From a poet normally regarded as “fiercely Tasmanian”, this collection is a startling departure from Pete Hay, but no less observant, subtle or incisive than any of his better known work. The centrepiece of Girl Reading Lorca is a celebration of the life and poetry of Federico García Lorca. With a voice as sure as that with which he speaks of the landscapes of Tasmania, Pete sensitively evokes the haunted fields, mountains, and cities of Andalusia in these extraordinary poems.
Girl Reading Lorca also contains an extended cycle of poems, collectively titled ‘Madrid, June 19, 2011’. These were the centrepiece of Indignados!, an exciting musical collaboration with Spanish guitarist Paul Gerard. In these poems, Pete tunes his eye for injustice and absurdity, writing of civil unrest in Madrid, set against Spain’s deep history and culture. He makes us see Europe not as ignorant tourists but as intelligent, questioning observers looking back on the old world from a curious corner of the new one.