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2021 - Shortlisted
With its ‘heady mix of am/ nesia, em/ pire and capital’, alongside a series of emotional blows, Jaya Savige’s Change Machine sparkles and swerves in surprising ways. Savige’s poems constantly scan society’s horizons for those pieces of contemporary or historic ephemera worthy of attention and poetic preservation. Ranging from Rimbaud to The Never Ending Story, from Cambridge to the Glass House Mountains this is a rich volume, delivered with a dexterous transnational awareness.
Change Machine is filled with ‘boom carpet manoeuvres’ and sharp imagery. Its syntactical elegance is accompanied by a series of vernacular ecstasies and thrills. Savige’s poetry is intelligent, yet also intensely moving in its heartfelt responses to the world’s most bruising moments. The book’s virtuosic formalism — its revitalisation of rhyme, its anagrammatic brilliance, its fashioning of new poetic structures — marks Change Machine as a technical masterpiece and a significant volume in the history of Australian poetry.