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BOOKS: FICTION, POETRY AND PERFORMANCE TEXTS   

by Richard James Allen


2013 FIXING THE BROKEN NIGHTINGALE (Writer)  (forthcoming)   ** ORDER NOW **
Publisher: Flying Island Books, Series Editor: Christopher (Kit) Kelen,
published by ASM, Macau, and Cerberus Press, Maxwell)


“The diary of one poet's search for authenticity - or a series of quests - this collection needs to be read as a whole rather than browsed through for single lyrics.  An exceptionally engaging book.”
Vivian Smith

“The phrases that might describe these poems all have a ring of paradox: stylish frailty, eloquent reticence, dance moves arrested, stasis in flux.  The question, says Richard James Allen, is how to link the miracle in each moment to the next.  In trying to find an answer, he tiptoes and skips and scampers to the brink, peeping to see what words are coming next.  The contingency of his language meets love and sex, desolation and death, and the redemptive power of art, as time marks its passing through these wistful performances.”
Michael Hulse

“In Fixing the Broken Nightingale Richard Allen treats the reader to a wealth of clear, sparse, beautifully poised lyrics that play off the idea of poetry as a chronicle of life.  Yet with his strong instinct for humour, strangeness, frailty, sadness and grit, Allen does much more than this. These poems seem to come straight out of reality and deliver it whole. The refreshing, fully alive poems in this collection show how simplicity and wisdom are still one very powerful combination.”
Peter Boyle

"A mist of souls including birds, fish, a grandfather, a wife and a
 mistress,
 a girl in a blue jacket, deep sea monsters, trees, spiders and busy bees and
 oh yes
 plenty of sex, love, birth, dancing and death, yes lots of death, but the
 type that reminds us that even timelessness cannot last forever.  Fixing the 
Broken Nightingale is soul poetry composed of the never-ness of speech from
 the soul, heart, mind, mouth and fingertips of the ever-renewing, prolific 
Richard James Allen."

Sharon Gannon

“Allen is a peripatetic eye… enthusiastic, despairing, loving, frantic. Here is a poet who dares to be vulnerable and awed.”
Les Wicks

"Richard James Allen's new book, Fixing the Broken Nightingale, adds a lot to Australian Poetry."
Thomas W. Shapcott

2006 THE KAMIKAZE MIND (Writer)
Publisher: Brandl & Schlesinger, Blackheath.    
(Click to order)


“A poetic take on what wisdom the universe might spit out after a black hole has gobbled an astronaut.”
Bernard Lane, The Australian

“Funny, ribald, insightful, memorable...ridiculous...the charm of studied absurdity.”
Michael McGirr, The Sydney Morning Herald

"A dazzling reflection of a creative mind bristling with ideas."
Su McInerney, U: UTS News

"The book is imaginative and very surprising...As an examination of identity, it is poetic, saucy, and comic, with gems of wisdom that seem to appear 'out of the blue'....These definitions are moving, beautiful and shocking."
Chrissie Parrott, dancewest magazine

"Probably the most quirky current poetry book is Richard James Allen's The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger), which starts from the premise that an astronaut has entered a black hole and been reduced to radiation particles.  Allen's ingenous text is therefore the 'recovered fragments of his mind...organised alphabetically.'  The result is an accessible and surprising work that has a cumulative effect on the reader."
Andrew Wilkins, Bookseller + Publisher

"Poet, choreographer and filmmaker Richard James Allen's new book, The Kamikaze Mind, is an alphabet of lateral definitions, home-made and re-vamped aphorisms, mini-poems, and micro-narrative fragments that add up to what the writer calls "a dictionary of a floating mind."  Whether encountered on a sustained reading or casually dipped into, the entries are fleeting glimpses of the mind of an astronaut who has "launched himself into a black hole"where everything is in flux, everything relative, where truths crash into their opposites and, if you're lucky, something transcendent flies out of their fusion."
Keith Gallasch, RealTime

