Get all fifteen of our new poetry collections released as they are released 2023
Featuring new work by:
April Nathan Shepherson, Sandra Renew May Ally Chua, Alvin Pang & George Szirtes June Erin Shiel, Owen Bullock July K A Nelson, Martin Dolan September Es Foong, Brendan Ryan, Thabani Tshuma October Jennifer Allen, Brent Cantwell November Jen Webb, Kerry Greer
The Writing Mind: Creative Writing Responses to Images of the Living Brain includes 60 creatively enhanced, colour images of the living brain. Each image is followed by two short-form creative writing responses: prose and poetry written as ekphrastic ‘replies’ to the images. This book was conceived through a partnership between the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), the peak academic body representing the discipline of Creative Writing in Australasia, and the Science Art Network (ScAN), affiliated with the neuroimaging department at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. The broader context for the partnership is a Creative Writing | Neuroimaging Research Study currently being undertaken at Swinburne University’s neuroimaging facility. The study investigates the activity in participants’ brains while undertaking a creative writing workshop. While The Writing Mind focuses on creative rather than traditional research outputs, it nevertheless reflects the shared commitment of AAWP and ScAN—an abiding fidelity to transdisciplinary, open and collaborative research practices. AAWP and ScAN share an interest in the intersections between diverse disciplines—arts/science and arts/health—while considering the ways we can work together for the future for our fields and for a better world.
Emerging authors from vast geographical regions examine the conundrum and contradiction of human experience through carefully crafted detail. The brevity of short-form writing makes it an apt vessel for capturing the haunting incompleteness of human experience. Through flash and traditional length short stories—fiction and life writing, as well as hybrid forms of storytelling—there is a compelling ebb and tow of ideas, as focalised through highly idiosyncratic voices. The authors work deftly, paying due homage to the crucial relationship between the focalising voice and sharply rendered detail—cultivating narrative features with intuitive hands and minds, fashioning abstracted realities that linger beyond the final lines of the text.
In these prose poem sequences, five different tastes are explored, not only with reference to food and drink,but also through their metaphorical use. There are innumerable ways of ‘tasting’ and apprehending theworld, and these poems canvass a wide range of them while also encouraging readers to consider their own diverse tastes, preferences and experiences.
Utilising comprehensive research undertaken at the National Records of Scotland, On the Record takes as its starting point the death certificates of a number of Martin Dolan’s direct ancestors. Each poem imagines itself into the thoughts of its subject/speaker, developing a mosaic that gives a small sight of Scottish social history, primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Sea Chest is a visceral, moving, and emotionally layered account of life in the aftermath of loss. In 2017, Kerry Greer’s husband Gabriel ended his life with horrific violence, dying on the kitchen floor of his parents’ home.
Haunting in its honesty, and underpinned by a connection to the spirituality of the natural world, The Sea Chest traces the impact of Gabriel’s death over years and continents. The collection provides a counter-narrative to ideas of grief portrayed in sympathy cards or Hollywood movies. There is no redemptive narrative arc, no going “back to normal.” But there is the old love—the indissoluble thread that is now called grief.
Imagistic and probing, The Sea Chest speaks directly into the void. In the stillness, in the grey: a ripple, an answer from the ether, asking the reader to listen, to not turn away. The Sea Chest becomes a holding space for grief—for the things which cannot be said out loud, but which need to be voiced. This is poetry as invocation, poetry as love enacted, poetry as gateway to the liminal and the sacred.
The Gospel of Unmade Creation, the debut collection by Thabani Tshuma, is about reshaping. It is an examination of the ways we are taken apart and put back together and what exists in that space before ‘rebuilding’ or ‘recovery’. This book is a truth, in the way truth can be both something made and something that already exists. It is an origin story told in non-linear vignettes. Part-testament, part-tome, part exercise in reflection, the poems in The Gospel of Unmade Creation traverse scene, theme, space, and time in search of a sense of ‘self’.
Feldspar, the new collection of poetry from Brendan Ryan, is unflinching in its focus on rural landscapes, the treatment of farm animals and the humble lives of people often missing from poetry. There are odes to invigilators, truck drivers, a family member who took to walking, laments for dogs and the hardened realities of country living. A sense of longing for and loss from the country is a sub-text for poems that reveal how place is never only a geographical location, but more of a state of mind to be revisited again and again and where belonging can also be found in music, driving or looking at the country you inevitably return to.
You lead me through strange geographies. You say, up here the tide cannot drown our sandwiches.
Es Foong’s debut collection explores the strange geographies of belonging: to family, gender, culture and oneself. It ponders boundaries; the predicament of needing to assert them even as they cause pain and separation. It explores influences on identity and the fault-lines of trauma, how these are woven into our bodies. It sees the power and the possibility of the pause – as breath, silence, a poem’s whitespace – and as an alternative way of being, survival and love.
In this second collection from award-winning poet, K A Nelson, extends the themes in her 2018 debut collection, to write as desert flâneur or reminisce as the moon. In her concerns about the natural world she speaks directly to a kookaburra and pays homage to the riparian zone. In writing of loss, love and its antithesis, she employs wry humour or a sometimes-brutal response to aspects of contemporary Australian society that may startle readers or pose a question: how can we be better?
Beginning with a childhood in and around depressed Cornish mining, Pancakes for Neptune is a detonation of neoliberal waste. Bullock understands that conservatism – whether in public or private realms – is, by definition, a protection racket. However, this collection is not an angry one. It sparkles with a rich lyrical and imagist vein, stirring us to dwell on this earth in relationship with others, with respect, rapture and exuberant interest. Owen Bullock’s latest collection showcases his restless experimentalism as well as his sly, generous and quirky sense of fun.