Morning, Hyphen Peter Minter Cambridge UK:   Equipage, 2003.

The first time I read Peter Minter's poetry was in his book Empty Texas . His name had come up during a discussion between poets and, being unfamiliar with his work, I went over to the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland to find out who this writer was - just as I did with a number of names that had come arisen in similar conversations. So there I was sitting with my legs draped sideways over a chair being eyed up by the librarians for misdemeanours in their code but inwardly exhilarated by this first contact with the fluid capability of his voice and the clarity of his communication. It being a reference library I wasn't able to borrow the book and so went straight out to a bookshop to order it.

The feeling of exhilaration continued when Empty Texas and his earlier chapbook Rhythm in a dorsal fin arrived and I was able to read his work at length. So you will understand my excitement when I heard (I think in Meanjin a few years ago ) that Peter Minter had a new book of poetry out called Morning, Hyphen . This book published in the UK by Equipage, Jesus College Cambridge in 2003 proved difficult to track down through bookshops in Australia. In the end I had to contact Peter Minter at Sydney University to buy a copy.

For those unfamiliar with Peter's work you will find a couple of poems in issue one of foam:e . The work in Morning, Hyphen continues the fuzzy logic, the ready-or-not intelligence of his poetry that could appear impatient if it were not for the generosity of his language and of his sharing of their subject matter. He has a particular use of italics, line breaks within words, playces that could appear as misprints except you know he is too deliberate and precise. Peter Minter continues fabricating the body from experience, travelling the layers beneath the skin, poeming with syntax and meaning. While the poems in this book lack the urgency of some in Empty Texas , a period of some difficulty, here is a poet some years on, taking to heart the line from Rilke "For staying is nowhere." The poems retain the emotional intensity that makes his work not easy but rewarding. I only wish the book itself were easier to get hold of.

Angela Gardner

Rhythm in a dorsal fin Wollongong: Five Island Press, 1995.
Empty Texas Sydney: Paper Bark Press, 1999.
Morning, Hyphen Cambridge UK: Equipage, 2003.

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