- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
Preparations for Departure
The poems in this transnational, cosmopolitan collection traverse fourteen countries, from Australia, the poet’s homeland, to the United States, his place of residence, making stops in ancestral homelands Ireland and England, passing through continental Europe and the Middle East. O’Reilly’s poetry continually crosses both visible and invisible borders, excavating landscapes and the local, belonging and unbelonging, cross-cultural exchanges, expatriation, globalisation, exile, identity, youth, loss, relationships, aging, and death. The speakers in the poems are often in motion or making preparations for departure, unwilling and unable to remain static, always eager to explore.
Praise for Preparations for Departure
In these hymns to the everyday, to technology and travel, coffee and conversation, O’Reilly imbues the present with humour and precise sensuality, always turning his gaze inwards and to the past. Urgency, bewilderment, estrangement and subversion are held back in the apparent, often surprising, simplicity of these fine poems.MICHELLE CAHILL
Joseph Brodsky, the Russian Nobel laureate, once remarked that memory and art have in common the ‘ability to select, a taste for detail.’ In the work of Nathanael O’Reilly, memory and art come together to bring us poems that remember what cannot - what must not - be forgotten, in rich and telling detail and with a taste for quiet but incisive irony.PAUL KANE
Nathanael O’Reilly’s poems sound the major themes of Australian poetry: landscape, displacement, yearning, and above all a critique of cultural narrowness. O’Reilly’s plain-spoken diction is often laced with understated wit, but is given ballast by its principled grounding in lived experience.NICHOLAS BIRNS