Doves is Lachlan Mackinnon’s most candid and affecting volume of poems to date, and follows on from Small Hours, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Poetry in 2010. Formally dexterous and inventive, these inclusive, approachable poems welcome all-comers in their broad-minded address: refugees, reality television, detective shows, number-theory, Shakespeare’s brothers, ecology, a marriage.
Wherever it turns, the poetry remains courageously sociable and moral, ever concerned with honouring lives and good deeds, and asking what can be saved from the ruins of what is lost by individuals, cultures and civilisations. But for all its outward gaze, its cares speak privately too – of crises in personal action and belief, of friends and intimacies disturbed and renewed – and, underpinning it all, an urging to account for our behaviour and ‘to start to answer / to ourselves for what we have made of life.’
Doves is an uplifting account of recovery that makes no stranger of despair. But with each moment of despondency comes a tough-minded – even humorous – response that tempers grief, and bolsters our equipment for living, and in so doing extends a timeless ring around the heart of this thoughtful, inspiriting and memorable book.