Devadatta’s Poems

Judith Beveridge

$24.00

 

Devadatta’s Poems complements the sequence ‘Between the Palace and the Bodhi Tree’, published in Beveridge’s earlier collection Wolf Notes, which followed the travels of Siddhattha Gotama before he became the Buddha, and portrayed the world from his disciplined and ascetic point of view. These new poems are written from the viewpoint of Devadatta, Siddhattha’s jealous and ambitious cousin, who attempted to murder him three times. They are marked by an extraordinary richness of language and detail, and a dedication to sensation, which is in contrast to Siddhattha’s purity, and caused at least in part by Devadatta’s desire for Yasodhara, his cousin’s wife.

Devadatta’s Poems continues Judith Beveridge’s exploration of the origins of Buddhism, focussing on a disruptive element in the developing monastic life. The poems are monologues and reveal Beveridge’s extraordinary ability to fuse a lyric voice of great complexity and sensitivity with a dramatic situation. These poems – imagined to be spoken by the Buddha’s frustrated and malevolent nephew – are full of disgust, jealousy and outrage that misery caused by social conditions should be attributed to a cosmic view. And the poems exploit the caustic possibilities of that voice with a relish to produce a memorable sequence.

Judges' comments, Queensland Literature Awards

 

Print ISBN : 978-1-922146-52-6
pp : 144
Published : April 2014
Category:

About the Author

Judith Beveridge is one of Australia most acclaimed poets, taught in high schools and universities, winner of the NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards, a highly regarded critic, editor and teacher of poetry. She has published six collections of poetry which have won major prizes. She is a recipient of the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal and the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. She was poetry editor for Meanjin from 2005 to 2015, and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattmann, 2016). She teaches in the postgraduate writing program at the University of Sydney.