This Cathedral Grief
This Cathedral Grief responds to the untimely death of Adrian Caesar's sister, Karen, from cancer in 2013. The book explores various dimensions of faith - secular, artistic and spiritual - in an attempt to wrest meaning from the blank of loss. Without supporting any single position or belief, these poems are provisional statements, charting the impossibility of celebrating or memorialising a loved one successfully, much less recovering them through the play of language.
Dark Cupboards New Rooms
Caesar’s is quietly sophisticated poetry the sophisticated will find not nearly clever enough for him to join them in their game of moving impressive-sounding words around on a page until they reach some pleasingly anodyne shape that couldn’t offend anyone. It’s their loss. He risks being sentimental and the triumph of this book lies in the way he avoids it. Try this conclusion to ‘Light Entertainment’ in which popular TV favourites like detective and hospital dramas are set against the real-life loss of a child:
But then, this wasn’t prime-time crime or
the latest enthralling instalment,
just a dead young man fallen
from a wheelchair in a suburban garden.
No excitement then. No market.
This is a collection of poems that are about things other than the words they’re made of. (Paul McLoughlin)
ISBN-1 74076 178 2
The work of a mature and confident writer, High Wire analyses the many stages and kinds of experience presented by contemporary society. Investigating the genesis and nature of poetry, globalisation and consumerism the poetry is informed by a movingly expressed hope in the salvation to be found in loving relationships. This collection repays close reading in its exploration of ‘who and what and how to be’. (Publisher’s blurb)
The June Fireworks
ISBN-18 7682 7114
The June Fireworks reveals a lively interplay of light and dark, play, movement and melody in Caesar’s work. The title poem recreates a brother and sister in England ‘tracing wild patterns of light/with fizzing sparklers’. The vivacious and unproblematic pleasures of childhood are set against a darker vision of anarchy, violence and hypocrisy understood only in the eyes of adulthood and responsibility, and a realisation that we have as yet to for a ‘Republic of Hope’. The poem’s tonal and rhythmic variations reinforce contrasting moods of childish excitement, wry humour and adult anger and disappointment. The image of different displays of fireworks against northern and southern hemisphere skies provokes thought about what we celebrate and why. (Bruce Bennett)
ISBN-1 876827 01 7
Adrian Caesar’s poetry investigates the relationship between memory, place and identity. As a young adult immigrant to Australia he is able, through some of his poems, to return to the family relationships and landscapes of an English childhood. Other poems trace the relationship between the author’s place of birth and that of his adopted country. He has a sharp ear for the patterns of speech, a voice that ranges from quiet lyricism to a terse, more sardonic tone. Caesar reveals an often wicked sense of humour and finely honed sense of irony. (Publisher’s Blurb)
ISBN-0 646 26209 2
The greatest secret in poetry is movement. Adrian Caesar’s verse has the gift of proper timing, of language leading meaning in a well-paced dance. Each of his poems inhabits its own rhythms exactly, whether it concerns itself with domestic and institutional life, old and terrible histories, Nature, or sheer human speculation. Nothing is forced or presumptuous, but concern for the lives of both the trapped and the free prevails. Caesar’s interest is not only in the way we are, but with how we think about the way we are. there is real subject matter in this book and considerable skill in the manner of its decoding. Hunger Games is a reinforcement of common humanity. (Peter Porter)