In his powerful fifth collection, John Leonard dissects contemporary life and ideas in intense, but human, lyric poetry. This four-part collection begins with a section of meditative poems of everyday moments, often of great peace (‘the Hope and Trust of the Times’). Following a section of satires on the complacencies and delusions of our world, a section on poetry and other arts reinstates a feeling of the grounded and the valid (‘Sadness is no Longer Sad’). The final section, (‘Change beyond Change’), is a series of reflections on the end-game our society is playing with the global environment, and necessarily ends on a sombre note.
John Leonard (born 1965) is an Australian poet. He was born in the UK, and from 1984 to 1987 studied at Oxford University. In 1991 he moved to Australia. He currently lives in Canberra, Australia and was poetry editor of the journal Overland from 2003–2007.
Works – Poetry: Unlove; 100 Elegies for Modernity; Jesus in Kashmir; Braided Lands
Criticism: The Way of Poetry (2010) considers poetry in the context of Daoism.
See the review in Plumwood Mountain here.
From that review: “A Spell, A Charm comprises a whirlwind of poems concerned with environmental ethics and the importance of time. The initial focus on seasonal moments and piercing bird calls is expertly juxtaposed with warnings about global warming and what Leonard, himself, has identifies as “global ecological overreach”. The poems in this book remind us what it really means to live in the world: “time makes no mistakes”.”