Peter Porter Interview

An interview I missed when I was interstate over the Australia Day long weekend is Darleen Bungey's with poet Peter Porter published in "The Australian" newspaper.

Porter's dreams, he let slip in an earlier conversation, are still apocalyptic and continue every night. By day, he hunts them back down and fashions them into intricate works. "Poetry has to be made, it doesn't lie around waiting for you to pick it up; words are its material," he says. Porter doesn't use these images from what he calls "the alternative world" directly, but tries to capture their strange atmosphere. "The waking life is constantly under control but produces all the material the sleeping life uses," he says. "Things that are only reportage in life come alive in the experience of the dream world. A poet has to have invention, like a novelist, you don't just sit there and pour a bucket of blood over the page."

Porter's invention is broad. He employs all manner of rhyme, meter and form, with a rich variety of stage and cast, from the interior of a quiet English church to a war-waging Greek god; from felines to contemporary fat cats; from a Renaissance painter to a serial killer; from the shores of the Shoalhaven River on the NSW south coast to the mouth of the Deben Estuary in Suffolk, England.

While he often uses colloquialisms, he freely quotes German and Latin and some of the most obscure words in the English language. "Poetry," he says, "is language at its most concentrated form."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 10, 2009 9:41 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #148 - An Ordinary Lunacy by Jessica Anderson was the previous entry in this blog.

Sonya Hartnett Watch #1 is the next entry in this blog.

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