Only those poets who value silence, who let their words grow out of it, can be 'intense with doubt and feeling', as poetry requires in its deepest levels. Michael Sariban is a meditative poet who writes with 'infinite attention' about landscape and mindscape.

— Kevin Hart

Cold in the tropics, Sariban has made himself vulnerable to what the earth, sea & sky offer – the shivering wonder of it all.

— Kate Llewellyn

Sariban catches the unexpected moment in alert, memorable language.

— Thomas Shapcott

His poems are urbane, skilful and various. So many here can be savoured again and again.

— Judith Rodriguez

His poems are characterized by wit, irony, knowledge, intelligence. And some savagery.

— Graham Rowlands, on
A Formula for Glass

Any poet who can have bylines from Kevin Hart, Kate Llewellyn, Tom Shapcott, Judith Rodriguez and Graham Rowlands (and another acknowledgement for this journal...) had better be good, has got to be good. And he is. Listen: "The birds fall like notes out of/ the sky into Palestrina's garden.// angels perch on his roor, waiting/ for their voices to be returned// unseen fingers pluck at his curtains/ and marvel at the trees, but the moon// falls away without his knowing./ Tonight, someone's glued a boat// to the water, faint under the stars. He/ cannot see the ocean now, the acres// of mud at low tide, and the crabs reaching/ for the only heaven they know." (Palestrina's Garden, p. 52) God, I wish I'd written that. An artist's surreal veridicality, artlessly artful in its images and reflections, fresh as the breeze that blows from the Bay to Michael's home. Believe me, now? Buy it and read the full collection!

— John Knight, Social Alternatives



Michael S

Michael Sariban was born in Berlin, the son of Russian émigré parents. He believes that learning the sounds and nuances of another language helped to sow the seeds for his ongoing love affair with poetry in English.

He is interested in issues around the translation of poetry and is passionate about music and the visual arts. His lifelong “learning” of the Australian landscape has taken place from the fluctuating viewpoint of outsider/insider.

This is his third poetry collection. His poetry has been widely published in Australia and overseas, and has been performed on Radio National. He has also published reviews of poetry.

He has four children and at present lives in Brisbane.

Our fourth poetry title in the Literature Series, launched at Chat’s Restaurant on 28 March 1999, was  Facing the Pacific by Michael Sariban.

Sariban explores the uniqueness of place and the possibilities of mystery. Whether evoking the glare and undertow of beaches, the stillness of country, or lovers contemplating the enigma of a clear night sky, Sariban’s poetry invites us to explore the deeper currents of our experience.

Sariban’s work is refreshingly direct and accessible. He has that rare talent of being able to talk about us while reflecting on his own experience.