- 94: EARTHSUBMIT to M Takolander 93: PEACHCOMING SOONwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
In Awake at the Wheel, Berndt Sellheim’s debut collection of poems, Australia is imagined in gothic terms, from the eerie and persistent presence of the ‘bushland’s dark parchment’ to the bones and ghosts which haunt an endless landscape. An homage to country, there is little innocence embedded in these poems of insides and outsides, which speak not only to a transforming sense of self but also to an environment that ceaselessly, and often uneasily, shifts.
In ‘Sky Burial’, a poem about ‘the secrets inside / that we shamefully hide’, Seminara offers a provocation: ‘So listen / why don’t we share them? / Cut our guts open / and air them?’ It is an invitation to confession, but the visceral imagery is also a confrontation, an insistence on exposure which characterises much of Engraft, Seminara’s debut collection of poetry.
In ‘Balancing,’ Rose Lucas describes how Philippe Petit, the French high-wire artist made famous by his walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, ‘launched into a fitful middle space.’ With a ‘steady grip of muscle,’ Petit is imaged as a ‘machine riding air and sky,’ defying gravity as he dances ‘from element to element.’
In the untitled preface to Everyday Epic, Kerdijk Nicholson describes how ‘the poet grinds down / a sum of parts / to atoms’. The result is a world in which the most quotidian of instances and images are made ‘alchemically new’, an echo of Ezra Pound’s credo to repeat, but with difference. These lines also suggest that the process of grinding down is at once violent and erotic, displacing and magical, disturbing and strangely familiar.
These lines, suffused with an abiding sense of melancholy (perhaps unsurprising given Jones’s advancing years), encapsulate the contemplations of the poet throughout the collection: the possibilities of language, the significance of the quotidian and the inescapable experience of loss. Along with Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Jones is one of the few remaining Melbourne University poets and writers from the 1950s and 1960s. This circle comprised poets such as Dinny O’Hearn and Vincent Buckley and focused on a more academic style of poetry.
In its own words, Zenobia Frost’s Salt and Bone slinks ‘between ibis-legged houses / and wakeful graveyard’, and belongs to ‘the hour of the curlew’, a liminal space that speaks of ghosts and transformation. As a collection, the poems are pervaded with a sense of haunting, plagued by abject bodies ‘aching for salt and bone’, the suffocating presence of water, and the archeology of death. It is noteworthy that Frost’s work both begins and ends with a warning of the power of unknown and strange things; a reminder, perhaps, of the gaps that exist between the ‘real’ and the imagined.
While Lucy Williams’s Internal Weather is split into the unavoidable cycle of life – birth, childhood, and death – the collection as a whole is a love song, a tribute to ‘difficult events’ and ‘unattended shadows’. The poems emphasise how the ‘forming of words’ and the ‘making of stories’ locates these instances in specific moments of memory and time. Indeed, love is the lung-set of Internal Weather: love for a child, first love, romantic love, love lost, love for the dead, love that ‘surprises … like religion’ and thickens ‘doubt into determination’.
It has a full set of teeth and shouts her name, demanding conversation after months of entrapment in that dark wet space—it wants words, not food. And it is not forced out of her but pulls itself free, tiny fingers …