...more about THE RIVER
Written over several years, Jurgensen’s monumental poem, The River, is destined to hold a special place in Australian literature. Its all-embracing reflections range from local to global, intimate to public, spiritual to carnal, culminating in a grand vision of contemporary humanity. Powerful invocations of Aboriginal, Australian and Queensland history link with accounts of violent cultural conflicts in Europe and elsewhere. The overarching theme of migration as the essence of human life from the beginning of time leads to a haunting description of refuge and asylum seeking in the world today.
But most of all The River is a deeply spiritual and philosophical journey in time. Its history from birth to death, in a mixture of destiny, chance and fate, conjures up both the creative spirit and the origins of evil. This highly imaginative work celebrates the joys and agonies, longings and belongings, splendour and violence in our continuing search for self-knowledge. Ultimately it is a deeply moving homage to the brotherhood of man.
It may not exactly be the Ganges but Manfred Jurgensen makes a compelling case for a modern mythology based on the Brisbane River. The River is a metaphor but it is also so much more in this epic, romantic, lyrical and heady work that is a meditation on life and love and human experience. The river is a powerful central motif that links Jurgensen’s work to the great tradition of Vedic literature and all the literatures that have flowed since then.
Arts Editor - The Courier-Mail
What a fantastical torrent. Manfred Jurgensen's mind in glorious spate - an extraordinary communion of questings and questionings. This is a genuine page-turner that finds its shape as a partial, fond history of the River City; as a saga for today of migration and home, conjuring delightfully the ancient epic makers (as well as a pantheon of more recent water poets); and as a many-voiced confessional hymn deeply moving, painfully worrisome, and awfully worrying in its invocation of past, current and future prospects. A stunning achievement.
Rod Wissler, Emeritus Professor, Creative Industries, QUT.
Jurgensen’s work is unlike that of any other Australian poet.
Manfred Jurgensen is an archaeologist of the spirit.
He exposes those submerged layers of the personal, the historical and the cultural. He reminds us of who we are.
Jurgensen explores … the many meanings that flow from being Australian.