I have noticed two fine articles on Randolph Stow's life and work in the last month.
One, at Overland, by Alison Croggon, is a review of The Land's Meaning: New and Selected Poems which places Stow firmly as an important, even singular poet of solitude and silence:
Stow’s poems have a resonant quality of speech forced out of solitude, a sense of intense privacy that has all the fascination of enigma, but they are nevertheless public acts. As Stow says in his novel Tourmaline, ‘I find there is no speech that is not soliloquy. And yet, always, I sense an audience.’
Audiences, of course, are multiple and unexpected. One never knows where the message will wash up, what meanings will ripple out from the motion of the poem, ‘under way’ in all its different voyages. As Kinsella says, ‘his writing itself did its own things, and forever remains the zone of those who read it’. This is true of all writing: but it seems particularly apt of Stow, whose starkly painful lyricism seems to carve out and inhabit a space of pure metaphor that has the capacity to strike deeply into the silences of others.
The second is an essay by Gabrielle Carey from Kill Your Darlings no.12, free to read online. Carey is writing a book on Stow and her essay is partly based on the inaugural Randolph Stow Memorial Lecture, which she gave at the University of Western Australia in 2011.
The lecture bore the title "Getting to Know Randolph Stow: towards a portrait of the artist as a young man", and the essay deals in part with how he struggled to be understood in Australia. I am looking forward to reading her book.