- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
Lyre is a sonic, sculptural cornucopia of new and startling forms. Stuart Cooke proposes that all kinds of life—animal, plant and otherwise—have their own modes of expression, each of which can each be translated into a different kind of poetry. Ranging across Australasian oceans, coastlines, rainforests, savannahs and deserts, and similarly wide-ranging in its approach to form and lineation, Lyre asks what happens when poems make contact with non-human worlds; in so doing, it welcomes whole new worlds to poetry.
'Drawing on the deepest resources of antipodean poetics, Lyre hymns the created world in all its prodigious diversity. It is funny, reverent, full of curious facts, and crazily ambitious. A triumph.'
‘Stuart Cooke invites us to a fabulous, exciting, wonderful experiment: what does it take to make oneself capable of feeling the poetry of every form of existence? What does it take to decode the poetry of experimenting, experiencing life? Cooke actually writes toward beings, and not about them or on them, seeking how to convey in our writing the way each organic and inorganic being writes (of) its own existence. Cosmopolitical poetry, or geopoetry: his poetry transforms what is seen into what is heard (melodic pixels: cries, crunching sand, murmurs, calls, crashing waves), what is heard into what is tasted (flavours of oceans, marshes, clouds, bodies, fruits), what is tasted into what is smelled (scents of seabed salt from sweet oxygen), what is smelled into what is felt, and what is felt into movement (dances of enduring life, momentum, convergence and friction, connections, desires and importances, compositions, migrations, territories, respirations, inspirations, aspirations...), movement into writing (geopoetry), writing into drawing (graphopoetry: gulf estuaries, waves, rocks, flickering lights of fireflies, optical epics on the pages), and, finally, drawing into enacted stories, as nourished by knowledge as they are undisciplined.’
‘These vibrational songs of selection listen in to the metabolic essays of life forms, imbricated in human exchange, across a wide swath of the southern hemisphere. Cooke’s Lyre sounds the depths of alien intelligence, in the nearby abyss between disciplines, languages, bodies, and in the drift of new yet barely discerned continents. Shaped poetry was never so planetary, nor as porous to other ways of seeing and knowing – an astonishing act of attention.’