One of the younger generation of Australian-born writers, Ryan (who now lives in England) has published two books of poetry and a novel. A note in the recent anthology, New Blood
(p. 434), describes her verse as "a flayed poetry, open to the shocks and pleasures of seeing and daily life, driven by a fascination with the shifting and precarious boundaries between the self and the world." Here, too, daily life, marriage, motherhood, and the physical world furnish subject matter; however, instead of establishing a firm perception of reality, these everyday subjects continuously fool the eye. Describing objects in a painting of a tabletop by the 18th-century super-realist Boilly, Ryan observes: "It's as if the picture / were failing / through lack of someone's / faith / but who is it asking? / Who was that letter meant for / & what were the downturned cards / about to tell? / Our fingers want / to pick them up / but slip on glaze / rebarbative as mirrors." A visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was constructed in a circular shape rather than the traditional one of the cross, evokes thoughts of Escher, another maker of eye- and mind-teasing images. Ryan imagines early Christians on a pilgrimage to the Round Church: "Still they move round, / invisible, the blind / leading the blind / without falling, / their hope encoded, blunt / in Norman stone."
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