Poetry: Judith Beveridge | clivejames.com
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Judith Beveridge

Judith Beveridge was born in London in 1956 but has lived in Sydney since she was three. Jurisdiction matters, because Australia is understandably proud to claim, for its own, a poet of such distinction. The larger truth, however, is that her unusually exact registration of nature is inspired not just by Australia but by the world entire. Quite apart from its unfailing dignity of movement and quiet splendour of analytical diction, what I find daunting in her poetry is how it examines in microscopic detail the order of natural event that I usually fail to notice at all. To anyone for whom a spider web is just something that gets tangled in your hair, and all the wild-fowl on the beach are merely different shapes making different noises, here is a lavish reminder that human beings are only one of the creatures in the biosphere, and perhaps not even the most interesting; although they definitely write the best poetry. Judith Beveridge has won so many prizes that I don't propose to list them, but one prize is too rare to be glossed over, or, by other poets, to be easily forgiven: her first book, The Domesticity of Giraffes (1987), was reprinted three times. The ten poems here are taken from that collection and its two successors, Accidental Grace (1996) and Wolf Notes (2003)