Shortlist year: 2015

Shortlist category: Poetry

Published by: University of Queensland Press

In this full volume of poetry, David Malouf once again shows us why he is one of Australia's most respected writers. David Malouf's new collection comes to rest at the perfect, still moment of 'silence, following talk' after its exploration of memory, imagination and mortality.

With elegance and wit, these poems move from profound depths to whimsy and playfulness. As Malouf interweaves light and dark, levity and gravity, he offers a vision of life on 'this patch of earth and its green things', charting the resilience of beauty amidst stubborn human grace.

About the author

David Malouf

David Malouf AO is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including RansomThe Great World(winner of the Commonwealth Writers' prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon(winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary LifeConversations at Curlow CreekDream StuffEvery Move You Make and his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street.

His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award. In 2000 he was the sixteenth Neustadt Laureate. Earth Hour is his most recent poetry collection, released for his 80th birthday.

Judges’ comments

The award-winning novelist, essayist, librettist, and short story writer David Malouf began his literary career as a poet, and now, in Earth Hour, he has returned to his beginnings.

In his early books, Bicycle and Neighbours in a Thicket the most striking poems were reminiscences of the author's suburban childhood in Brisbane, while the most striking feature of the writing was its syntax, the long sentences spilling over lines and stanzas while calling up, often in lovingly elaborated lists, the particular sights and sounds and scents of a remembered yet lost age. In his new book he returns to that style of writing, though the memories now lie at a greater distance than before, and he has reached 'the Age of the Seven Pills daily'.

All the same, the poems in this book are as fresh and sharply observed as those that first earned Malouf a reputation, as long as forty years ago; they are intimate, natural, and never self-admiring. Earth Hour is a book that is deeply involved with the human spirit and deeply humane; it is a precious rebuttal to the horrors of our time.