"A Fluke? [N]ever!": Reading Chris Edwards

Kate Fagan

Abstract


This paper investigates the use of collage, mimicry and hieroglyphics by the innovative Australian poet Chris Edwards in his latest book of poetry, _People of Earth_ (Vagabond Press, 2011). With scissors in hand, Edwards goes hunting for Jacques Derrida’s “non-phonetic functions” and “operative silences of alphabetic writing”, those poetical score-marks that are neither “factual accident nor waste” (Derrida, ‘The Pit and the Pyramid’), but rather, endlessly renewable resources. The collagist is a recycler and composter, and also a compositor – a filmic sculptor who tricks visual fragments into new entities. Edwards is a deft and seamless crafter, often producing grammatically flawless collages whose motion from scene to scene is subtle and kaleidoscopic. An appendix to _People of Earth_ compiles hundreds of texts that are sources for Edwards’ poems. They are a gentle invitation to detective work, but mostly, a museum of tools tended by a fastidious drafter. This paper will explore the radical materialism of Chris Edwards while invoking along the way the ghosts of Christopher Brennan, Charlie Chaplin, Stéphane Mallarmé and Charles Olson.

Keywords


Chris Edwards; contemporary Australian poetry; poetics

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