Totem Poem – Luke Davies

Sleeve Notes for Luke Davies’ Totem Poem

Poems, especially love poems, are meant to be read aloud, and Luke Davies’ celebrated  Totem Poem proves the case.

“Davies is one of our best.  His ‘Totem Poem’ is a tour de force; rhythmically driven, and dense with allusions, music and ideas.’  – Peter Goldsworthy


Play List

  1. In the yellow time of pollen                  4’03”
  2. If every step taken ins step well-lived         6′ 09’
  3. For every blossom there can be no turning back     1’42”
  4. Pelicans plumped on the tide post             3’10”
  5. In the dead of night                     5’ 16”
  6. Abandoned in field near Yass                3‘55”
  7. I dreamed myself clear                 2’37”
  8. In the time of the pollen, this is even in the cities     4’35”
  9. The whoosh of whiskey grass             2’26”

Running Time 33’ 7”

Biographical Note

Luke Davies is an internationally celebrated writer, the author of three novels (most recently God of Speed), four volumes of poetry, plays and screenplays. Davies is currently writing other screenplays, and is the film reviewer for The Monthly, and occasional book critic and essayist for other magazines and newspapers. In 2010 a new volume of poetry, Interferon Psalms will be published by Allen & Unwin, a children’s book, Magpie, by ABC Books.

Davies’ most recent poetry collection, Totem, won the 2005 South Australian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry, the Grace Leven Poetry Prize 2004, the Age’s Poetry Book of the Year Award and the overall Age Book of the Year Award, an unusual feat for a book of poetry. In 2004 Davies was also awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Poetry.

Davies’ other novels are the cult best-seller Candy, Isabelle the Navigator and the just-released God of Speed. Candy was shortlisted for the 1998 NSW Premier’s Awards and has been published in France, Spain, Germany, Israel, Greece, the UK and USA. Davies co-wrote the screenplay adaptation of Candy with director Neil Armfield, which won the 2006 AWGIE Award and the 2006 AFI Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

His volume Absolute Event Horizon was shortlisted for the National Book Council Poetry Prize. Running With Light won the 2000 Judith Wright Poetry Prize at the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. His play Stag was produced for the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf 2 Loud Program in 2006.