a highly disciplined Anarchist who has worked as a draughtsman for forty years to support his family and his art. He is the publisher of 'Unusual Work' by Collective Effort Press, a long-time magazine editor, a pioneer of performance poetry in Australia, and the author of many collections, including 'Panash', 'Fitzroy Poems', 'Big Numbers: New and Selected Poems', and two epic works '24 Hours' and 'Fitzroy: The Biography'. 'Heide' completes this monumental trilogy.
π.o.'s 'Heide' is a poetic history of art in Australia seen from the viewpoint of Melbourne and Victoria. It stretches from the time of Cook's voyages to Aboriginal leader William Barak, whose portrait hangs in the Victorian Parliament, up to the bohemian set at Heide. Like a gigantic exhibition of portraits and scenes the book is epic in its ambitions for poetic form and for our understanding of the centrality of art in Australian life and history. In accessible, playful and always vibrant language each portrait or scene depicts individual artists, artists' family, friends and relations, wealthy art patrons, landscapes, cultural events or Modernist controversy. This series of poetic portraits builds up a democratic and powerfully imagined life of art in society, all moving towards the richly detailed and very personal depiction of the artists and patrons at Heide: John and Sunday Reed, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, and Joy Hester.