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The title, Folk Tunes, arises from my appointment in 2003 as a ‘Poet-in-residence’ at The National Folk Festival in Canberra. I was struck by the immediacy, the lightness, of appeal to a broad audience in much folk music, both in its ‘raw’ performance, and when it is taken up in Classical Music, such as in the work of Vaughan Williams, Holst and others. So I began composing poems that tried to combine immediacy in their sense and musicality in their versification. Some of the contents are love poems or ‘snapshots’ of different kinds of love, some address contemporary politics, or alight upon moments in history, and some are part of an awakened interest in the power and mystery of Christianity. But all, I hope, combine the formal shapeliness of much folksong with a clarity of sense, while not doing disservice to the complexity of the emotion attached to the various subjects I present.
‘Folk Tunes is a great pleasure to read, and a welcome addition to Gould’s already impressive oeuvre.’ —Stephen Edgar
‘On Momentum: Always the craftsman himself, Gould matches his verse technique to the technique he’s describing. This, and the democratic sentiment, make these works to take into schools to show the poem as a thing at home with its achievement, like other well-made products of the workplace.’ —Dr Christopher Pollnitz , The Sydney Morning Herald 1992
‘Gould compels a close reading; he provokes quotation; he encourages thought; he rewards the flexible ear and the remembering eye’ —Vernon Young, Parnassus Poetry In Review 1978
‘Astral Sea is a fine collection…containing poetry not only shot through with the magic of the world, but which, to a degree almost unparalleled in contemporary Australian poetry, brings the breadth and variety of the world and its history to our door.’ —Dr David Brooks, The Canberra Times 1981
‘Most obviously he is a master of technique, one who is at home with every conceivable variation of form from the challenging sestina to the deceptively easy-looking prose-poem. Unlike the work of some technical virtuosos, Gould’s poems never lack content. He deals with large and timeless subjects, and thus is exempt from the whims of fashion, though he also thus avoids its embrace. It is little wonder he has succeeded as a novelist, as the poems often incline toward narrative, while Gould’s fascination with the intricacies of human motivation are everywhere apparent.’ —Jamie Grant, The Adelaide Review – April 1992
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