Paul Hetherington is the author of numerous scholarly articles and has published and/or edited 27 books, including 13 full-length poetry collections and nine chapbooks. Among these are Moonlight on Oleander: Prose Poems (UWAP, 2018) and Palace of Memory (RWP, 2019). He won the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (poetry) and undertook an Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board Residency at the BR Whiting Studio in Rome in 2015–16. He was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in the 2017 New South Wales Premier’s Awards. He is Professor of Writing in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra, head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI), and one of the founding editors of the international online journal Axon: Creative Explorations. He founded the International Prose Poetry Group in 2014.


The lyric poem’s reconstruction of loss

Many lyric poets register absence and loss in their work, to the extent that the sense of the ineffable conveyed by lyric poems may frequently result from an attempt to conjure an image of what is irrevocably gone. Bruce Fink contends, ‘Absence cannot even be understood as some thing until it is named’ (2004: 139) and, for lyric poets, that act of naming is usually the poem itself—which, in trying and failing to close the gap between reality and language, suggests the inherent poignancy of so much lyric utterance. Many poems that appear to be about presence are really reconstituting a sense of absence, formulating the lost in an unparaphrasable linguistic construction. The meanings of such poems are never fully available or explicable, caught as they are between a new image of what is gone and the unlocatable nature of what that image stands in for.