"Through an accumulation of broken meanings and definitions, moments of insight, panic, wisdom and longing, Richard Allen's Kamikaze Mind is a fierce and luminous examination of identity in a floating and disintegrated world. Sharp, fun, yet also intensely open and exposed, Allen constructs an astonishing lexicon which enables the reader to re-think and question the notion of a delimiting self. This innovative and resourceful web of interpretations, reminds us that we are all part of a greater field of interlocking processes, but, hold onto your Chambers, readers! - because this wordbook of the mind can also be as freakish, whimsical and as inconceivable as a gaggle of quarks. Yet it's also an edgy read, complex and sometimes sad - and open both to pleasure and surrender. A truly innovative and original book."
Judith Beveridge

"An astonishing and rich work, pithy and witty, tender and often wise, sad and raunchy, imaginative and very surprising...I found myself constantly wishing to note down quotable quotes...eloquent and moving."
Thomas W. Shapcott

“The Kamikaze Mind is a new form of novel, a deranged form of dictionary, a poem for the open minded, the hyper textual and the restless unconventional thinker.  It is genuinely experimental and yet a highly accessible and witty work … a text truly for the 21st century.”                                        
Gleebooks Gleaner

"Silly Season Gift Idea:  This year why not treat your mate or your fam to an intriguing book that I personally recommend - The Kamikaze Mind.  It's not one of those cover-to-cover reads so it's perfect for the magazine or newspaper buff as well as the bookworm.  It's thought provoking and stopping at the same time - the perfect Christmas gift.

It's one of those books you keep coming back to, and when you do, you have a hard time putting it down. Author Richard James Allen tells the broken story of a mind, lost and found."
Rebecca Mar Young, Gum Tree Chinese Medicine Newsletter

“A fascinating Christmas gift which fits snuggly in Xmas stockings, beach bags, and back-to-work bags.  A perfect blend of irony, thoughtfulness and humour to wake up to after the partying stops, to accompany you to the beach, and to carry as a secret weapon to keep a smile on your face and a bit of perspective when it’s time to go back to work.”
Christina Brown, Life Source Yoga and Health Newsletter

Order The Kamikaze Mind


1999 THURSDAY’S FICTIONS (Writer)  
Publisher: Five Islands Press, Wollongong.

                                                                                              (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

“[Thursday’s Fictions’] big moral/metaphysical ‘week’ is a true achievement...what I admire is the stamina, the clarity of soul, the willingness to ask hard questions.  This is the kind of poetry Alec Hope was (or should have been) looking for when he lamented the decline of the ‘discursive mode’.  It’s utterly different, I’m glad to say, from all those little OZ poems about a sensitive bloke walking out one morning and seeing the light shimmer on farmyard dams.”
Chris Wallace-Crabbe, University of Melbourne

“What is most immediately remarkable about the book is its stylistic range: Allen employs a variety of formal models, including stream-of-consciousness soliloquy, dramatic dialogue, as well as free verse and prose-poetry, with equal assurance and sophistication.”
John Hawke, University of Wollongong

“[The Way Out At Last Cycle] could become the greatest symbolist poem in Australian literature.”                David Gilbey, Charles Sturt University

Shortlisted for the 2000 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for Poetry,
the Kenneth Slessor Prize:

"In Thursday’s Fictions Allen is both playful and satirical, defiant and seductive, as he experiments with the possibilities of poetry as performance, utterance and text. The book combines highly contemporary inflexions of language with ancient and classical modes of writing, creating an extended dialogue of self and soul."
The Judges for Poetry, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

 
1999 PERFORMING THE UNNAMEABLE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AUSTRALIAN PERFORMANCE TEXTS (Co-Editor with Karen Pearlman)
Publishers: Currency Press and RealTime, Sydney.  (Click to Order)

“This is a remarkable achievement showing how performance can be a platform for new ways of writing and an area of literary invention and achievement.  Challenging, rewarding, confronting but essential reading.  Make sure you buy and read Performing the Unnameable.”   
                        Bill Simon, Metaphor

