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Stephen Smithyman / Halfway and Back

  • Stephen Smithyman / Halfway and Back
Halfway and Back follows Stephen Smithyman’s previous book, Snapshot in the Dark. It covers the years 2013 to 2017 and functions as a kind of informal, poetic diary of encounters and events from his life in those years. The perpetrator of the Gippsland massacres, Angus MacMillan, Uluru as a continuing centre of spiritual life in Australia, the death of Neil Armstrong, the discovery of fossilised dinosaur remains on the Victorian coast and the election of Donald Trump are all considered, among many other topics. The poems range in tone from comic, as in accounts of buying a piano or going to the tip, to tragic, as in the title poem, about the death of a relative. Throughout, the poet meditates on themes such as the implications of land ownership; the importance of family and love; the relationship between childhood and maturity; and learning to live with the ageing process. All this is leavened by Smithyman’s characteristic use of powerful, concise language, sharp wit and striking imagery. The poet remains resilient in the face of life’s struggles and inevitable loss, and the book ends with a triumphant affirmation of love and hope. Halfway and Back is a book to savour and reflect on, especially in our present, difficult times.
978 1 76109 004 2, 80pp




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