Review Blog

Apr 17 2018

O horsey by Christopher Barnett

cover image

Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055212
(Age: Adult) Once described as 'The greatest Australian poet you've never heard of' (The Conversation, 2013), Chrisopher Barnett is a poet from Adelaide who has lived in France since 1990. His previous work When they came/ for you: elegies/ of resistance which received critical acclaim, was about the violent and political death of Turkish American activist Furkan Dogan.
Angleo Loukakis describes Barnett's latest work O horsey as a "work of raw, brutal power", "a battle for the soul, for survival":
"All the while the sense is of one standing alongside the teller, listening as he proclaims what the edge of life and the threat of the void ahead most utterly feels like".
There are references to the Maralinga bombs, nuclear weapons, war and death, as the words of the poet describe devastation and ruin. He cries in out despair, longing, hope, to the beautiful ebony horse - the cover shows the divinely bred immortal horse of Greek mythology. The words of the poem are powerful and intone with many emotions - well suited to performance poetry, and to repeated readings, to gradually add layers of understanding.
Helen Eddy

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