Strange surroundS’ endeavours to conjure some interesting landscape & observations concerning differing people & their variably strange activities. A collection of poems by Western Australian poet Peter Knight, its voices are mostly those of fictionalised persons and things, with the licence that that brings. The poet considers that they are amply diverse such that they may be of broad interest, relevance and appeal to many readers.
‘Strange surroundS’ bares many varied human landscapes, eg love, or something lusty approximating love, in an anthropomorphic context, in ‘imacello’. ‘in Xanadu’ witnesses the making & breaking of the vision of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic drug-induced poem ‘Kubla Khan’. A surreal vision of post-world war memorialisation unfolds in ‘fixation’. Surrealist visions of bodily detachment are floated in ‘3 dreamings’. Manifestation of psychiatric disorder is to be recalled in ‘memory of my fall’.
Alternate visions, real and transcendental, jostle along ‘the path once followed’ [the intrinsic strangeness of life & death]. So too, in other ways, in ‘Flow’ [the search for a dry continent’s undiscovered inland sea], ‘southern extremities’ [the inexorable movement north of Antarctic depression] & ‘solicitude upon Mars’ [a most extreme exile].
Some other themes include disappeared pre-eminents such as Australia’s only Prime Minister to have drowned while in office (body not recovered) [‘Soundings by Portsea’] & a 19th-century German-Australian explorer (vanished with his expedition party) [‘Leichhardt: Moonlight Soliloquy’]. Trees are linked by death [‘3 degrees of tree’] with a person facing the same imminent outcome [‘linger’]. A refracted process of creative endeavour is tracked in ‘mid-line analysis’.
In all, 31 well-crafted, thoughtful and accessible poems offer a broad sampling of, and approach to, subject matter intended to be of interest to many readers.