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Kate Fagan’s The Long Moment is a gorgeous and brilliant book, a work of complex sensuousness and deep intelligence. Fagan brings to her work the microcosmically precise insights of a geologist or biologist, but the writings are informed also by a strong sense of social history. Each poem, even each page, is a specific site for study, for sentience, and for politics. Observations from everyday life move into sharp focus alongside formal meditations on the act of perception itself. Fagan’s compressed lyricism takes stock of the material world, exploring relations between living bodies and things while allowing each to remain distinct and mobile. Poems are lineated to suit the specific pressures and drifts of Fagan’s thinking, with issues of sonic and technical control remaining central throughout. The book’s ‘Anti-landscape’ sequence gathers several key preoccupations of late twentieth-century Australian poetry and inverts them to offer a new, politically astute mode of geographical address. Overheard fragments from contemporary media sit alongside intimate findings in ‘The waste of tongues,’ creating a narrative that is both calmly persuasive and critically telling. The long moment of this book’s details is beautiful; in The Long Moment the site at which they collect has become astoundingly meaningful.
‘Kate Fagan brings to her work the microcosmically precise insights of a geologist or biologist, but the writings are informed also by a strong sense of social history. As she says, “Written or unwritten, the details collect and return us to context,” and included in that context is the post-colonial situation. The long moment of this book’s details is beautiful; in The Long Moment the site at which they collect has become astoundingly meaningful. I love this book.’ —Lyn Hejinian
‘Kate Fagan writes with an unintrusive precision as she leads her poems toward the illusion that temporality could be suspended. Her imagery implodes gracefully like op-art screen savers set at slower-than-possible speeds. Her poetic artifice, whilst giving an almost-painterly, hallucinatory impression, glimpses the real just enough to enrich both intellect and emotion. In these poems meditative lyricism informs a knowing philosophical scepticism. These are merely a few of the serious pleasures of The Long Moment.’ —Pam Brown
‘Fagan, in typical post-language internationalist style, utilises lyric to produce an effect that is both concrete and casual. But it also convinces: “we step into locations / and change them, or they happen to us.” With Fagan there is no preamble, no setting up of the poet’s stall, no hang-up about ‘voice.’ The simple statement above immediately questions itself but without angst; the tone is cool and open. The compression and control here, the artifice used to give the impression of saying so much with so little, produces a poetry not strictly dependent on the character of its author, a poetry which works with its muse at one remove.’ —Tim Allen
‘The opening and closing sequences are nothing less than brilliant adventures. Silence and nothingness mingle with the world, with otherness, with the bodies of lovers, to produce complex and engaging fugues.’ —David McCooey