Giramondo Publishing, 2021
Sydney Spleen takes Charles Baudelaire’s concept of spleen as melancholy with no apparent cause and combines it with a contemporary sense of irony so as to articulate the causes of our doom and gloom.
“Toby Fitch is one of the most semantically dexterous and incisive poets writing in Australia today. His ludic and cleverly inventive language — often steered by satire with a bite, and lampoon; and sometimes crafted in calligramme form — is such a pleasure to read. Fitch examines twenty-first century anxieties and crises, coupled with a sharp scrutinising of Australian socio/political culture – at times almost carnivalesque. In the final section, ‘Morning Walks in a Time of Plague’, a 25-part prose poem sequence, the poet visits local parks in the season of COVID, including an historic cemetery. Here the tone shifts to a graver note interspersed with moments of childhood magic. It’s an evocative and layered tableau vivant.”
Where Only the Sky had Hung Before
Vagabond Press, 2019
“In Where Only the Sky had Hung Before, Toby Fitch practises a consummate alchemy. His poems — erasures, collages, supercuts, ghostings, inversions and more — transmute the material substances of literature, culture and lived experience, into new forms both playful and precise.”
“Toby Fitch is one of a handful of poets rejuvenating the possibilities of visual poetry in Australia. As poems of Tradition, Fitch’s calligrammes don’t just remember poems and topoi, they remember actual pages. We love our black and white poetry world as cool as a movie, and you’ll find that world here — but you’ll also find the excitements of stepping out of that world into the colours of another reality. The poems show you how.”
ILL LIT POP
Flying Island Books, 2018
ILL LIT POP pirates lines from poetry, TV and pop music and performs them on some island in the digital swamplands. From ‘bad lip readings’ of canonical poems to melodramatic collages of Twin Peaks scripts and skewed mashups of pop lyrics, these pop-anti-pop poems co-opt subjectivity and copyright, twisting the confected vagaries of pop culture into critical and playful new confections.
The Bloomin’ Notions of Other & Beau
Vagabond Press, 2016
The Bloomin’ Notions of Other & Beau is a book of antipodes — inversions — of the prose poems collected in Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations.
“This is the archive as hi-rise, Rimbaud via Ashbery fed through the Shredder of Babel, where the jackhammered lupids of a Concrete aesthetic ruse, saturate, fold and bend in a ‘double sex heartbeat ribcage jangle’. In this uniquely co-dependent autopoiesis, Fitch has produced an anonymous autobiography that is at once prolifically particular and breathtakingly universal.”
When Ned Kelly dictated his ‘Jerilderie Letter’ in 1879, he created a legacy ripe for plunder. Cut, pasted and peppered with redactions in Toby Fitch’s Jerilderies, the tangled syntax and rich vocabulary of Kelly’s letter become ‘the spewy ground’ of a bushy unconscious where phantom characters materialise, morph and dissolve — into riddles of economy and sexuality, class and cant. Brindling against law and order — ‘the man that blowed my brains out’ — Jerilderies hits on the myth of discovering a found ‘native land’.
Puncher & Wattmann, 2012
“Apollinaire of Avalon, Lorca of the Inner West. No such comparison, close as it comes, quite does this collection justice. This is simply one of the freshest and most promising new voices we’ve heard in Australia in years, undiluted, intense, Orphic, daring, with surprise in almost every line, word-play reminiscent of Mallarmé, and (at last!) an exciting, uninhibited use of the page. Surely one of the poetry books of the year.”