Simon West’s collection of poems The Ladder (2015), with its multilayered places, mirrors West’s travel to Italy from Australia, his journeying into the Italian past and at the same time his ties with his own country. The focus of the essay is the historical dimension of space in West’s poems. The images of Italian and Australian places, both landscapes and cityscapes, evoke forms through which Italian and Australian nature and culture declare their presence through multiple layers of time. The poems deal with the relationship between past and space, the movement between past and present, and between the physical and the metaphysical. In the evocations of such crossings Australia and Italy meet in an in-between space that the reader is invited to share.
Australian poetry; historical dimension of space; in betweenness; Italy and Australia