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.
Disquieting and deeply moving, Shane Strange’s debut collection inhabits a space that is somehow both intimate, and remote. All Suspicions Have Been Confirmed is marked by precise, pared back language, and immediate, hauntingly resonant imagery: we move through the space and places, the cities, the landscapes of these poems almost as we might move through a film, or a vividly remembered dream.
Jackson’s new collection traverses science and spirituality, philosophy and matter. Drawing from physics, systems theory, Daoism and more, it contemplates profound questions about our place within a world of being. With deft silences and fine observations, these poems explore both modern and ancient paths to knowledge, seeking to ‘fully apprehend nature, including our fellow beings, and foster a reverent respect for it’.
Get all twelve of our new poetry collections released as they are released 2022
Featuring new work by:
July Anita Patel, Theodore Ell August
Anders Villani, Rico Craig September
Paul Munden, Paul Hetherington October
Denise O’Hagan, Peter Bakowski November
Bronwyn Lovell, Penelope Layland, Michael J. Leach, Dominic Symes
These are poems of love and loss, they imagine a world where hawks fly from the arms of lovers and disappear into a dying world, where golden fish rise from rivers and tangle themselves in hair, where molecules and mist carry messages of love through cites. In this collection, beginnings and endings slice across each other, modern and mythic intertwine, the everyday is stirred into a world of metaphor and incantation. Individual poems chime off each other, creating strands of narrative which circle the collection’s central symbol, the nekhau — small fish-shaped amulets crafted by ancient Egyptians and plaited through the hair of loved ones to ward off drowning. In a contemporary and at times imaginary world, the poems become nekhau, articulating the fears and dangers underlying love in order to subdue them. In doing so the poems transform many tropes of love poetry, repositioning them in contexts both everyday and otherworldly. The bodies in these poems fight against the mortality of love, they borrow lore and build new myths as a way to protect love’s fragility. Glistening with musicality and precision, these poems twist and shimmer like fish leaping toward the fears that have shaped them.
Whether in the Venetian footsteps of Vivaldi, at the birth of the Owen and Sassoon violins or the score of a Sam Peckinpah film, these poems present a wealth of musical scenarios, all interconnected in their themes, tonality and form. Their reverberations reach across time and space, from England and Italy to the Australian outback, with the visual arts also in the mix. And yet the core of this book is deeply personal, the poet present as a ten-year-old boy, lover, grandfather – or anachronistic witness – at the various trials of life through which creativity and even humour somehow flourishes.
With stunning formal range and architectural design, Anders Villani’s second collection explores how violence engenders selfhood by calling it into radical question. What does it mean to suffer in a body that also symbolises power? How can poetry, alert to the ‘blur’ and the ‘panorama’, trace this moral dissonance at its subtlest and most intimate? How do notions of illness and recovery, victim and perpetrator, rest on fraught archetypes, and what alternate understandings emerge when these foundations waver? Villani roves between myth, confession, narrative, and dream to address such questions—not abstractly, but through the experiences of a subject whose capacity to love and be loved is at stake.
Novelistic in arc and scope, lyrically sensuous and searching, Totality invites readers on a journey of self-inquiry that dredges new channels in the contemporary poetics of trauma. As secrets reveal and conceal themselves, through the crucible of hypermasculinity, and with unstinting compassion, Villani’s poems venture an expansive and timely music.
Ragged Disclosures is a prose poetry collection that investigates liminality, intersubjectivity and the prose poetic sequence. These sequences combine to create a complex and distributed depiction of an intimate relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic in this era of climate change and political instability. As the volume considers the protagonists’ diverse experiences, it explores the development of connected poetic tropes while highlighting tensions between prose poetry’s compression and the countervailing tendency for sequential works to present an unfolding narrative arc. The inherent raggedness of the narrative gestures, combined with prose poetry’s condensed and suggestive boxes, is playful, contemporary and quintessentially poetic.
In April 2020, amidst the global pandemic of Covid-19, the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), the peak academic body representing the discipline of Creative Writing in Australasia, sent a call for contributions to The Incompleteness Book (2020: Recent Work Press). The storytellers and poets were asked to respond to the prompt: the incompleteness of human experience. The second edition represents the impetus to capture a composite picture of what writers made of this prompt, one year on. Contributors were asked to consider what they had discarded; what they coveted more closely than ever; whether they had learned something, about themselves or more broadly. In this thought-provoking collection contributors were asked to write back and think forward. The result is a multi-focal expression of: Where to, from here?
Anita Patel’s second collection of poetry takes us on a voyage into history, heritage, mythology and family. These poems scatter and drift through layers of time, across cultures and continents. They offer glimpses into past worlds and present realities. They pay tribute to the yearning of a migrant heart, the search for home and the tensile strength of women. This is poetry that peers through the cloudy lens of memory to examine the tattered web of relationships, language, landscapes and stories which make up a self.
True to its title, the poems in O’Hagan’s second poetry collection, Anamnesis, allude to a world hovering at the edges of our minds, one that can be sensed and yet lies, teasingly, just beyond conscious reach. The arc of poems through time and distance represents a summoning up of, and immersion in, small moments which reveal themselves to be quietly momentous; a distillation of personal experience from which we feel there is something to be collectively gleaned. The recovery of memory in its various facets is explored, and the poetry that emerges is both poignant and lyrical.
Via numerous portrait poems of real and fictitious people revealed in Our Ways On Earth Peter Bakowski returns our attention to the individual. Via clear, non-judgemental portraiture Our Ways On Earth saves, for our consideration, individuals who might otherwise be buried, lost to us, under a slag heap of statistics, demographics and generalisation.
Beginning in Sight is Theodore Ell’s first poetry collection. It brings together work written over more than ten years, tapping into the memories, life-stories and mirror-images that resist time and recouple bygone experience to the drifting world of today. The poems branch out from Ell’s original home of Sydney into its hinterland, the coast and the Hunter, snatching moments of respite and pleasure in troubled times, before finding new bearings in the Canberra region. Haunted by the presence of vanished lives and histories, these are poems of perseverance, endurance and a past that seems to know what is coming.