Update: Shocked and sad to hear of the death of Jordie Albiston on 1 March 2022, wonderful poet and generous member of the literary community.
David McCooey in ABR: ‘Albiston allows each soldier’s individuality to manifest itself. In using their words to produce works of art, she gives them a dignity that few writers (and almost no politicians) offer them. She shows their words to have real worth, both in themselves and as part of the greater project of humanity we call creativity. Most importantly, Albiston transforms these men’s words into art, while resolutely avoiding myth and mystification.
‘One rarely wants to evoke the term ‘masterpiece’. It seems either debased or too reliant on subjectivity. I don’t deny its subjective nature, but I can’t think of a better term to describe this book.
In our war-obsessed culture, one in which the ‘Anzac legend’ is used for increasingly dubious ends, Warlines should be required reading.’
In this centenary year of the end of Word War I, here is a collection of poems redacted from letters written by Victorian soldiers during WWI. These poems were researched and written under a State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowship (2016-17). The collection is a kind of literary mosaic of individual experiences on the way to, from, or at the Front, with correspondents ranging from the Officer, Chaplain and Flying Ace to the humble (and often semi-literate) Private, Gunner and Sapper. Each poem is titled for its particular soldier and is based on one or more missives penned by that individual.
Albiston’s last two collections, Jack & Mollie (& Her) [UQP: 2016] and Euclid’s dog [Gloria SMH: 2017]), have been chosen by Geoff Page (poet and critic) in his Books of the Year list for Australian Book Review.