“RealTime 28 celebrates a major event in arts publishing: the first collection of Australian performance texts…Performing the Unnameable  pays homage to some 2 decades of significant and innovative engagements between performers and the idea of theatre that have yielded an open-ended form often simply called performance.  These works radically juxtapose a range of media, they evolve collaboratively, incorporate audiences into performances and…test the limits of the word…a rich repository of the ways that performance texts work”
Keith Gallasch, Editorial, RealTime

“A first in Australian publishing history and a priceless resource.”
Edward Scheer, Heat                        


Order
Performing the Unnameable



1996 NEW LIFE ON THE 2ND FLOOR (Co-Writer with Karen Pearlman)
Publisher: Tasdance, Launceston.


"The poems were powerful…Unlike anything I have read before which pertains to dance...powerful...a treasure." 
Lisa Catherine Ehrich, Social Alternatives


1995 THE AIR DOLPHIN BRIGADE (Writer)  
Publishers: Paper Bark Press, Brooklyn, and Shoestring Press, Nottingham,
in association with Tasdance, Launceston.
                                                                            (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

“Confrontational, concretely philosophical, a blend of the spiritual, the physical and hardnosed contemporaneity, [the poems] push against concepts of mortality and eternity, against life and art bogged down in time and the constrictions of ignorance...Allen’s voice demands to be heard through its lucidity, its passion and the concepts which ‘spring fully-stripped/from the head like tigers’.   
                        Lynette Kirby, Australian Book Review

“Allen’s poetry challenges, leaps from one idea to another, plunges from air to earth, air to water in a heady mix of metaphor and image.”   
            Sally Clarke, Brolga


1995 WHAT TO NAME YOUR BABY (includes Blue Cities) (Writer)  
Paper Bark Press, Brooklyn, in association with Tasdance, Launceston.
                                                                              (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

"Allen's poetry leaps from one mountain peak of ideas to another." 
Jeremy Eccles, The Sydney Review

 

1993 HOPE FOR A MAN NAMED JIMMIE & GRAND ILLUSION JOE (Writer)
Publisher: Five Islands Press, Wollongong.
                                                                              (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

“Richard Allen’s poetry does what I am always hoping John Ashbery’s will do but never does: gives you enough clear meaning to hang on to to prevent you becoming scared or bored.  If Ashbery is ‘seamless nonsense’ ...then Allen is seamy sense...a readable mosaic containing beauty, wisdom and humour...an admirable feat.”     
                            Dennis Nicholson, Mattoid

“Some books make me want to weep.  Others make me want to sing.  Hope for a man named Jimmie and Grand Illusion Joe made me want to tap dance on the top of trees....not for anyone suffering from vertigo or poets who cling to rails of traditional verse.”        
                        Kathy Kituai, Muse

“I recommend this book for its intelligence, adventure and sense of play.  It is gratifying to find work that is unafraid to stir the pot.”            
             Mark Reid, FAR


1989 TO THE OCEAN & SCHEHERAZADE (Writer)
Publisher: Hale & Iremonger, Sydney.
                                                                           (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

“A fecund and fluent metafictive bricolage.” 
Southerly

“An urban romantic with the ability to mine ‘the runaway horse of memory’ for images.” 
 Penelope Nelson, The Weekend Australian

“Surreal, allusive, dramatic, full of energy...A damn good poet.”        
Ron Pretty, Scarp


1986 THE WAY OUT AT LAST & OTHER POEMS (Writer)
Publisher: Hale & Iremonger, Sydney.
                                                                              (Read at Australian Poetry Library)

"Witty...urban poetry, immediate and demanding."
Rosemary O'Grady, Adelaide Advertiser

"Richard Allen is at once both contemporary and accessible.   He is darkly honest in his reactions to the conditions of the present world and his feelings about it, yet he remains unwilling to let go of his search to construct meaning from it."
Nancy Jack Todd, Annals of Earth
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