Pitt Street Poetry, 2015
Lens Flare is a collection of poems – the first, as far as I can tell – written by a theatre director more accustomed to staging Chekhov in New York or Verdi in Denmark than to publishing poems in Australian journals. I opened the book expecting to find that slightly off-key poetry written by accomplished practitioners of an allied practice – this could also be song-writing, fiction, even painting – whose singular depth of involvement is unquestioned, but is not in poetry. Instead I found this . . . the poems are precise and unforced. His poetry is serious (but seldom tonally heavy) and cleanly crafted – even crisp in its linguistic texture, with hardly a word or line that feels unnecessary . . . I suspect the dramatist in Andrews enjoys this heightening of voice across shifting entrances (and exits) while maintaining a mild narrative. Most poets do. Good. Andrews may be much in-demand as a stage director but he is also an excellent poet, and his skills might embarrass many poets who have spent decades doing little else.
Philip Salom, Cordite Poetry Review, 13th March 2015
Lens Flare won the 2016 Mary Gilmore Award for the best first poetry collection published in Australia in the previous two years.
Judges citation: This tightly crafted and expansive collection can be both humorous and poignant, revealing a highly attuned poetic sense of place, memory and relationship, and sometimes the wickedness of wording the world. Andrews’ verse, set across the emotional and physical terrains of Iceland and Australia, is spare and strong; possessing a dramatic, filmic quality that delights in its visual power, as well as the cadences of its language. The poet’s lens flares – illuminating and obscuring – and the reader is drawn into an intense and sensual world.