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Peter Maxwell: Feathers in the Well

There are those that write poetry and then there are poets. Peter Maxwell is a poet.

Feathers in the Well
Feathers in the Well

In his first book of poetry Peter Maxwell has opted for the title ‘Feathers in the well’ the explanation on the back cover is somewhat cynical and somewhat wistful – that may well be reminiscent of the man himself.

Perhaps the justification lies in his background. Ex advertising guru and marketing man, Peter Maxwell grew up as the fourth generation of his family in the Fiji Islands. He was educated at Kings School and Kings College in Auckland, New Zealand, before returning to finish his education at Suva Grammar School in Fiji.

He lived for a while in London and returned to Australia, met a girl, then took off again for Fiji and Western Samoa. All three claimed his heart.

After 40 years in the torrid arena of the advertising industry – copywriter, creative director and principal of two advertising agencies that carried his name and a short stint as a lecturer on creative process at Bond University, Maxwell now calls himself retired and lives on a beach in Queensland, with the girl who claimed his heart.

So why does an ex advertising guru used to the machinations and the cut and thrust of the advertising industry lay open his life using the genre of poetry?

Perhaps the answer lies in the poem called Words #2. The brief description on the prior page reads; ‘Once more I wished that I could always have written just for me and not for dollars.’

Is it because he worked with manipulating words to tell a picture that sold a product? Is he doing that here with ‘Feathers in the well’? Yes and No. The difference now is that he is the product.

The title conjures thoughts that are sated by the poems. Delicate, song-like and sensitive, Maxwell reflects on his life as a cat would play with a mouse. The cover sets the scene superbly for the collection of poems that wait for the eye and the book is beautifully produced.

Clearly a talented wordsmith, Maxwell lifts the curtain and shares intimate stories of his life and stirs the embers of long lost loves, lives and longings. He tells stories that connect with the most mundane and hard-hearted of us, accomplishing what every poet seeks to do.

What: Peter Maxwell – Poetry event
Where: Embiggen Books, 197-203 Little Lonsdale St Melbourne
When: Sat 3rd Dec, 5.00o pm

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