Anne Elvey

Obligations of Voice

Posted in 93: PEACH | Tagged

Banksia Integrifolia

Stencilled and still coast banksias—ubiquitous in your suburb— are ogrish in their sculpting. With no impulse toward symmetry they undermine your streetscape. Where the asymmetry of gums is elegant on the whole, a banksia bristles. It will not say consider …

Posted in 84: SUBURBIA | Tagged

20 Poets, a Free Anthology from Cordite Books

The geographic barriers that can, at times, hinder Australian literature are no longer relevant, and poetry communities around the world must be enlightened by the commanding, demanding and exciting trajectory of contemporary Australian poetics.

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Introduction to Anne Elvey’s White on White

What is happening in these poems? Or do I mean what happens to us, the readers? But which ‘us’? And what reader? I am not really talking about feeling, although who couldn’t, wouldn’t, feel when ‘School Days’ – a poem that records every detail of white skin and soul, sun-warmed government-issue school milk and British ritual in one colonial Australian home – has another child, likely an Indigenous Australian child, stolen ‘while waiting for a train’.

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On All Souls’ Eve

The map sketched on the oval of the Sir Douglas Nicholls Reserve had borders formed by the meander of Murray and Bay, Pacific and Bight, the straight lines of neighbour states and the name of a nineteenth-century queen. Stones marked …

Posted in 82: LAND | Tagged

Amytis of Media: Her Telling of the Days of Nebuchadnezzar’s Exile

White stars stud the indigo like the dowry on my veil when my father sent me from Media to sign a pact with Babylon. Neb has been wandering for seven years. At first our cattle flourished like the shrubs that …

Posted in 79: EKPHRASTIC | Tagged


In February 2016, after a High Court ruling against a challenge to the legality of Australia’s practices of arranging for the detention of asylum seekers in offshore facilities, a grass roots campaign mobilised around the slogan #LetThemStay. 267 people, including …

Posted in 77: EXPLODE | Tagged


A canvas stretches beneath the colours of camellias and rain. A child has left. The heads are petals tucked crimson around gold—the stamens, pollen- thick. A parent lives. Dropped from the stem they fall intact. A spouse is sutured and …

Posted in 72: THE END | Tagged

working from home – to do list

12 buttons brown thread take your psyche for a walk pack the wheelchair into the station wagon for the doctor’s kiss the cat kiss the cat? the cat died years ago water the herbs pray over the olive tree drench …

Posted in 71: TOIL | Tagged

Review Short: Julie Maclean’s When I saw Jimi, Kiss of the Viking and Kristin Hannaford’s Curio

Poems of England in the 1960s, youthful romanticism, experimentation and love are threaded with a wry understanding of gender relations and choices made, then move to more sober reflections. In ‘Brides that Never Became’, standing in an English church the speaker wonders about a relationship that might have been, had she not ‘looked over the lichened / fence, dry stone wall, / swollen ocean to another land’ (When I saw Jimi, 31). Outside by a river she finds a ‘flimsy tribute to a young Indian couple’ who have died there; their wedding also ‘never became’.

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Worth words? (or what I loved at fifteen)

I have felt, I have felt a disturbance that presences with the alleviation of joyed things, almost fifty summers, fifty winters and the sister in the earth, myself tucked into the YHA near Windermere. I take a track through ancestral …

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Cassandra Atherton Reviews Anne Elvey

The kinship Elvey forges between her poems and ecological criticism lends both rigour and reverence to her first full-length collection of poetry. There is a radiant stasis at the core of her poems that encourages the reader to listen to the susurration of multiple, overlapping conversations to which Elvey is contributing.

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The Day after the Election in a Melbourne Backyard

1. The cone roosts in the tree. The sky responds with blue. The radio crackles and the pundit says we get what we 2. deserve, electing a crowd of daleks with their rind and their heart of imagination and a …

Posted in 62: MELBOURNE | Tagged

Review Short: Diane Fahey’s The Stone Garden: Poems from Clare

A note on the copyright page of The Stone Garden reads: ‘The Stone Garden is written in tanka, the five-line Japanese lyric form, the first and third of its lines having five syllables, the others, seven.’ The book keeps to this syllabic form throughout with two five line poems to a page. These poems from Clare unfold in six sections and Fahey’s craft is evident in the way she can break registers of imagery with engaging shifts and turns.

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Recycling the possible

tear into pieces the possible drench it in rainwater steep for a season size it with sand fine as breath pass the slurry over an alveolar web let the sheet dry in watercolour light — inside the egg of the …

Posted in 43: OZ-KO (ENVOY) | Tagged

made things

bookbinder atlas and fire a medieval pronoun makeshift engine -Do not use boiling water- skin pores. adjectives on the underside of a kid draw the cosmopolitan in a tree. this new composition seasons the word and the thing on the …

Posted in 36: MADE | Tagged


In the thin place between the word and the thing, at the wall's inside, old wires intertwine and cockroaches are the hieroglyphs of home. I take your hand in these last nights and wait beside the Styx on a green …

Posted in 35: CUSTOM | Tagged


Clouds Hopkins across the blue page. Tufts with Oppenheimer mushrooms and vapour's glyphs are torn and tossed. A breeze pushes down the Celsius, gentle on my arm, like breath that stirs a lash, hardly at all. And Derrida's graffiti asks: …

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o murray o murray break (bending) the forgiveness of things what you (air and water) what you (bread) the place you lie down threads of the sheet that covers as if given for our breath drinking (food in us) here …

Posted in 33: PASTORAL | Tagged


All that is white in us in not pure nor (but driven to the breath of) snow that falls when the day turns cold. Our wanting all belonging (in this place), is even more the colon's gesture: already who bore …

Posted in 33: PASTORAL | Tagged