Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
216 x 140mm



Biarujia brings together for the first time long-awaited sections from out-of-print titles along with excerpts from his two recent books of poetry and new, uncollected poems in pointcounterpoint: new and selected poems 1983–2008. Widely hailed by poets and critics alike, Biarujia is one of “the most structurally challenging and innovative poets” writing today, according to American poet and critic Ethan Paquin. In “Part One: Early Books”, the reader will find poems from 1983 to 1991, starting with a long paean to love based on Xenophon’s famous shout, Thalassa Thalassa, which Oxford historian and tutor Tim Rood described in his book The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination as “[t]he most sustained use of Xenophon’s shout as a romantic symbol in modern poetry”, and ending with an elegy for a friend who died of AIDS. “Part Two: Later Books” ranges from the highly experimental verse of Calques (2002) to the “voluptuous (of words as much as of sensations; perhaps even moreso) …, from [the] deliciously lyrical to bitterly epigrammatic” (Michael Helsem) poems of Low/Life (2003), which was short-listed for the Book of the Year prize in Australia in its year of publication. “Part Three” contains new and uncollected poems, including the winning poem of the inaugural Robert Duncan Poetry Prize, judged by Robert Kelly. Together, with the previous two Parts, they weave a fabric of points and counterpoints into the rich text(ure)s of Biarujia’s pointcounterpoint.

Praise for Previous Work

‘[Biarujia] has trusted language, in its quirks and gleans and quibbles and quiddities, to make a steady and moving reading ... Along the way he has developed a comparable if ironically sensuous sort of musical recitative that tells of the tragedy any image is.’ —Robert Kelly

‘Javant Biarujia, most thoughtful, provocative and accomplished of poets.’ —Geraldine Mackenzie, Jacket

‘The poems in Low/Life range in tone from voluptuous (of words as much as of sensations; perhaps even moreso) to nostalgic, from deliciously lyrical to bitterly epigrammatic. They wear their learning & their languages lightly, & a sly, whimsical humorousness is never far. Ashbery, St.-John Perse, & Cavafy together might have collaborated on some of these, but who else could have come up with: ‘Remember who calls out the defunct enchantments of the day does so in the total absence of art but with a pure illumination of the infinite’ ...? Surrealist writing has seldom achieved such Idumaean music.’ —Michael Helsem, Boxkite

‘The most sustained use of Xenophon’s shout as a romantic symbol in modern poetry is to be found in an intense and intriguing work Thalassa Thalassa by the Australian poet Javant Biarujia.’ —Tim Rood, The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination

‘Javant Biarujia [is one of] the most structurally challenging and innovative poets in Calyx, [who] deal[s] in organic rather than lyric form, recalling Zukofsky’s proclivity for ‘sight, sound, and intellection’.… Biarujia is as comfortable within the confines of the prose poem or dictionary entry as he is with verse.’ —Ethan Paquin, Calyx: 30 Contemporary Australian Poets

‘No more a poet of the Americas than Bunting or MacDiarmid, Javant Biarujia, an Australian poet, has embarked on the most systematically and literally idiolectical poetry of which I am aware.’ —Charles Bernstein, My Way: Speeches and Poems

‘Wide-ranging in its forms and the emotions they make manifest, Javant Biarujia’s Low/Life moves through discontent to elegy in an attempt to make terms with the harbingers of fate and the marauders of history. A quixotically alluring performance.’ —Charles Bernstein

‘Louis Armand, Javant Biarujia, Geraldine McKenzie – almost seem to ignore [the use of ‘I’ in their poetry].… Among the more stringent pleasures are the deliberately ‘experimental’ texts of an Armand, a Biarujia, a Lilley, or a Minter.’ —Doug Barbour, Jacket

‘[Calques] is a compelling, stimulating, intricately wrought, sometimes hauntingly beautiful and often very funny book, written in styles at once globalised and hermetic, archaic and futuristic.’ —Chris Edwards, Australian Book Review

‘Reading Calques sweeps readers off their feet into uncharted addictions, arousals, raptures. I’m crazy about it, no question, and deeply admire Biarujia’s skill, the effervescence of the text, its depths.’ —Sheila E. Murphy

‘While poets may dream of inventing their own language, Javant Biarujia actually has. … Calques, though sometimes impenetrable, is a work of immense cleverness, mock-bawdiness and fun’ —Gig Ryan, The Age