On 7th July 2018, Professor Glen Phillips together with Wild Weeds Press released a collection of poems spanning 50 years, In the Hollow of the Land 1968-2018.
One of the ‘Southern Cross’ poets, having been born in the region in 1936, Glen has since had his poetry, essays and prose published in several languages. Glen is Director of the International Centre for Landscape and Language at Edith Cowan University, and his lifelong interest in landscape features heavily in these two volumes.
The collection takes the reader on a lyrical journey from regional Western Australia to a residency in Tuscany and finishes in mainland China. The poems are interspersed with nostalgic sketches that commemorate the beauty of each landscape. Sonnets abound amongst free verse and ‘shape’ poems but also lesser-known villanelles, sestinas, aubades, ballads, elegies and englynion are found, contrasting with Asian-derived forms such as the tanka, senyru, haiku and cinquain.
Launched by Professor John Kinsella and WA poet Tracy Ryan, Professor Kinsella described it as: ‘A fascinating collation of creative work … parts of the poetry manuscript are masterpieces.’
In the book’s Preface, acclaimed Melbourne poet Dominique Hecq writes: ‘Glen Phillips stands out as a singular figure among Australian poets. He does not belong to any school or movement; he is not seemingly influenced by any precursor. Yet, on closer inspection, one detects a poetic affinity with T.S. Eliot, Randolph Stow and Francis Webb.’
In the afterword, Peter Jeffery OAM says: ‘As he responds as a poet to his everyday life that constantly throws up the predictable, the unusual and even the bizarre, Glen’s companions are his pen and his pencil. With them he creates both poems and sketches continuously. Sometimes these are respectively redrafted into polished poems or watercolours as part of a never-ending creativity.’