Mark Mahemoff

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Mark Mahemoff (born 13 January 1965) is an Australian poet, critic and psychotherapist. He has published four books of poetry and his work is represented internationally in journals like Prism International [1] in Canada, Kavya Bahrati [2] in India, Kunapipi [3] in Denmark, and Antipodes[4] in the US. His most recent book is Urban Gleanings.[5] He regularly reviews books in the areas of poetry and psychotherapy. His creative work has been financially supported by the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.[6]


Mark Mahemoff mainly writes free verse, but also experiments with formal constraints such as englyn, pantoum, sestina, haiku, and found poetry, as well as developing his own new forms. Influenced by the OULIPO movement’s strategies and Georges Perec, he created sestoum, a form incorporating techniques used in the pantoum and sestina. An example is his poem 'Vowel Sounds', in which he avoided using a particular-but-different vowel in each stanza.

Mahemoff’s poetry is chiefly concerned with framing, reimagining and memorialising commonplace moments, primarily in an urban setting. Describing the poems in the second collection (Near-Life Experience),[7] in the Australian Book Review, Oliver Dennis states, "Constructed, in a majority of cases, from the ‘salvaged details’ of life, they operate as personal histories, recording everyday experience and observation in the face of death".[8] These personal histories include pizza sellers frustrated with their failing businesses, railway workers trapped in repetitive jobs and homeless people relying on random acts of kindness. But the subtext of Mahemoff’s poetry is that a kind of extraordinariness can be found in the ordinary if one takes the time to look. Cath Vidler observes, "Indeed, the apparent autobiographical nature of many of Mahemoff's poems fits well with his special ability to encapsulate experience and re-present it in language with all its original potency intact".[9] Reviewing Urban Gleanings, Mahemoff’s latest book, in The Australian, Jane Smith says of 'Ali', “The grains to be gleaned from this book are the details Mahemoff describes, the 'copper-coloured skink' that is 'like a thought vanishing', or 'a sedentary man with a whistle/who looks like he’s never done/anything else'.[10]



Selected Literary Journalism[edit]



  1. ^ "Prism International, Vol 32, No. 4, Summer 1994" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Kavya Bahrati, No 8, 1996".
  3. ^ "Kunapipi".
  4. ^ Mahemoff, Mark (2010). "Considerations on QF4O5". Antipodes. 24 (2): 188–188. JSTOR 41958695.
  5. ^ "Urban Gleanings, Ginninderra Press 2017".
  6. ^ "AustLit, Australian Literary Database".
  7. ^ Mahemoff, Mark (2002). "Near-life experience". Ginninderra Press.
  8. ^ "Australian Book Review" (PDF).
  9. ^ "API Review of Books". Archived from the original on 2005-12-02.
  10. ^ "'Give or Take a Well-placed Cluster of Words', The Australian".