The Silent Piano
Fremantle Press, 1980
Prizes and Shortlistings:
1981 Commonwealth Poetry Prize for First Book – London
1980 Anne Elder Prize – Second Prize
1980 P.E.N. (Sydney) Literary Award for Poetry – Shortlisted
Philip Salom’s first collection, in two main categories: poems of family and rural life (his own) in the South West of Western Australia, and poems based on historical figures from Europe. The rural poems are frequently stark and include fairly violent representations of nature and farming life, in contrast therefore, to more idyllic pastorals.
Praise for The Silent Piano
There are beautiful and often terrifying evocations of landscape and characters here, but the emphasis is on the tensed relationship between the remembered world and the rather bruised sensibility of the poet. Salom’s writing impresses with the way it suggests a genuine spiritual restlessness, a working through of complex and powerful emotions.
Ross Bennett, ABR
Salom must be recognised as a talented young poet with a strong, fresh individual voice. The Silent Piano is an impressively rich first collection, a book of achievement as well as promise.
He actualises his scenes (the ‘bunting chaos’ of feeding calves, for instance) with a few strokes that are precise and powerful, using language and image strongly expressive and imaginative. Although these images of the sensuous world, intensely observed and expressed, are the striking features of his work, they are there more often than not to convey, to intimate, to lead into an inner world of thought, emotion, memory and imagination.
L R Burrows, Westerly
One of the outstanding features of Salom’s poetry is its imagery. Almost every poems flashes with vivid, original and plausible imagery. I have read descriptive poems as good as ‘Sea Town’ but I have never read one better. And this sort of imagery reappears in poem after poem. Philip Salom is a fine poet.
Andrew Lansdown, Artlook