David Malouf is one of Australia’s most revered, and popular, authors whose work- including books such as Johnno, An Imaginary Life, Harland’s Half Acre –is an intense and brooding reflection on Australian life, particularly rural life, that resonates on many levels. Malouf, who later this month celebrates his 80th birthday, published his first book Bicycle and Other Poems, in 1970. Not surprisingly there is considerable interest in his new work, Earth Hour. In The Lyric of Eden and Exile appearing in today’s The Weekend Australian, novelist, poet and critic Peter Goldsworthy writes of Malouf as “a mixture of Horace and Ovid – one foot firmly planted in the great sensual Eden of the world he loves, the other already in exile from it.” He continues: “The most powerful poems of loss, like the most powerful songs, are often about sexual love, and these crop up in Malouf’s books at discreet intervals, even if many are bathed in the afterglow of recollection, as if from the lost Eden … In his 80th year he shows no signs of slowing down … There’s plenty of time: 100 is the new 80.”
The Sydney Morning Herald leads its book section with Elegant eloquence an article on Malouf by Peter Craven. “Malouf has always been a poet, and in the post-Auden mode of the occasional poem, sophisticated and often oblique, literary in reference and – sometimes overwhelmingly – in reverberation…. Earth Hour is a beautiful, spacious volume that will repay re-reading not simply because it is – with a characteristic Maloufian lightness of touch – preoccupied, every so often, with last things, but because it shows, as his prose always does, how good an ear he has as a writer,” Craven writes.
Earth Hour is published byUniversity of Queensland Press