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Personal Logistics

Personal Logistics

Author: Chris Palazzolo

Publisher: Fremantle Press

Published: August 2024

Personal Logistics is East Kimberley-based poet Chris Palazzolo’s first poetry collection with Fremantle Press. Palazzolo studied literature, philosophy and communications at Murdoch University, so it should come as no surprise not only that his poems are linguistically and stylistically embedded in tradition and innovation; but that they so forensically explore the philosophical import of the everyday.

In his author note, Palazzolo writes about his personal approach to poetry. He sees the ‘poem as a machine, a tooled assemblage of moving parts that is operated by a reading’ whose function is ‘to give aesthetic and intellectual pleasure and to leave a lingering impression in the mind of the reader.’

Yet his process also admits of magic, mystery and indeterminacy (though the process of waiting for an opening line, the capturing of music, the multiple redrafting and hunt for choice phrases has its own statistical logic) and the setting up of a certain routine, of ‘tending to my own personal logistics.’

Palazzolo’s musings on the everyday zoom in and out of the political, the cultural, the historical, the sensual and more, effortlessly dancing in the intersection between the mundane and the profound – which are really sides of the same coin. Mindfulness comes to mind, in open and focused modes of attention.

So in The Cricket he writes of a cricket as a ‘very simple machine/stripped to three basic components,” the legs attached to “a libido like a battery/with five days of life in it.’ The punch line of sorts? ‘How furious is the universe/in the smaller life that inhabits it.’

As a playful counterpart, there is Walking the Dog: ‘The footpath is a magic piddle-text/she reads with her exquisite nose.’ This in turn resonates with Kununurra Footpaths: ‘Black feet, white feet;/they all resemble camel feet/on these streets.’

The first poem, Tribute, feels like an invocation to the Muse: ‘Light and air surround my pen/which will now ink some phrases/about water’ while Empire of the Inanimate (‘Perhaps the almost touching death,/adjacent to your cup of in-flight coffee’) and Shortcut through Mirima Cemetery (‘Should I think at the dead our transit/means no disrespect;/or should I speak it aloud/just to be sure?’) evoke the classical obligatory visit to the Underworld.

Family, gardening, the Voice referendum, literature and the extraordinary Kimberley landscape also fall with regularity under Palazzolo’s poetic gaze, grist for the mill but with far more respect than that phrase suggests.

At the end of it all is a cheery existentialism that finds poet, pen, paper and process all of a piece. Thus in another version of Tribute we have: ‘My pen will pause at the end of this line,/the fan will complete another turn – /but where will I be/when the pen seeks the line below/and the blade slice the air once more?’ Where indeed.

 

Reviewed by Will Yeoman

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