Rico Craig's Bone Ink is an electrifying collection. From the lost legacy of a Malay childhood to star-crossed lovers in Sydney's Bella Vista Drive, Craig's characters court danger with grand desperation and an urgent desire to escape. Born of trauma and passion these poems strive to outrun their own destinies, deliquescing into painful and exquisite explorations of memory and nostalgia. Like shoes left dangling on powerlines or ghostly hand-prints cast into concrete, Bone Ink stamps its distinctive mark on the landscape of Australian poetry.
These vivid poems meld wild energy with meticulous crafting. They trace the tactile, the remembered and the sensuous, tracking young lives as they unfold under a 'deadpan sky'. With their exquisite music, fresh and startling images, they are variously evocative, mournful and vibrant. They witness the gritty, the violent and the intense with unflinching focus, probing atonement and resolution as their histories rise and subside. This is an exceptionally assured and original debut.
Urban, decadent, dystopian, in Rico Craig's Western Suburbs there are many countries, caliphates, Terracotta warriors and Arctic shelves. With 'the taste of a derelict future' his working class songs and spells have a political consciousness that is unafraid to be mythopoetic. Bone Ink is a fine debut from a poet to watch whose work has already crossed national borders.
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