6AM in the Universe by Benjamin Frater
With an inheritance from Ginsberg and the Beats, the Symbolists, the Russian Futurists and Artaud, Benjamin Frater (1979–2007) applied their traditions to his vision of the suburbs of south-west Sydney, producing, with his unique, visionary work, both on the page and in performance, some of the most total and committed poetry of his generation. His public readings were electrifying events, culminating in his appearance at the 2006 Mad Pride Festival. He died in July 2007 as a result of a misadventure with the medication used to treat his schizophrenia. 6am in the Universe is the posthumous publication of a selection of his works edited by those who knew him (and his poetry) best – his peers and fellow poets Rob Wilson, Elle Demuro, Tim Cahill and Alan Wearne (Grand Parade Poets publisher). The volume includes a DVD featuring a recording of Frater’s performance at Mad Pride (2006) as well as audio recordings of other readings.
He is a truly unique poet, one who will appeal to those interested in Australian poetry but especially to those of his generation and the generations of readers to come. His poetry exhibits the furious energy of youth but this is tempered by Frater’s erudition and absolute commitment to his craft. He conjures a suburban gothic landscape marrying the visions of Greek and numerous other cultures’ myths and legends with the linguistic experimentation of his poetic forebears and elements of mainstream and alternative Australian culture.