25 September 2023

These Things Are Real

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Alan Wearne, Giramondo Publishing, $24.00.

Described as Australia’s finest verse satirist, Alan Wearne specialises in monologues and verse narratives.

Wearne’s extravaganzas and remnants tug at the heartstring on the realities of life.

A young widow in post-war Melbourne fends off the approaches of her best friend’s husband; a retired democrat recalls her lovelorn Maoist youth; a heroin addict is haunted by his dealer’s murder of a youth; a single mother falls into an abusive relationship with a drifting musician;

‘The Sarsaparilla Writer’s Centre’, is also included: a collection of satires on music, football, religion, politics and poets.

It’s been rightly said:

“Wearne’s epics and fragments are like the traces of a ruined culture, in which everybody got to star in their own domestic drama or screwball romance. Until you realise that it’s happening, here and now: you are being waltzed around the living room of middle-class folklore.”

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