Funny, clever and keenly observed, Decadence is a profound musing on literature and language, that deftly skewers the would-be gatekeepers of verse. With this second collection, Thuy On has cemented herself as a vibrant, unique and captivating new voice in Australian poetry.
MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE
In Decadence, Thuy On indulges in her love of language, assembling a unique erotics of word and punctuation, showcasing a poetry that is pure—in being about itself—but also powerfully seductive. As the poet herself puts it, this is ‘art laid bare’, performing how language works as language but also as a window onto those dark, human mysteries of being and feeling. Indeed, if On builds such a brilliantly decadent mansion out of poetry, exploiting striking imagery and playful wit, it is ultimately to provide a kind of refuge, ‘lest the cave of night swallows you.’
Thuy On's poems are always wry, epicurean and defiant, and this book underlines her unique place in Australian poetry. Literate yet disarmingly unpretentious, wildly playful yet leavened with complex feeling, Decadence is a surreptitious delight.