The Best Australian Poetry 2009

EDITOR, Alan Wearne

Publisher: The Best Australian Poetry 2009 celebrates the originality and verve of Australian poetry at this moment. In this collection of 40 poems Alan Wearne brings long experience as a poet and teacher of poetry, and a sharp eye for the surprising. Bookended with an introduction by Wearne and the poet’s commentary on their work, this year’s collection is a sophisticated and accessible sampling of recent achievements in Australian poetry


This year the editors of … annual anthologies of the best Australian poetry [Alan Wearne, 2009 Editor, Black Inc. and Robert Adamson, 2009 Editor UQP] have been less measured in their selections. ‘The poets sing to each other’ says Adamson, ‘and their poems set words dancing in our souls.’ Alan Wearne, for his part, edits with the same wry, demanding, yet hopeful, air familiar to his readers and students. In the more slender volume of the two, Wearne stresses that poetry should also be democratic, allowing free entry to any potential writer or reader, and the possibility of some, well entertainment.

Wearne’s own work portrays the world through character and milieu, so it’s no surprise to find that his selection leans towards what might be called portraiture, both personal and social.’
Peter Kenneally ‘The core of our culture’ The Age 2 January 2010, p.21 Section A2

Some of the most established living poets of the national canon are represented in this volume. So the reader hears from Les Murray, Peter Porter, Rosemary Dobson Peter Steele, and Peter Skrzynecki, among others. They speak with gravitas about the big themes.

There are some lesser known names, and their tone is often lighter….This volume is an interesting map of the variegations in Australian poetry over a 12-month period.’

Rod Moran ‘Off the Shelf: The Best Australian Poetry 2009, Guest Editor, Alan Wearne (University of Queensland Press)’ The West Australian 8 December 2009, p.6.

Each year Australians with an interest in poetry have a difficult time decision to make: do they turn to UQP or to Black Inc. for their overview of the year’s poetry? This [2009] UQP anthology distinguishes itself from the competition with lengthy introductory material, biographies of all of the poets included and contributor’s notes…. Alan Wearne [2009 UQP Guest Editor], best known for his verse novel The Lovemakers, is not only a poet himself, but teaches poetry at the University of Wollongong, so brings a dual perspective of practitioner and explicator to his role as editor. The standard of the poems is impressively high, and readers will be left with the reassuring feeling that to be included amongst the best in Australian poetry this year is far from an empty accolade.’

Blair Mahoney ‘The Best Australian Poetry (ed by Alan Wearne) – 4 stars’ Campus , December, 2009, p.18.


Peter Pierce ‘Selections show versatility of Australia’s poetic voice’ The Canberra Times 5 December, 2009, p.13. Section: Panorama.

Richard King ‘With the feeling for the conniwink: Two fine collections confirm that form and content must work together to arrive at the truth’ Sydney Morning Herald, 9 January 2010, p.34. Section: Spectrum.