Here, There and Elsewhere
Vivian Smith is renowned for the clarity, simplicity and directness of his poems. Transparent in their openness, they point gently to what remains unspoken. The poems in Here, There and Elsewhere draw on memories of life in Hobart and Sydney, travels in Europe and South America, old friends and respected writers, and the poet’s years as a teacher of French and Australian literature. They look back at youth from age, they reflect on paths not taken, and those that were, they consider the influence of death.
There is a strong sense of the poet, presented in a very personal way, ‘searching for the sense of what is real/ the truth of what I am and what I feel’. The collection includes a sequence on the Ern Malley affair, told from the point of view of Ern Malley himself, who wants to be left alone to preserve his integrity; and two autobiographical essays reflecting the poet’s cosmopolitan outlook, one on the exhibition of French paintings shipwrecked off the Tasmanian coast in 1952, the other on the three houses of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
From first to last there is an integral voice, a controlled richness of language and response, varied with great flexibility. Les Murray