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96 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published October 2022
ISBN 9781922725318


Michael Farrell

The new poetry collection by Michael Farrell, winner of the Judith Wright Calanthe Award.

The Judith Wright Calanthe Award is Australia’s most prestigious poetry prize. Its award to Michael Farrell marks him out as one of our most important poets. There is no one like him for his souped-up surrealism, the range of his images, his wit and playfulness, his satirical takes on contemporary life.

The title of his new collection Googlecholia alludes to the range of emotional affects and feelings that the Internet induces: pleasure, satisfaction, joy, melancholy, anxiety, schadenfreude, boredom, nausea. As a many-armed search engine, Google represents both the boundless realms of the Internet, and the reductive image of knowledge that we hold in our heads. Google presides (alongside Wikipedia) for Farrell, because of the ease of research it enables for poems: whether for a quote, an etymology, or a fact. Here its elements populate and drive the poetic imagination, creating realities in which anything might be related to something else, and the strange, the unsettling and the fantastic are the natural order of things.

The poems in Googlecholia include ‘French Open’, a portrait of John McEnroe in the midst of a Baudelairean-inflected match; Philip Emu, a rewrite of John Skelton’s Tudor-era ‘Philip Sparrow’; the ABBA-driven prose poem ‘Grammatical Theme and “Dancing Queen”’; ‘“Fire” At The Pointer Sisters Factory’, a David Ireland-style nickname extravaganza (and a Best of Australian Poems 2021 choice); ‘“Cars” Is Feeling Grateful’, a status update via Gary Numan’s 1979 hit of the same name; and ‘Arthur Boyd Has Pink Teeth’, inspired by an early painting of his.

LONGLISTED: ALS Gold Medal 2023
SHORTLISTED: Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection 2023

Michael Farrell’s generous, versatile imagination transforms Internet Tech’s info-melancholy into a fantastic jumble of references from local and global pop culture, high and low literature. Its playful affects collapse received ideas, flipping cliché into drollery. Alongside the pleasures of glossolalia, and the artistry of poetic technique, Googlecholia offers a cool thoughtfulness.
Judges’ comments, Judith Wright Calanthe Award

Farrell’s poems are about crashing into yourself and your own tastes again and again…they cut close in on uncomfortable, tender feelings before skipping artfully away.
Isabella Gullifer-Lauriecitation


About the Author

Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell’s previous collections published by Giramondo include a raiders guide (2008); open sesame (2011), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry; Cocky’s Joy (2015), shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry; and I Love Poetry, which won the 2018 Queensland Literary Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. His latest collection is Googlecholia (2022).

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LONGLISTED: ALS Gold Medal 2023 SHORTLISTED: Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection 2023

Related News

Michael Farrell: a note on Googlecholia

‘While experimentalism, as a framework, can defuse the impact of specific experiments, for myself, in this case, it keeps the writing alive to poetry’s possibilities: not just in terms of form (in its various aspects), but in terms of what can be said, and the range of voice deployed: the positions and positioning of voice.’

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