Insouciance may be an undervalued poetic quality. In this latest collection by the Chinese Australian poet, novelist, editor, and translator Ouyang Yu, the attitude of insouciance is also a cultural strategy. It reflects Yu’s own movements as a writer and citizen, that is, situated “in Oz or China / Or both.”
Reading John Mateer’s recent collection of poems, we experience a pleasantly alienating affect of suspension from emotional involvement, political certainties, and location. At the same time, Unbelievers, or ‘The Moor’ is dominated by the condition of its speaker — a discursive, self-reflexive persona, which has been continuous throughout Mateer’s poetic oeuvre.