MTC Cronin
(Australia, 1963)   
MTC Cronin

MTC Cronin has published six books and three booklets of poetry, the most recent being beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (Salt Publishing, UK, 2003). Her Talking to Neruda’s Question published in 2001 by Vagabond Press, is being translated into Spanish by the poet, Juan Garrido Salgado, and a collection of her work is being translated into Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian by Tatjana Lukic. She is currently working on her doctorate, The Law of Love Letters ~ Prose, Poems, Law & Desire, at UTS. Her next book, <1 – 100>, will be published in September 2004 (Shearsman Press, UK) and another collection is due out in the United States in 2005.

Margie Cronin is perhaps the most prolific and consistent of the generation of Australian poets to emerge during the 1990s. Her work is marked by an earthy relationship to the body poetic and politic. Poised, intelligent and sensual, there is an overall fecundity to her use of image to dislodge and derail statement into new unseen but intensely imagined territory, allowing well-balanced statement to gestate and gesture toward the surreal and absurdly true in a way that seems more attuned to European influences, such as the Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun or, at Cronin’s more contained, Polish Nobel prize winner Wislawa Szymborska, than Australian influences. At the same time, her constant attention to the political through the poetic and her visceral relationship to both world and word, brings to mind the great Pablo Neruda. It is perhaps no surprise to find amongst her prodigious output of work one collection that responds directly to Neruda, ‘talking to’ rather than presuming to answer Neruda’s last work, The Book of Questions. It is a tribute to Cronin’s skills as a poet that, rather than end as simply derivative or arrogant, she is able to create new and distinctive poetry from such direct engagements with poetry’s greats.

Cronin’s work is marked by humour and compassion for the darker histories spun by the twentieth century. In ‘Death of a Million’, Cronin unwinds a catalogue of death and amnesia from the death of an unnamed “young princess” across the back of Stalin’s famous comment, “A single death is a tragedy/ a million deaths is a statistic.” Equally crueling the humour and the reader’s understanding of the moral worth of modern day (tabloid) fairy tales and their bad, conspiracy theory endings, ‘Death of a Million’ shows Cronin at her hot-blooded best, weighing irony down with the weight and effervescence of the contemporary.

Cronin’s work is something of a delta. The scope of her reading into modern poetry is impressive and apprehensible in each of her collections. More often than not, her poetry takes part in a heated and enlightening discussion with a swathe of poets and poetries from Celan to Rumi, from Rilke to Whitman, from Akhmatova to Lorca, among numerous and numinous others. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this conversation is that at her best Cronin is not lost among nor overpowered by her interlocutors but enters the international community she gathers together with a fierce and unique voice.

© Michael Brennan

New poems!
Seven Mysterious Songs I
Seven Mysterious Songs II
Seven Mysterious Songs III
Seven Mysterious Songs IV
Seven Mysterious Songs V
Seven Mysterious Songs VI
Seven Mysterious Songs VII
The Specifics of Love

God's silence
Blue flower second version
Lindsay the persimmon


Zoetrope – We See Us Moving (1997)
The world beyond the fig (1997)
Everything Holy (1998)
Mischief-Birds (1999)
Bestseller (2001)
Talking to Neruda’s Questions (2001)
My Lover’s Back (2001)
beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (2003)
<1 – 100> (2004)


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