Review of ‘wild inaudible’ by Mathew Abbott 1 Comment

Review of ‘wild inaudible’ by Mathew Abbott

Mathew Abbott’s wild inaudible is part of the 2012 New Voices series by Australian Poetry. The book is a slim 39 pages but brims with lucid, tender poetry that is as pleasing to the eye as it is the mind. The title of the collection is from ‘wild’, the eleventh poem in the collection:

we are bone hollow

as flightless as wing

the wild

inaudible wild

makes no demand

The thing that first strikes me about Abbott’s poetry is the way he manages to distil an observation or thought. It is like walking into someone’s mind and collecting their first impressions of nature, sleep and language. His poetry also evokes a sense of inherent calm, reinforced by his wonderful use of enjambment. Indeed, ‘good morning’ reads like a series of lapping waves – reminiscent of the gulfs and hollows of sleep or a waking dream.

This fluidity is mirrored by a tone carried throughout the collection that is tender but, most importantly, not shy of observing things as they truly are (or appear to be). In ‘fishing’ the catch is ‘flipped up’ and its ‘unspooling/seemed elated’. Even in death there is a disguised, unspoken beauty to be found. This is similar to the poem ‘wild’ where the land ‘tears’ and ‘burns’ whilst colours are ‘scraping up’. This is a dichotomy inherent in reality: sometimes the most destructive scenes are, in a way, the most beautiful.

One of Abbott’s defining strengths is the way he personifies the elements. In ‘wetware’ the light ‘shivers’ while the rain falls in ‘articulate slants’. By focusing on nature Abbott gives the reader a breath of fresh air, allowing them to contemplate his ideas with a greater level of emotional connectivity.

I am particularly taken by the descriptions of rain littered throughout the collection. There is something enchanting and otherworldly about water falling from the heavens, as expressed by the line ‘outside the it that rains/is really something else’. In ‘wild’ the rain is ‘oil’ that causes ‘rainbows/on the deck’ and ‘the splitting/of the spectrum’. There is a familiarity here that Abbott taps into and reawakens – think running through the rain as a small child or specks of water collecting in the eyelashes of a lover.

Another defining aspect of Abbott’s work is that his poems read like a game of Tetris – it is up to you to arrange the pieces into a meaningful whole. Indeed, I often found in many poems that individual stanzas could themselves be poems (albeit very small ones). His stanzas consist of mainly two or three lines, barely giving us time to rethink his ideas before he presents us with more. This is much like life itself – our collective existence is made up of countless fleeting moments that somehow configure into an organic, seamless whole.

This is a beautiful collection full of lucid moments and eloquent observations. Abbott doesn’t rely on a cacophony of poetic techniques thrown together – rather, he lets his carefully crafted words do the talking. This simplicity may not, at first, sit well with everyone –but with time I think it will. You can purchase wild inaudible here:

Broede Carmody is nineteen and writes poetry, fiction, journalism and nonsense – though not always at the same time. He is slightly obsessed with chai and Finnish, and happy to be on EdComm. Stalk him here:!/broedecarmody

  • Ainslee

    Great review. Thanks, Broede!

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