These poems move freely in time from the 1950s to the present day, from the contemporary to memoir, from gender politics to bushfires and floods. They show you jeeps, trucks, girlfriends and cane-cutters, widgies, Singer sewing machines, tattoos and rats and class grudges.
Sandra Renew uses a range of traditional poetry forms to lay bare some of the gaping fault-lines of gender relations especially as they are experienced by LGBTIQ communities.
In his teens, Ross Donlon had poems published in The Bulletin, Australia’s iconic journal, and in 1965, the literary editor predicted ‘an exciting future’ for the young poet. Donlon’s next poem was published thirty-three years later. In a ‘second budding’ he has had many poems published across Australia and overseas and read at festivals both at home and in Europe. For the Record charts his journey as a poet over five decades, including the Bulletin poems, and the later dark and comic poems for which he has become well-known.
From the author of the David Unaipon award winning novel Dancing Home.
Paul Collis’ first collection of poetry is a book of difficult truths and profound connections. It charts a life lived on the streets, on country, in the deep time of tradition, of relationships to land and family. This book mourns those who have passed, and the current state of places and people held close in the heart and in the kinds of knowledge inseparable from self that might be called ‘being’, but is always much more than that. It is also a poetry of hope in the hopeless, of beauty in small moments, and the overwhelming ‘now’ that is memory.
What would you do if you looked up and saw that the night sky was darker than usual? That the stars had disappeared, and nobody was doing anything about it?
What do you do when a loved one tells you that their world is darker than usual? That they see no light, and don’t know what to do about it?
Errant Night is an exploration of resilience executed imperfectly. In this sequence of prose poems, Beaumont draws upon the sci-fi wonders of interstellar travel and spaceship mechanics to throw comparative light upon the realities of living with the burden of loss.
Intellectually ambitious and culturally engaged, these poems speak of Sartre, Zola and Jackson Pollock, of Western Australia’s firewatch trees and Dubbo’s gibbons, of the poet-batsman Stevie Smith, of youth and age. Ranging in form, James Lucas’s poems ask to be reread rather than assented to, and are written in the belief that poetry is both solvent and fresh lick of paint.
‘James Lucas’s poems explode with brilliance, warmth and music’— Stuart Barnes
In Our Tongues Are Songs, Rico Craig pursues the intimate, the voices people use as they speak to their private fears. Craig brings his unique ear for lyricism, his eye for human need, to bear on the promises people make to themselves as they attempt to find solace, companionship and meaning. His haunting use of image fills the day-to-day world with the uncanny — bats are comforted by children, old women weep tattoos, the earth burns, television stars comfort teenagers as they struggle with anorexia, encroaching sands spill the dead into an unnamed city. This book spans voices, generations and countries; it sides with the young and old as they try to carve their humanity from the swirls of despair.
‘These poems of bone, sky, night and earth pulse with danger and exaltation. Selves spectral, imagined and embodied dissolve the solitary ‘I’ to imagine flocks of selves, dancing with knives in their hands, standing on rooftops, never forgetting what it is to be at our wildest. They overflow with loosened energy, yet their crafting is meticulous, brilliant and exact.’ Felicity Plunkett
If we are to speak, what is it we must speak? If we are allowed to speak, what is it we must say? Who constitutes the ‘we’ that speaks? Anne Elvey’s new collection frames such questions against the contemporary world and its multiple challenges. These poems in turn explore environmental encounters, subtle and overt expressions of the political, the elisions of history, the embodiment of the world and the nature of grace, through poetry sharply attuned to its subject matter. For Elvey, poetry has an obligation not only to chart intimate moments, but also to draw those moments towards the numinous matter of our Earthy habitats.
Stephen Gilfedder’s Way Stations features selected poems from the past 40 and more years. The chronology leads us from the contemporary to his initial fully realised work. Throughout, people – in their various guises, locations and predicaments – are the abiding concentration. An important aspect is the observation and recording of human mutability in time, place and circumstance. The personal dimension is explored across its contradictions, from commitment to uncertainty, to self-discovery and perseverance. Throughout the language is rich and rhythmic, steeped in the Australian vernacular.
‘Gilfedder’s unforced and liquid vernacular is sharpened and made memorable by his vivid and exacting imagery. These poems are moments observed from the inside and outside, narratives that are as particular as the shape of a place-name in the mouth, yet as universal as the waystations of every life.’
In Animals with Human Voices you will find worms that dream of god, jellyfish weary of immortality, a powerless Superman, some illogical observations on aliens’, a lightning conductor tired of lightning and the truth about Elvis. In multi award-winning poet Damen O’Brien’s debut collection, his cinematic eye and love of nature deliver poems which are ciphers for the normal concerns of every human: love, life and death and what we leave behind.
Throughout his forties and fifties Phillip found himself on a sticky wicket: the grief for his baby son and younger brothers, suicide attempts, self-harming, the premature termination of his career, and the failure of religious belief to explain or console. In and out of psychiatric care, he has been treated for PTSD, severe depression and social anxiety. There are consolations: family, companion greyhounds, Sunshine, the Western Bulldogs and Australian Football, books, the fine and performing arts but, for Phillip, this remains a time of loss and despair. This is, therefore, a collection of lamentations, achingly focused on what it is to live with poor mental health, but it is also a defiant celebration of survival and the redeeming power of familial love, sport and the arts.
In this lyrical, often wry, sometimes heartbreaking and just occasionally horrifying selection of poems, internationally award-winning poet, Anne Casey invites you to step into her shoes, take a self-guided cruise through the State of Womanhood with its redacted facts and multiple travel warnings, feel the red hot sting of betrayal, and leave behind nights of secrets and dread to rise with the rage that her fine sisters gave, a scattering of blue skies and a pocketful of hope on the long walk home.
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, infertility, addiction and 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.
the moment, taken is Jennifer Compton’s eleventh book of poetry. At this late stage she has yielded to the absolute lure of eidectic memory. That is – ‘relating to or denoting images having unusual vividness and detail as if actually visible.’ And there is the pleasure in poetry for her. The damage, the drama, the tableau, the tall tale and true. It must be knocked out of true. There are rules.
‘F-words’ is less expletive, more reconnaissance flight. In this five-year exploratory survey of territory that might include poetry, Malins forays into fables, fauna and flora, family, feminism, faraway and further. Whether in factual, fictive, fabulist or forensic form, Malins is squinting through life’s surface reflections and writing what she glimpses underneath.
Penny Drysdale invites readers into her home and her transience as her relationship begins to end. It is never easy to get on with your life. I am the glass is window into these tender invisible journeys.
‘A piercing portrait of the many ways we rebuild after loss. I am the glass is the bark stripped away.’
Hyperbole, Belinda Rule’s debut full length collection, contains the poems from the 2019 Anne-Elder-commended chapbook, The Things the Mind Sees Happen, as well as a careful selection of previous work spanning the past ten years. These are tender, funny poems about family estrangement, sexual violence, ageing and death.