Poet Melinda Smith and artist Caren Florance are back with another excursion into the linguistic and visual pleasures of found text, a joint practice which brought us 2017’s Members Only. With this book, Listen, bitch, they turn their attention to misogynist language, working with a corpus of several decades’ worth of statements by powerful Australian public figures (and other blokes with big platforms). By listening very closely to the snarlings of what Kate Manne calls the law enforcement branch of the patriarchy, these poems attempt to map the lines women are still not supposed to cross in contemporary Australia, and to document the consequences suffered when they do. The results are sometimes harrowing, sometimes ridiculous, and always thought-provoking.
In 2015 poet Angela Gardner was invited to the print studio of artist Caren Florance to set some blocks of ‘random’ text using metal letterpress type. As a separate creative work, ‘The Future, Un-imagine’ was taking form in Gardner’s mind; there was also ambient sound in the studio, a radio playing and wide-ranging conversation taking place between the two as Gardner set the type. Her seven ‘key’ textblocks were then print-performed by Florance for over a year to produce multiple readings and visual patterns, reflecting the structured chaos that Gardner uses in her writing practice. The artist book that emerged, Working Papers, is impossible to reproduce ‘accurately’ without losing many of its material properties; this chapbook is an opportunity to remix some of its pages to form new arrangements around Gardner’s resolved poem. The result is an augmented presentation of the poem and a companion to the limited edition artist book.
1962. Menzies was in power, Whitlam was deputy Opposition Leader, and the cold war was in full swing. Canberra was steadily transforming froma town in a paddock to a city with a lake. This is a year in the life of the building that held all the action: Old Parliament House. One of the outcomes of a collaborative project between poet Melinda Smith and artist Caren Florance, this poetic work is an exercise in re-voicing the past and placing it in conversation with the present.
Cavorting with Time is a series of poems about female ageing and mortality. Jacqui Malins shares them here as a work in progress, a script that will develop and mature over time, gathering notes and annotations with each new presentation. She has performed variations of it solo, with musical accompaniment, and now it performs on the page.
Zoe Anderson’s first poetry collection uses elements of fairytale and mythology to reflect on landscape, love and ecological uncertainty. Accompanied by darkly heartfelt illustrations by Helani Laisk and playful typography by Caren Florance, this is a collection full of hope, imagination and truth.