This is poetry that has other poets raving – daring, passionate and quixotic, yet deeply in touch with Australian poetic tradition, Love in the place of rats makes the head spin. The evocative cover photograph by Sam Shmith leads the reader into a reality that is at once global and local; the poet staring down his own ghosts in what is ultimately a hymn to love and Brisbane’s West End.
“Love in the place of rats is a vital expression of the bond between poetic consciousness and historical reality, the daily quintessences of love, work and death in language that is sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful, always alive. Hardacre’s primary question is, are we to love with a ‘treacherous and passionate soul’, or are we ‘reduced to cheap music’. His poems are an extraordinary answer.”
– Peter Minter.
“Love in the place of rats is a fiercely imaginative ride through the tropics of Brisbane and South-East Asia, tanked with picaresque tales of those ‘living the honda dream’, and churning with references from Conrad to Luscious Jackson beneath ‘sky like the smiths’ and ‘replacement birds’. These rapid-fire poems toppling with abundant observations and often witty asides – ‘religious as anthrax’ – breathlessly collide into a constant paean to love, the mysterious centre.”
– Gig Ryan.
“These poems sting with an almost breathless urgency yet retain a fragile lyrical pulse. Paul Hardacre strings words into phrases and phrases into strange leaps of association that insist on their own lines of continuity. Fantastic flashes and everyday references rub fingers and shoulders, and the result haunts and takes the reader on an intimate journey through feelings, memories, emotional travels. Nothing is forbidden.”
– Tom Shapcott.