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Kevin Densley / Sacredly Profane

  • Kevin Densley / Sacredly Profane
Sacredly Profane has all the outstanding qualities of Kevin Densley’s previous collections - sparky lyricism, revealing jaunts down the byways of history, an abiding fascination with overlapping high and low cultures - but also a new, and strangely timely, element: deep, resonant pathos. Readers can still find sea-horses delicate as embryos, dreamy girlfriends naked in Arcady and childhood athletes shattered like meringues, but also the erasure of families from a bleak landscape (“There is nothing but shifting sand”) and, in a major sequence on the Great War, Percy Black “of the handlebar moustache, chiselled jaw, dark wavy hair and barrel chest” and gunshot wounds, gas attacks and letters that stop, forever. It is a turn which only deepens and enhances those other elements. Densley’s work makes us stand back and look at our assumptions about life, art and the politics of them both. What really motivates the corrupt local mayor to stand on a podium, flexing a copy of a poetry magazine on launch day at the suburban university? Where else would a child feel the fleeting pull of holy yellow light but St Matthew’s Anglican Church, East Geelong? And who but great-great grandfather William, breeder of prize-winning hens and roosters, could brood from a century-old wedding photograph without donning a tie, and wearing shoes that could do with a polish? Nothing in Sacredly Profane provides the answers, but then nothing should. Instead, let the lines spin out and the words pick up their marvellous, higgledy dance, till they leave you on the far shore more desolate than in earlier days, but also more hopeful gasping and reeling and pop-eyed with gratitude.’ - James Roderick Burns, Other Poetry /, author of The Worksongs of the Worms
'Sacredly Profane reaffirms Densley’s capacity to intermingle touchstones of highbrow and lowbrow culture in cutting fashion.' - Sūdō Journal
'…these poems are heartfelt, emotional accounts of what is important to Densley, and they are a delight to read.' - The Footy Almanac
'Another energetic collection from Kevin Densley where you just know he is grinning as he perfects these gems.' - tamba
'…a fine collection… The poems have a metaphysical edge, and the denouement or punchline allows the reader to see a darker and costlier side to the world, and to gaze more directly at dimensions that otherwise lurk beneath or behind manner and custom.' - Quadrant
'Everything you would expect in a Kevin Densley collection is here, and in spades: classical reflections cheek by jowl with pop culture, slantingly observed; extended travel through the highways, and especially the low ways, of Australian history; mellow, poignant family stories illuminating the charms and oddities of lineage. But beyond his previous collections, Sacredly Profane carries a new and insistent note: pathos, laced with anger.' - Antipodes
978 1 76109 032 5, 68pp




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