Reviews of Publications (a selection)

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"A collection of Australian short stories with poet and novelist Peter Skrzynecki as the editor is an event... Skrzynecki's collection, Influence, is a four-star literary feast, challenging our palates with the rich flavours of Australia's cultural diversity..."

Sally Blakeney The Australian's Review of Books, September 1997

"Skrzynecki has brought together pieces from a number of immigrant writers whose work is unknown in Australia, despite considerable success in their own home countries. The care he has lavished on these writers can be gauged from the fact that much of the work is translated, suggesting Skrzynecki has gone out of his way to find and include their work, a task that is harder (and therefore all the more praiseworthy) than it seems. (From review of Influence...)

James Bradley Australian Book Review, November 1997


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"If you don't read anything else in the next six months, read the first six pages of The Cry of the Goldfinch...It is beautiful prose, beautiful English, a feeling for language which swoops with love of sound and syntax, the likes of which we rarely encounter in Oz Lit...The author achieves a rounded psychological portrait of evil in the midst of gentleness. This is not pulp fiction...."

Sasha Soldatow Australian Book Review , February/March 1997

"From the outset, suspense is skilfully maintained in Peter Skrzynecki's The Cry of the Goldfinch....Skrzynecki has a strong poetic sensibility and (the novel) is filled with fine concrete detail.Abstractions are avoided, mysterious questions go unanswered...Psychologically convincing and Dostoyevskian in its intensity....'

John Dale The Australian's Review of Books, November 1996


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"Skrzynecki's Easter Sunday ends not with a will and last testament but with a paean, Deo Gratias: ‘thank you for the life I was given.'...Essentially his poems describe the isolation of the individual, his aloneness and his desire to ‘come home', to be connected. It is the predicament of the ‘stranger from Europe' who hopes ‘he might finally belong....'Another key to this work, and a source of its power and ability to move the reader, is ‘the notion of impermanence.' It is the keen awareness of this transience that renders all relationships vulnerable and precious. Presumably it also reinforces the poet's need for a permanence beyond the physical, manifested in God and, to a lesser extent, in art."

Heather Cam The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November, 1993


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"Rock'n' Roll Heroes... This concentration on personal and domestic matters gives the book a unity which many such collections lack....Skrzynecki leads us quietly into the intimate thoughts and hearts of his everyday characters... No stylistic tricks, no sentimentality, just a compassionate sensitivity which can paint an attractive surface and also hints at pain and sorrow beneath.."

Dennis Davison The Weekend Australian, October 24-5, 1992

This book was chosen as one of the BEST OF THE YEAR in the Fiction category


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"Skrzynecki has already established himself as a poet, and now proves himself to be an outstanding writer of short stories.." (The Wild Dogs)

John Hanrahan Times On Sunday, 26 July, 1987

"A fine collection...the stories contain engaging narratives which offer opportunities to explore emotional responses.." (The Wild Dogs)

Humphrey McQueen The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July, 1987

"Skrzynecki is economical, sparing yet never mean with his words....A rare writing talent..." (The Wild Dogs)

Bill Ord Sunday Mail, 26 July, 1987


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"A book of astonishing quality, with a measured intensity and sureness of touch, Night Swim must surely establish Peter Skrzynecki's reputation as a major Australian poet... If Skrzynecki's extraordinary sensitivity to loss owes much to the experience of migration, with all the losses it entails, the same may be said of the delicacy of his observations, for they are rendered with a clarity that seems intended to fix them in the mind forever.... With Night Swim, Skrzynecki stakes his position in the Australian lyrical tradition, in a line of descent which may be traced from Brennan, through Shaw Neilson and Slessor, to late McAuley, Campbell, Stewart, Wright. If he stands in this line of inheritance, this is because of the experience of migration, not in spite of it.

Ivor Indyk, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July, 1989


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"Teachers of multicultural courses will welcome this anthology of poems and stories by 37 Australian writers from non-English speaking backgrounds....A short review unfortunately can barely hint at the treasures in Joseph's Coat...all good reads, together bound to generate further debate about the fascinating story we live in."

Mary Rose Liverani The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July, 1985

Joseph's Coat was also selected as an Editor's Choice book in the Weekend Australian Magazine, June 15-16, 1985


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"Vision, beauty, the power of perception, the meaning of (New England) landscape, the interdependence of the "generations of men", the shedding of the accumulated hurt of the Old World - all these are here (The Polish Immigrant) in the poignant poetry of someone hitherto torn between two worlds but now gaining the massive calm and faith of his fathers. Peter Skrzynecki speaks to all Australians, old and new, with the authority of someone who has conquered his demons of fancied guilt, and so is able to rejoice in the inheritance of his own children and of all young Australians."

J.S. Ryan UNE Convocation Bulletin, May 1984, No 54


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"From his birth to Slav slave-labourers in Nazi Germany in the last days of World War II,Peter Skrzynecki has been involved in the displacements and regroupings of the century.An understandably tragic sense of life,finding memorable expression here in the fellow-feeling of ‘Leukaemia' and ‘HIV Ward',has its shafts of sunshine:as in his descriptions of his father's self-naturalization through his skills as a gardener on alien soil, and in his own vivid response to the birds, beasts and flowers of Australia." (Of Time's Revenge)

Randolph Stow


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"There is a strong sense of dedication in Peter Skrzynecki's poetry. He writes of family loyalties, and of pain and loss faced with rigour and compassion. Another strong theme is the immigrant experience, illuminated by the portrait of his father, as in this, his latest collection, 'Time's Revenge.' Skrzynecki is Polish-Ukrainian by descent, Australian by experience. He has encouraged the efforts of other immigrant writers by anthologising their work. Through novels and short stories as well as through his poetry Peter Skrzynecki has earned a unique place in contemporary Australian Literature."

Rosemary Dobson

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