Imagine if six famous protagonists transcended chronological and geographical barriers to come together through a poetry group in Adelaide. Rhymes with Hyenas is an inventive narrative of emails and poetry that gives a female voice to characters originally written by men. They are Ursula from DH Lawrence’s Women in Love, Caddy from Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Melanie from Coetzee’s Disgrace, Delores from Nabokov’s Lolita, Katherina from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and Lilith from Hebrew mythology.
In a poignant ode to literature and Adelaide, these women are whole, complex characters, sometimes up to their breasts in mothering, sometimes homesick for exiled lands. They are lecturers, dog owners, art makers and carers who deal with illness and loss, with racism and addiction and domestic abuse. Their stories, initially limited by the masterpieces that spawned them, continue on: they are not a closed book.
In a vibrant commentary on literary patriarchy and the patriarchy beyond, this book considers the place of writing, critiquing, reading, performing and publishing poetry in a woman’s space.