The Otherness of Words is a collection of poetry written over a period of forty years. Selected from twelve separate collections as well as more recent poems, they offer an insight into the development of a poet whose voice is strikingly different from that of most other Australian writers. Its central preoccupation is a search for identity and the quest for redemption.
To hear Manfred in conversation with Richard Fidler on Monday 4 February 2013 click here
Through an immigrant’s eyes: Late Night Live with Phillip Adams 5 February 2013 listen here
Manfred Jurgensen’s poetry reflects on a variety of personal journeys holding no promise of arrival, fulfilment or redemption. Yet it retains a stubborn willingness to suffer the brutal confrontations of alienation, guilt and grief, “as if the dark were able to set itself alight”. Despite their intensely subjective, almost confessional style, the poems embrace a remarkably far-ranging scale of human experience and emotion, characterised by extensive witticisms, puns and wordplay, perceptive insights and a passionate intelligence.
“The volume as a whole could be described as an inherent search for identity in the verbal and formal construction of the quest itself.” Editor’s Note
“… the quest is concerned as much with an enduring faith in the possibility of resolving, or at least harmoniously mediating, the tensions between an idealised life and the rigours of everyday reality, as with the need to come to terms with the fragmented, insistent self and its own troubled past, those ‘memories / bleeding in the sheets’ (51).” Alex Skovron, Foreword
“Manfred Jurgensen is something of a phenomenon in contemporary Australian poetry.” Vincent Buckley
About the author
Manfred Jurgensen is a bilingual poet and novelist of Danish-German background who has travelled extensively, but spent most of his adult life in Australia. His literary publications in English comprise six acclaimed novels, the most recent The Last Australia Day, and thirteen collections of poetry, including a fifteen-canto history of Australia, Shadows of Utopia.