Thursday’s Fictions, Richard James Allen’s 7th book of poetry, published by Five Islands Press, was launched at the 1999 Australian Poetry Festival and was shortlisted for the 2000 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for Poetry, the Kenneth Slessor Prize. (Read at Australian Poetry Library)
"In Thursday’s Fictions Allen is both playful and satirical, defiant and seductive, as he experiments with the possibilities of poetry as performance, utterance and text. The book combines highly contemporary inflexions of language with ancient and classical modes of writing, creating an extended dialogue of self and soul."
The Judges for Poetry, NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Thursday’s Fictions is an adult fairy tale, a fantastical parable of spirituality and excess, dealing with themes of crime and art, death and reincarnation. Thursday’s Fictions is a spiritual thriller which resonates with some recent tendencies in contemporary Australian poetry - a resurgence of the narrative poem, a relationship to performance and continued commitment to the book form whilst experimenting with different literary approaches within its covers. It is a poem for the stage of the mind that finds its physical presence as words choreographed across the pages of a book. Thursday’s Fictions tells the story of the conflict between talent and ambition in a writer who craves immortality and learns to accept death.
“[Thursday’s Fictions’] big moral/metaphysical ‘week’ is a true achievement...what I admire is the stamina, the clarity of soul, the willingness to ask hard questions. This is the kind of poetry Alec Hope was (or should have been) looking for when he lamented the decline of the ‘discursive mode’. It’s utterly different, I’m glad to say, from all those little OZ poems about a sensitive bloke walking out one morning and seeing the light shimmer on farmyard dams.”
“What is most immediately remarkable about the book is its stylistic range: Allen employs a variety of formal models, including stream-of-consciousness soliloquoy, dramatic dialogue, as well as free verse and prose-poetry, with equal assurance and sophistication.”
John Hawke, University of Wollongong
“A poetic, dramatic and novelistic tour de force.”