June 17th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Great Barrier Reef is dying? ... Again?

CANBERRA OBSERVED McCain, Keating wade into South China Sea

EDITORIAL No heads roll despite quarantine foul-ups

EDUCATION FUNDING With Gonski reboot, Turnbull taps in to way to lose Catholic vote

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS Aboriginal recognition in the constitution?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Low job prospects keep a generation at home

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Donald Trump has the world in a spin

EDUCATION FUNDING Gonski numbers shrink in the light of day

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Qantas bans pensioner: an abuse of process

MUSIC Jim Black: accent on rhythm

CINEMA King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: The East End treatment

BOOK REVIEW Apocalypse and redemption

BOOK REVIEW Poems exhibit delicate strength


ELECTRICITY Bad science + bad economics = bad policy

Books promotion page

Poems exhibit delicate strength

News Weekly, June 17, 2017


by Andrew Lansdown


Rhiza Press, Capalaba, Queensland
Hardcover: 144 pages
Price: AUD $25.95

Reviewed by Brian Peachey


Kyoto Sakura Tanka is Andrew Lansdown’s 15th published collection of poetry and his first published collection of photography.

It is an elegant publication, in a beautifully crafted hardcover edition, which makes it an ideal gift. Even more so, because the contents were created by one of the finest poets in Australia.

I have fond memories of his previously published books of poetry. His 1996 book of poems and stories, Abiding Things, has an early touch of Japan with the first poem, The Japanese Gardener. But the five-line lyric tanka poem of Japan, which has since become a fascinating adventure for him, had not then grabbed his attention.

In his beautiful book, The Grasshopper Heart, published in 1991, he moved closer to Japan with Five Haiku. On the blank page before the contents, he arranged five lines from Isaiah 55:12, which in my limited ability to judge seems to come close to a tanka.

In Kyoto Sakura Tanka, Lansdown soars to new heights. Not only is the book a delight to read, but his scholarship adds great value. The book should be in all school libraries.

Cherry blossom viewing  (hanami) has been practised in Japan by emperors, courtiers, samurai, priests and commoners for nearly two millennia and cherry blossoms (sakura) have been invested with many forms of aesthetic, cultural and religious significance. Several of my tanka (also known as waka) allude to this:

Of Petals and Poets

The waka poets
weighted the cherry petals
with sad sentiment …
Nonetheless they sail the air
as if unburdened with care.


The poem Kyoto Autumn Maples, which is a sequence of six tanka, won the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize.

To Their Surprise

The spring cherry trees
wave their pretty handkerchiefs,
beckoning the bees.
And to their surprise, humans
also come to gaze and hum.


To buy any of Andrew’s books

By PayPal: visit andrewlansdown.com/buy-books/
By cheque: post cheque to 12 Camden Street, Dianella, WA, 6059
By direct deposit: BSB 736062; Account number 871671
Or email your details to andrew@andrewlansdown.com

The perfect gift for
the thinker in the family.
The Best of News Weekly: 2014-2016, 320pp, $35

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm