Peter Boyle’s The Transformation Boat

Sleeve Notes for Peter Boyle’s The Transformation Boat

In this collection Peter Boyle is our subtle and unobtrusive guide on a tour of realities. Landscape, mythology, art, philology, philosophy merge in intriguing combinations. Here Boyle moves through a range of styles. There are poems of mystic realism, which proceed like lucid dreams when we follow him where the road goes after nightfall. In another reality he writes so we look both into, and out of, a 16th century Delft masterpiece. In Education the voice shifts to a succinct and viscerally immediate report of the cruelty of the world. Here, too in Paralysis (1955) words flicker into a 1950¹s Super-8 movie as we too are perfectly carried in the back of a station wagon watching a child’s view of the sky unroll.

In these poems the landscapes are strange but familiar, like being a foreigner in your own country. Maybe this has something to do with the way Boyle uses English. He gets voluptuously to the inside of words, so they have something of an operatic quality, reminding us, that after all, English, and more particularly Boyle¹s English is a Romance language. Throughout all these poems there is a calm voice, which easily conveys complex emotions. There is something nearly synaesthetic in the way listening to sounds convert so quickly and strongly into image and feeling. And of course this business of transformation, the conjuring trick that language is all about, is what Peter Boyle does best. This is a tour to take with your eyes closed and wide open.

Biographical Note

Peter Boyle was born in Melbourne (1951). He studied Arts at the University of Sydney and has an MA in Spanish and Latin American Studies. Boyle has worked as a teacher of English, History and Communications in high schools and in TAFE. His first book of poetry, Coming home from the world, won the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award (1995) as well as the National Book Council ‘Banjo’ Award. A second book, The Blue Cloud of Crying, also won the ‘Banjo’ Award and the South Australia Festival Award for Poetry (1998). His latest collection of poetry, Museum of Space, published in 2004 by University of Queensland Press, was short listed for the Queensland Premier’s Award. He has translated extensively from French and Spanish poets, notably Lorca, Vallejo, Eugenio Montejo and Pierre Reverdy. In 2004 he was short listed for the NSW Premier’s Award for translation. He has two children and lives in Sydney.

Play list: The Transformation Boat

  1. Midwinter Swimming 0:59
  2. Separation 1:47
  3. The Transformation Boat 2:37
  4. Robert Frost at Eighty 1:49
  5. Paralysis 0:51 6
  6. I want to see the world beginning 1:59
  7. Education 1:21
  8. César Vallejo 2:40
  9. Owl Song 1:50
  10. Marriage 1:20
  11. Some Mountains 1:55
  12. To J 1:07
  13. Group Portrait, Delft, Late Sixteenth Century 4:20
  14. The One Palace 1:10
  15. Apologia pro Vita Sua 3:49
  16. Why the minotaur is always sad 0:49
  17. In the small hours 1:18
  18. Where the roads go after nightfall 1:32
  19. Parable of the two boxes 2:30
  20. Apologising to unicorns 1:27
  21. Of Poetry 0:53

Running time: 37′ 09″