In Ann Vickery’s Devious Intimacy, the intimacy she explores is not only that of lovers, but more specifically the intimacy a poet has with her forebears, devious because indirect. As also in her earlier chapbook The Complete Pocketbook of Swoon, Vickery’s work is charged with allusions to Donne, Marvell, Blake, Frank O’Hara, Ern Malley, Lesbia Harford, John Forbes, Simone de Beauvoir, Whitman, and others, and is dense with amusing puns that engage with, yet also disengage from, this canonical stream. Poems grieve, reprimand, and rejoice, in a highly-stylised almost Elizabethan syntax of noun-adjective inversions, mock-formal address, feverish alliteration, provocatively satirising and challenging the apparent certainties of a prior, often masculine, poetic history.
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