Black Tulips are symbols of mystery and elegance and are hard to grow—a bit like writing poems. There is always a sense of mystery around how a poem makes it on to the page. How it sits beneath the surface as a garden bulb does until the conditions are right for it to begin to sprout and push into being.
From the opening poem of Maggie Shapley’s first collection Proof, we know we are in the company of a thoughtful, sometimes restless, poet. Here, in explorations of childhood and family, memory and loss, belonging and dislocation, we find every word conveying a powerful sense of lived encounters and experience. This is poetry characterised by close observation, a restrained wit and a fine precision of language.
Cities are as complex and unknowable as they are familiar and unsurprising. We can feel as if we know a city intimately, or merely indicate its mysteries to our fleeting perceptions. Or its mysteries can appear in and through the mundane. Cities reveal their collective ghosts through their landscapes, their histories, their people, their sounds and smells. Cities ask us to invent not only ourselves, but a view of ourselves within the cityscape we imagine.
Set in the heart of Australia, Penny Drysdale’s debut collection breaks open the prison of self to lay bare the many contradictions in contemporary Australian relationships. Love, injustice and ‘unbelonging’ weave their way through this torrid landscape like ancient creatures on a grand scale. A credit card, a mouse trap, a discarded car battery, a pile of children’s clothing all become an opportunity to examine in harsh Australian light aspects of ourselves we usually confine to the dark.
The title poem of this collection chronicles the eighteenth-century trial of Captain John Bolton for the murder of his apprentice girl, Elizabeth Rainbow, in a small village in the north of England where Paul Munden has spent most of his life. The poem’s reflection on the life writing process is complemented by other shadowings, glimpses of strange complicities and dark pastoral musings
Miranda Lello’s debut collection is a deeply felt and often playful reflection on the liminal moments of contemporary life. Lello’s keen eye searches out the possibilities of new worlds as they exist in the everyday moments of work, of journeys, of love, and of living. This is a collection written on the body and mind and invested in the capacity of poetry to make us feel.
Jen Webb’s new collection is a series of striking prose poems that explore the ways in which personal crises and memories might be re-examined through the elusive concept of the archive. How, she asks, might we construct a personal archive to ‘make sense of the past in the work of facing and building the future’? Each of these finely wrought poems is a record of life lived through significant moments.
In Owen Bullock’s second haiku sequence with Recent Work Press, he explores the wisdom garnered from his period as a care worker for the elderly in New Zealand. These haiku display the riches of Bullock’s keen sense of observation married with his ability to get to the essence of any subject with his deft use of this most precise of Japanese forms.
This prose poetry collection takes the reader through a gallery of European art, exploring modes of representation and the eddying connections between language and visual imagery. As it does so, it probes ways in which language ‘sees’, often in intimate ways. This collection also explores human history and culture, and the links between past and present—some works of art are like a form of memory and reach directly into viewers’ personal experiences. The gallery you encounter in these pages is notionally situated in Rome, but it is only fully constituted in these pages—containing, as it does, artworks on loan from elsewhere, such as Giorgione’s famous painting La Tempesta, usually housed in Venice. Although this book is made of words, it will conduct you on an unforgettable gallery tour.
This first book of poetry by Niloofar Fanaiyan is about transit as both a physical and conceptual suspension of time and space. It touches on the intersections of people, place, culture and history experienced by travellers: the feeling of being stuck on the periphery while life continues elsewhere; and the possibilities inherent in every journey.
In Incantations, Subhash Jaireth responds through a series of short prose pieces to portraits of famous and everyday Australians in an attempt to rethink the role of place, identity and the self. It is an ekphrastic exercise, in that it reinterprets an artwork in writing, but it is also a lyrical exploration of what art can mean: its power to move, to know, and to feel.
Owen Bullock shows that haiku is a form that can deliver us worlds with deft subtlety and cutting precision. Each of these poems builds on the last to deliver a strong sense of place and of people. Urban Haiku has an eye for the absurdities of contemporary life, as well as its quieter, less noticed moments.
Once thought lost, this new edition revives Strange’s bizarre experimental manuscript for contemporary audiences. Allegedly written in a weekend and inspired by a paratext from Clarice Lispector, Notes to the Reader is a collection of twenty-one calls to readers from books and authors long forgotten.