Lisa Gorton is no stranger to the Australian poetry community. Hotel Hyperion, released in 2013 by Giramondo is her second published collection of poetry. Press Release, the first collection was released in 2007, and between then and now she was featured in the Best Australian Poems series between the years 2008 and 2012.
In Hotel Hyperion Gorton conjures a fantastical metaphor for human memory: a hotel filled with rooms, each containing different fragments of the past, some with illuminating light and others engulfed in shadows. Gorton spins a web of shining light, filling our minds with her memory; this is coupled with the wit and imagination of someone with a master-level command of the English language.
Hotel Hyperion explores the darker side of space; her poems are not dissimilar to darker fantasy stories, think A Song of Ice and Fire and a morose Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Her poems are at the same time invigorating and deflating, and as a result your emotions rise and fall with the rhythm. Collections of this quality come rarely so having the opportunity to experience wildly shifting emotion was a blessing.
Gorton reminds the reader how haunting something as banal as a memory of a singular room can be. In reading these darker poems you will feel a reinvigoration as Gorton masterfully shows how powerful the human imagination is. Time, space, memory and light are all conjured in her tightly bound prose.
The final section of the collection is the stand out; The Triumph of Caesar is grandiose grittiness. The descriptions of shattered glass and the boys carrying siege equipment are exquisite. Portions like this—’Where boys on fine-boned horses drag siege equipment/to the walled city and the city is their backdrop/and its backdrop is the sky’—create images so precise they are almost film-like. It is truly out of body, with the texture of the last words in each poem creating a finality that satisfies.
Adam Meyers is a novelist, reviewer and the founding Editor of Literati Magazine, he lives in Melbourne.