Filled with precise observation of the interior and exterior world, as well as lashings of wit, Smith’s wide-ranging, often poignant lyrics take us on tour through history, ideas, people and places. He is the perfect travel companion in a sortie of the century and its cultural outputs—as well as its detritus, cast-offs, conflict and ephemera. This perfectly weighted collection offers us pleasure, wisdom and redress.
‘Vivian Smith’s deceptively delicate poems literally vibrate with an inner strength. His work, a powerful Great South Land of the mind, lovingly immersed in awareness of tradition yet astringently modern, profoundly of the landscape yet far beyond it, may yet reveal him to be what some of us suspect he already is: the great Australian poet after David Campbell. In a world that fluctuates between anxiety and panic, the humility and grace and sense of transcendence in these poems restore us to our centre.’ —Luke Davies
‘Vivian Smith is a true independent in Australian poetry. He is his own school—belonging anywhere the craft and necessity of poetry are respected and desired. Essentially a lyricist, Smith is a poet of colour and light. His poems are also meditations and contemplations of the relationships between people and the world/s around them, and the spirituality of observation. “Things” are highlighted and vitalised by Smith’s eye, and his unerring ear. A formalist with a delicacy of touch—a conversational flexibility, his poems are painted canvases and musical scores. While a celebrator in so many ways, Smith never shrinks from confronting the erosions and horrors of history—for him, though, language is redemptive, and he seeks to rebuild what has been lost and damaged. Piece by piece, his poems accumulate—never making great claims for themselves, but affirming those points where the senses meet ideas and responsibility.’ —John Kinsella