Over 40 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing
[Twitter] [rss feed] [Facebook]
Circus-Apprentice

Circus-Apprentice

by Katherine Gallagher

In her new collection, Katherine Gallagher draws on a rich inheritance from her different worlds: Australia, Britain - particularly London - and France. Her subject matter ranges widely: travel, exile, returning, change, nature, war, family, illness, love, loss, death and childhood experiences, always rooted in a passionate sense of discovery and attention to place. She juxtaposes a mix of colloquial and more formal verse-styles to evoke immediacy and feeling with impressive clarity and freshness of voice. Lyrical and politically-tuned, her poems range between moments of deep feeling and satire, laced with an often wry humour veering towards the surreal.

Many of the poems take the traveller as theme - 'traveller' in the widest sense, linking Gallagher's personal experience to the universal and showing the juxtapositions and layers to be discovered behind the seemingly familiar as well as the unknown.

She has a great fascination with the natural world, its vibrancy and colour - expressed in moments of wonder and unease, as in her poems on environmental themes and in the eclectic sequence, 'After Kandinsky' with which the collection concludes.

Her reflections on people draw in the multifariousness of everyday experience with wit, irony and elegance. Circus-Apprentice is an engaging, distinctive collection notable for its variety and seriousness, its adventurousness with word and image, and its sometimes understated, but sharply telling, content. Gallagher's poems combine candour and tenderness, humour and dark moments to tremendous effect.

Circus-Apprentice is Katherine Gallagher's fourth full-length collection of poetry.

Katherine Gallagher... has an impressive clarity and freshness of voice. Her poems... are well-honed, musical, and the light touch in her lines betrays multi-layered depths...

Patricia McCarthy, Agenda

...a generous and accomplished collection with a wide range of sympathies and concerns. ... poetry informed by courage and grace.

Diane Fahey, The Australian Book Review

Her poetry has the nostalgia that accompanies all those who leave their homeland for another chosen one, but, wherever she is, Gallagher becomes the close observer of both the personal and the natural world. She is indeed a nomad of the planet and of the word. Her poetry is unique in its apparent simplicity, in its disarmingly unassuming voice, its ability to evoke both the painful and the joyful, in its courage and tenderness. Every individual has a country of the mind through which they wander at various stages of their lives; for Gallagher her country of the mind, her true and perhaps only 'home' is poetry.

[Read the rest of this review at Cercles.]

Susan Ballyn, University of Barcelona, Cercles (online journal)

Paperback
104 pages
ISBN 978-1904614-02-9
Published October 2006