WINNER OF THE ACT WRITER’S CENTRE WRITING AND PUBLISHING AWARD 2020
Sandra Renew’s new poems interrogate the choices made in living and performing gender, sexuality and desire—of struggling to be queer in an Australia of Holden utes and rotting mangoes, XXXX stubbies and Bundy rum, boudoir drawers and country roads, toad princes and wanting to be Wesley Hall. It is a book of not wanting to conform, charting the myriad pressures society places on conformity as a mode of survival. It is a brave, and sometimes funny book, filled with wry and deeply felt images and observations
These haiku were written over three summers, camping on our piece of land near Waihi in Aotearoa New Zealand, and, for contrast, one winter sojourn there in our newly-built gypsy wagon. The land is bordered by the Mataura stream—which means ‘red face’. We call the place ‘Land of the shining stream’ or ‘River’s edge’. The eels are named Brad and Angelina. One day, we’ll build a house there. In the meantime, we’re developing the land along permaculture principles, and noting moments both practical and transcendant.
This new prose poetry sequence from Paul Hetherington explores the power of memory and the hauntings of childhood. It takes the reader on a sensuous and richly imagistic journey into expansive ideas of self and identity. It probes and questions the nature of recollection, and how the role of the father and mother may be understood, drawing on a number of existing literary works to create elaborately poetic and deeply satisfying verbal textures.
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’.
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.
In A Common Garment, Anita Patel reminds us that nothing is ordinary. These intensely sensuous poems are rich in flavour, scent, colour, and the sound and feel of languages that inhabit the body and shape our unique selves.
The poems in (Un)belonging explore physical and psychological spaces, examining the consequences of a life lived on three continents, defined by separation from homelands and loved ones, shaped by departure and return, and the evolution and multiplication of identity. Throughout the collection, the setting continually moves from Australia to Ireland to the United States, making stops in England, Iceland, Greece, Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia. O’Reilly’s poetry engages with a range of concerns and obsessions, including identity, belonging, expatriation, immigration, exile, ancestry, landscape, alienation, homesickness, suburbia, fatherhood, nostalgia, death and grief … finding beauty, contentment and joy amidst an elusive quest for home.
When Charity finds letters, journals and sketches in the roof of her great-aunt’s house, she uncovers a rich family history that she must piece together from fragments. Great-aunt Birdie’s letters to her lover are a compelling and revealing account of life for many women in the 1930s. Her experiences as an artist in the first decades of the century, and her earlier relationship with a young man who goes to war, also provide powerful insights into a woman who, as Charity begins to suspect, wanted more than her era would allow.
Gladland is a poetic tale of what heartbreak can and can’t do to a modern woman. Set to a 1970s psychosonic soundtrack, and staged in various cities from Detroit to Rome and Perth, these poems are glamrock operettas of everyday life, well-versed in its romantic absurdities and glories.
In turns unsettling and funny, Oliver Driscoll’s debut collection is a testament to the mundane resonances of contemporary life and language. Driscoll’s wry eye captures the subtle whimsy of the everyday, while exploring the capacity of its language to disturb the field of human meaning.
Man-handled, Melinda Smith’s seventh poetry collection, includes the found-text chapbook Listen, bitch plus new work from the last three years. Its central concern is gendered violence, both verbal and physical. These poems also extend their gaze to violences perpetrated in the names of colonialism, nationalism and capitalism. While this is Smith’s angriest book, it still takes time to celebrate moments of connection and wonder.
90 poets from across the world reflect on a this marker of a time before the 24-hour news cycle, before the ubiquity of news and information that seems to haunt us through our daily lives. Through this anthology there are poems that capture that moment of nothing but piano music making up an evening news bulletin, poems that contrast this with today’s news, and personal stories grounded in the intervening years.
Meerabai (1498-1556) was a poet, singer and dancer and a devotee of Hindu god Krishna. She is revered as one of the prominent voices of the Bhakti Movement: a movement of religious reformation which valued personal engagement with deities over traditional ritualistic practices.
Rain Clouds offers fifteen of her devotional love poems in both Hindi and English, translated by multi-lingual scholar and poet Subhash Jaireth.
‘Some Sketchy Notes on Matter came together slowly around preoccupations of safety and shelter at an individual, societal and global level. I also wanted to look at the tensions between digital and analogue reality, between the city and a natural world that exists without us, strange, compelling and precarious. At its worst these tensions become an imbalance, a violence, threatening not only the individual body but the entire planet.’
Story Ground is a place of story, of attentiveness and support. A place where stories are held safely and dearly, and are shared bravely—the very foundation of Community and Culture.
Story Ground: The anthology is a collection of prose writing, poetry and storytelling deriving from a series of workshops based on traditional Indigenous practices of storytelling and knowledge. The authors come from far flung places. Their writings here are breathtakingly powerful. This anthology is for the keeping and for returning to—a collection that you will find yourself reading and embracing, time and again.
Lucy Alexander’s new collection is suffused with subtle observations of nature, childhood, and memory. In imagery loaded with both immediacy and resonance, each ‘stroke’of these luminous poems invokes the sense that great and shifting worlds are coiled within even the smallest of things..