Homer Street cover

Shortlist year: 2021

Shortlist category: Poetry

Published by: Giramondo Publishing

A leading figure in Australian poetry, Laurie Duggan has been long celebrated for his vividly sensed observations of everyday life and his minimal and urbane style.

This new collection includes poems written during his last year living in Britain, in Faversham, a market town in east Kent, and those written on a visit to Australia in 2016 and after his return to this country in October 2018. They contribute to two ongoing sequences, 'Allotments', and 'Blue Hills', the second of which alludes to the long-running radio serial of the same name. These sequences, and a third which gives the collection its title 'Homer Street', are made up of the brief haiku-like poems that Duggan has made his own: fleeting impressions, evocations of mood and memory, suburban topographies with their sudden shifts in perspective, glimpses which hint at a larger order of things. As Duggan has noted, 'I'm a minimalist with a lot of content.' The final section, 'Afterimages', engages with a wide range of paintings and painters, from Tintoretto to Tony Tuckson, illuminating the painterly qualities in his own poetry.

About the author

 Laurie Duggan

Laurie Duggan

Laurie Duggan, born in Melbourne and later a resident of Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, moved from Australia to the UK in 2006, and returned to Australia in 2018. His recent books include 'Selected Poems 1971–2017' and 'No Particular Place to Go', and a reissue of his first two books as 'East' and 'Under the Weather'. He is also the author of 'Ghost Nation', a history of modernist tendencies in Australian art.

Judges’ comments

Laurie Duggan is very much a poet in the objectivist and minimalist tradition. He is a consistent adaptor of the raw material of the real. Duggan's poetry is anti-romantic and preoccupied with the mundane. It is a poetry which, to use T.S. Eliot's phrase, lacks tentacular roots, but it shows a very fine ear and an instinctive and masterly sense of form. Ultimately—and to encompass the great movements of the last century—Duggan's poetry comes out of the innovations of William Carlos Williams but he is also a poet capable of very adept adaptations of Martial and he has always been attracted to the revisionist music of Pound at his most imagistic and clean. Duggan also shows an affinity for more recent American poets—Charles Olson and Paul Blackburn among them—but he is essentially a geographer of the imagination which is why his poetry is so preoccupied with topography and is such a testament to his skills as a master craftsman. 'Homer Street'exhibits all this virtuosically and with the greatest variety.