Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill writes fiction and poetry. Her novel Daisy & Woolf is published by Hachette. Letter to Pessoa was awarded the UTS Glenda Adams Award and was shortlisted in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards. Her prizes include the Red Room Poetry Fellowship in 2020 and the Helen Ann Bell Bequest shortlist for The Herring Lass (Arc) and for Dark.

icarus in the gloaming

i cannot deny the sky was alluring as Instagram despite curfew, gulls flying south into torn edges of violet-hued clouds. the power of bigotry is a machinery, often brutal returning from naarm, almost touching the moon before the next cruelty-free …

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We hear their voices echo across the estuary fathers, mothers, and children fishing, an old man with a cane walks up the steep track a lyre bird is scraping among the ferns Every imagined finch, and the whip bird’s call …

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and, i think to myself what a wonderful world

damaged like the stumps of burned trees barren as an opencut megamine plastic litter in the stomach of manatees the dull carapace, the cold-stunned loggerheads poachers targeting dehorned rhinos shanks in the noxious skin of the Murray-Darling sirens at dusk, …

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‘Myth is not merely decorative’: Prithvi Varatharajan Interviews Michelle Cahill

The subject of my interview with Cahill is her second book of poems, Vishvarūpa, which is a highly unusual book by a contemporary Australian poet. In Vishvarūpa Cahill reanimates figures from ancient Hindu mythology.

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Winners for the Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem 2017

Run by Queensland Poetry Festival, and named in honour of a distinguished Queensland poet, the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem is committed to encouraging poets throughout Australia. 2017 Selection panel: Stuart Barnes and Michell Cahill.

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The Fall

for my father Tibouchina, warm maple-leaf, elsewhere it is winter. My father standing at the doorway with a phlegmy cough in the damp basement flat, his gaze a despair, resignation, I fear before the rite of knowing. I take the …

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Extimate Subjects and Abject Bodies in Australian Poetry

This wry poem by Pan Zijie addresses language and human bodies as mobilised subjects. An Australian-born Chinese poet, Zijie has written in relative obscurity since publishing his first book, Vostok. Reading his striking collection Beijing Spring, published in 2015 by Maninriver Press, I wonder why I am not familiar with his work. After some online enquiries I learn that Pan holds a master’s in creative writing from Macquarie University and that he completed a PhD on representations of Chinese masculinity in Australian literature. His first collection received positive imprimaturs from David Brooks, Marcelle Freiman and Michael Wilding but I could find not a single review.

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A boy, I dreamed of being a captain in the ocean’s foreign policy, catching the fast currency, binding my pirogue with a rope to hold back the breakers. Listen, today a jazz singer drowned, the infringing Atlantic shipped pirates who …

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The Vanishing

They hung me upside down by the tail, molecules starched— those Irish trackers, old-timers. I was tribal, a trophy locked with rigor mortis. They forced my abysmal jaw, my cough worthy of attention. I would make no apology for stray …

Posted in PROTEACEAE | Tagged


It was school vacation, my daughter skiing with her father, my husband in board meetings, mynah birds drumming on the window panes, autumn gifts, my first ex. in a condo in Kuantan, (true friendships don’t crowd us, they are not …

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Day of a Seal, 1820

A tall ship patrols the coast, pelagic fish are vanishing. I sniff the kelp and bloodworms, mould into an eroded kerb with an akward wriggle of neck, whisking as if hiding my fur was natural as instinct for milk, or …

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Five Sijo For My Raider (침입자를 위한 다섯 수의 시조)

Enemy, you have raided my country, your handwriting floats

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Reading the Mahābhārata

Once in a ruptured past before mutiny or Midnight's Children,

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