The Ash Range
Laurie Duggan was born in Melbourne in 1949 and lives in Brisbane. He is the author of eleven collections of poetry in Australia, as well as a volume of cultural history "Ghost Nation: Imagined Space and Australian Visual Culture 1901-1939" (2001). "The Ash Range," originally published by Picador Australia in Sydney in 1987, won the Victorian Premier's New Writing Award that year, and is a major milestone in the author's career. The book is a long work that mixes prose, poetry, reportage and illustrations - somewhat in the manner of William Carlos Williams' "Paterson" - to narrate a history of the settlers' engagement with Gippsland, an area of south-eastern Victoria State, the narrative runnning through until the latter half of the 20th century, ending roughly when the author himself left the area. Like "Paterson," which concerns itself with small-town New Jersey, "The Ash Range" is not constrained by its locality, but instead finds the universal in its examination of the local. While the work is enormously ambitious in its mix of materials, the whole is welded into a solid structure that facilitates communication of the theme, even to an audience that has never heard of the territory it celebrates. This second edition of "The Ash Range" is published simultaneously with the author's Selected Poems 1971-2003, "Compared to What."
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