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2020 - Shortlisted
Joanne Burns is one of Australia’s leading poetic innovators. Her energised, animated poems synthesise often humorous, off-centre accounts of domestic and suburban life with an acutely modern sense of poetry, form, and image. In apparently, poem after poem dazzles with its wit—‘the room broods like an eternal hen’. The poet‘s masterly restraint helps build the satire, irony and psychological intensity of the work. Burns is a keen observer of human nature, and her perspicacity is matched by a wonderfully peculiar and uncanny appreciation for the power of poetic language.
In lines such as ‘I am not of the same stock cube as you’, Burns reenergises the sense that poetry can look sideways at reality, producing work that is both lyrically intuitive and liberating. apparently is a reverie that breathes fire into contemporary poetry ‘where [we] stand at the edge of the dream’.