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96 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published August 2022
ISBN 9781922725301


Lisa Gorton

SHORTLISTED: NSW Premier’s Literary Awards – Poetry 2023

The new poetry collection by the highly acclaimed Australian poet and novelist, Lisa Gorton.

The poems in Mirabilia test the relationship between art and politics. They are ekphrastic poems complicated by historical narrative; or, they are political poems, inspired by artworks. The title poem is a tribute to the pangolin, the world’s most-trafficked mammal – implicated, some say, in the evolution of coronavirus. Written in Fibonacci syllabics, it is also a reflection on Marianne Moore’s poem ‘The Pangolin’, with its sense of nature’s perpetuity – lost in the years since her poem was written. The final sequence ‘Great World Atlas’ tracks the destructive extent of nuclear testing across the world in the 1960s. It was written for Izabela Pluta’s artist’s book Figures of Slippage and Oscillation. The sequence ‘Tongue’ reflects on da Vinci’s 1478 painting The Benois Madonna, including the circumstances of its creation in the Pazzi conspiracy and the life of Fioretta del Cittadino – perhaps the painting’s model – who gave birth to the child of the murdered man. Her child was taken; she was written out of the record. In other poems too, Gorton reflects on the experience of the female muse, wife, or mother.

These astounding poems unfold like the chambers of a nautilus: spiralling, repeating in dazzling patterns…They bring to poetry a heteroglossia usually confined to fiction in their exhilarating consideration of how art might be made and unmade.NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, judges’ comments

As on earlier occasions, Gorton’s fourth collection, Mirabilia, is well up to her usual standard – and, as usual, cleverly and movingly takes its readers in some unanticipated and strangely rewarding directions.Canberra Times

Mordant political wit, formal and thematic bricolage, a liquid control of the line, and the ability to trace patterns across the strata of history and society – to rove between time and the timeless – have long characterised Gorton’s oeuvre. She showcases the full complement of her gifts in this wondrous and disquieting new collection.Australian Book Review

About the Author

Lisa Gorton

Lisa Gorton’s first poetry collection Press Release won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry; her second, Hotel Hyperion, was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal; and her third, Empirical, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry. Her novel The Life of Houses was the co-winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction.

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WestWords Poets’ Corner with Lisa Gorton


Cleverly and movingly takes its readers in some unanticipated and strangely rewarding directions.

Canberra Times

Related News

Lisa Gorton: a note on Mirabilia

‘These poems are crowded with quotes, events, anecdotes, inventories, and fragments of myth, because I was trying to bring into poetry that heteroglossia (raznorechie, ‘varied-speechedness’) which Mikhail Bakhtin found only in the novel: a clash of different voices, different conceptions of world.’

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