Our Lovers in Trouble readers shared some reflections on Dorothy Porter and her work. Here are their thoughts:

Craig Sherborne: Love poetry rare in Australia ‘Australian poetry has been dominated of course by rural poetry. Bush poetry. Pastoral and anti-pastoral poetry and nature poetry. Love never really got a look in. When it came to intimacy between people, elegies, death poetry was de rigeur. Dorothy was part of a new movement that tried to put love poetry at the centre of our national poetic cannon where she thought it belonged.’

Alicia Sometimes: Dorothy, the performer ‘Dorothy was a performer and she had a way when she was performing of just looking straight at you and sort of punching you in the biscuit, really hitting you where it hurts. She read from the page, but her eyes would light up, her whole soul would glow and she just had a way of the vernacular, the beautiful, gorgeous language that you could just dip into and for a moment you could become a poet.’

Kristin Henry: Dorothy, little moments of philosophic discomfort ‘One of Dot’s favourite words when she was talking about poetry was lucid. She once described lucidity as “lovingly chosen language where the light shines through”. Dorothy’s poems weren’t games and they weren’t tricks, they were about revealing, rather than bamboozling you. And what I loved about Dorothy’s poems was the way she delivered them with a visceral impact. And it that kind of impact because you understood what she was talking about and you understood the truth of them; the way she didn’t shy away from the contradictions and ambivalences of messy human nature. I liked the way Dorothy liked to enjoy creating nice little moments of philosophical discomfort.’

Richard Gill: On Dorothy’s power ‘We were in the Spiegeltent at a Melbourne festival and Dorothy was reading Allen Ginsberg’s “Please Sir”. And there was a brass band playing prior to this reading which had an eighteen-year-old drummer. The drummer stood up and Dorothy started reading “Please Sir” and as it became more and more graphic, I watched the blood drain from his face until he finally fainted. I picked him up and took him outside. He recovered and he said, “I’ve never heard anything like that”. So I reported to Dorothy and said “Dot, you’ve just made an eighteen-year-old boy faint”.’

David Tredennick: Delight and envy ‘For me, Dorothy’s work provokes relief at their clarity and delight in her fabulous humour. And the incredible depth and breadth of experience in her love poetry just has me thinking, “I’ll have what she’s having!’.”

Andrea Goldsmith: Dorothy, the person, the poet ‘Well I did! I fell in love with the poetry before I fell in love with the poet. And then I had both – for the next 17 years.’

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