What We Carry brings together the voices of more than 60 contemporary Australian poets to provide accounts of childbearing that are both lyrical and embodied. Featuring diverse voices and perspectives on experiences of infertility, conception, termination, loss, pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period, this collection illuminates the endlessly different ways the potential to carry life is experienced. The poems invite you to share incredibly personal stories – some humourous, some sincere, some full of elation and love, others frustration or despair. They provide powerful insights into the potential for childbearing experiences to shape us, change the trajectories of our lives, and teach us about what it means to be human. For after all, all of us were carried, at the beginning.
Featuring Melinda Smith, Eileen Chong, Felicity Plunkett, Jeanine Leane, Miriam Wei Wei Lo, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Michelle Cahill, Eleanor Jackson, Esther Ottaway, Rose Lucas, Natalie Harkin, Quinn Eades, M.T.C Cronin, Mark Tredinnick and many more.
Edited by Ella Kurz, Simone King and Claire Delahunty
“This powerful, compelling anthology reminds us of the deep connection that language has with the body, and there can be no more profound visceral experience than that of childbearing in all its outcomes. These poems are steeped in flesh and blood, in joy, grief and wonder. Each poet has delivered miracles of feeling, pure cries from the heart. This remarkable, diverse book is evidence that it is poetry that best speaks to our most intense experiences, that tells us most assuredly and resonantly who we are. This anthology goes right to the core.”
“An old Warlpiri law woman once told me ‘kardiya (white) ladies have forgotten where their power comes from. They lost all their songs for that’ – but this collection of poems, by strong and beautiful women writers, are our new songs. It’s rare to see the feminine celebrated so openly in a culture so terrified of women and women’s bodies. Poems like these are dangerous, they’re an act of war. These poems remind us where our power comes from.”
Dr Judith Nangala Crispin
“How it is that childbearing – an experience at once common and richly diverse – has so often been constructed as a literary backwater, not seen as literature’s proper domain? The anthology What We Carry puts childbearing, in all its variety, firmly at the centre. Pregnancy wished for, strived for, accidental, rejected, relished, endured. The sorrow and trauma of pregnancy loss. What happens during labour, and in its wake. It does this in language that is – among other things – uncompromising, exhilarating, tender, elemental, shocking. This is a fine anthology of human experience. Whether you’re female, male, enby, have children or don’t, I encourage you to open yourself to the power of these words.”
Alicia Sometimes, Anne Casey, Anne Elvey, Anita Patel, Audrey Molloy, Bogumiła Żongołłowicz, Brendan Bonsack, Bron Bateman, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Claire Delahunty, Dani Netherclift, Debbie Lim, Dominique Hecq, Durga Wolf, Eileen Chong, Eleanor Jackson, Ella Kurz, Emily Sun, Es Foong, Esther Ottaway, Felicity Plunkett, Gillian Swain, Ivy Alvarez, Jacqui Malins, Jeanine Leane, Jennifer Compton, Jennifer Harrison, Jen Webb, Jo Langdon, Jodi Vial, Judith Bishop, Kim Cheng Boey, Kirli Saunders, Lauren Hodes, Leni Shilton, LK Holt, Lucy Alexander, Lucy Dougan, Magdalena Ball, Maria Takolander, Mark Tredinnick, Melinda Smith, Michelle Cahill, Miriam Wei Wei Lo, Moya Pacey, M.T.C. Cronin, Nadia Rhook, Nandi Chinna, Natalie D-Napoleon, Natalie Harkin, Nathan Curnow, Nicole Smede, Paul Collis, Penelope Layland, Petra White, Quinn Eades, Relja Cvjetićanin, Reneé Pettitt-Schipp, Rose Lucas, Saba Vasefi, Samia Goudie, Simone King, Suneeta Peres da Costa, Susan Fealy, Susie Walsh, Vesna Flower Cvjetićanin, Zeina Issa