Leggett’s distinctive tone is realised... as a dense ferocity. His method is confrontational, his insights acute.

— Judith Rodriguez, Deakin University

He writes from the perspective of a man caught in the crossfire of the timeless battle between the old gods and the new.

— Michael Sariban

His wordscapes illuminate a tragi-comic world of flesh and spirit, singing of transcendance...with sidetrips into the macabre...subverting normality with heart and humour.

— Phil Brown, The Courier-Mail

'Rough as guts' may be your first response...then you'll notice you're on the underside of Australian suburbia, and the view is very clear: "A skywriter is diving into the final 'S' / of JESUS SAVES, that final hook / like the blade of a can opener / tearing its way into heaven." Consumerism, spiritual poverty, sexual repression and violence find language of harsh integrity.
— Kerry Leves, Overland, 153

I found Old Time Religion the most interesting of the four volumes reviewed. Andrew Leggett is a brave writer and many of his poems are self-exposing: 'His only thoughts/ were of the beauty/ of her fierce red acne/ that blossomed in the first two months/ of oral contraceptionl and the dull sense of relief/ that it was her body/ that was being broken.'Broken For Me’.

Leggett is an engaging and funny writer in the main, yet one also senses the controlled despair he feels over the situations he observes. Perhaps his other work (psychiatry) has given him wider, darker wings than many of his contemporaries. Whatever forces have shaped his vision, he shares his words in a most individualistic manner:'My god it's fun/ exploring these stormwater drains/ contriving letters/ to the Brisbane City Council/ telling them their pipes are cracking.' (‘Hunted’)

There are some strong poems in the title section of this volume.'At Church With Dad' and 'Lay Institute For Evangelism', among others, - and through all sections, Leggett's skill at embellishing everyday incidents and making small urban myths from them is obvious: ‘I tell her the aliens/ have used my bald patch/ as their launch pad./ Leanne tells me/ that she had a bald patch/ until she used hair restorer.' ('Hair Care? It is easy to osmose the P in Leggett's verse and claim the experience for one's own. His words have a powerful universal appeal:'Now that you are dead, Dad,/ it feels like you have no idea/ where to put your feet/ and your face says/ that the sky could come down/ to bump you at any moment./...but I'm taking you back to the gravel where it's cold. I've got my life to live.' ('Guiding Father?

The volume's art work by Suzanne Mintel gives the book a distinctive appearance, and if the poems fail to engage, maybe you should join a religious sect or a political party for kicks!

— Jan Turner-Jones, Imago

Andrew Leggett’s poetry sets out to acknowledge and to celebrate those human qualities that continue to be condemned in modern ‘liberal’ Australia, despite the (merely) academic embracing of post-modernism and its logic of ‘difference’. "His sympathy, compassion and curiosity are for the rejected, the excluded, the abnormal." Leggett, who has been a practising psychiatrist for many years, is able to bring humour and compassion to these odes to the outcast, while retaining a sharp satirical bite and a refreshing clarity of poetic expression. Old Time Religion and Other Poems is a worthy inclusion to the Interactive Press catalogue, which continues to publish the best of contemporary Australian poetry in attractive new formats.

— John Knight, Social Alternatives

 

 

Andrew Leggett’s accomplished first book, Old Time Religion and Other Poems, was launched on 31 May 1998 at Chats Restaurant, Coorparoo by Dr Richard Hutch, from the Studies in Religion Department at the University of Queensland.

His poetry embraces the sacred and profane with insight, irreverence, compassion and humour. No subject is too sacred to be brought down and interrogated under a brittle light.

Playing with form, he is as skilful in rap as in variations on the Petrarchan sonnet. He shifts smoothly from personal narratives into voices unconstrained by species, gender or fashion.

Old Time Religion celebrates our fallen state, with grief at our losses, and awe at our capacity to endure and love. Bridging the world of dreams and the conflicts of everyday life, he is truly a poet for the New Millennium.

 

Andrew L

Andrew Leggett works as a consultant psychiatrist in private practice. His writing draws on personal experience translated into the language and structure of dreams. His work is informed by interests in contemporary mythology, psychoanalysis and art. His concerns for poetic rhythm and form contrast themselves with the context of a busy professional, personal and family life. He has also published short stories, literary reviews and papers on ethical matters.


He lives in Brisbane with his wife Ann. He has a daughter Angela, a son Joseph and a stepson Jack.