Bonny Cassidy

Not Touching the Void, Listening for the Drip: Witnessing Water Cycles

As I researched the area of ancient volcanic ground along the Loddon and Coliban Rivers in Central Victoria alongside my daughter, poet Bonny Cassidy (incidentally my old home grounds) my thoughts pushed further into the origins and beginnings of water systems and I began to think on how water is born, its actual beginnings in deep time.

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The Star

I return to the valleys and hills, following channels overland into dips. The ceiling’s low, roof gone. I taste yellow smoke mixing with the roots of a cloudbank. Lichen moves fast and waits to dry. People here talk about the …

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Introduction to Prithvi Varatharajan’s Entries

I’ve noticed that Prithvi Varatharajan thinks carefully about offering a true gesture, word or position in every social exchange. I sense that, for him, all communication is an art defined by authenticity rather than decadence. His reflective nature is continuous with the character of the poetics in Entries.

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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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Siobhan Hodge Reviews Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry

Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry presents a compelling cross-section of feminist voices, experiences and engagements in Australia, picking up from where Kate Jenning’s 1975 feminist anthology Mother, I’m Rooted: An Anthology of Australian Women Poets left off.

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews The Hatred of Poetry

Reflecting Ben Lerner’s considerable reputation as a novelist and poet, this essay speaks in a voice both sure and self-deprecating. At this level it has already fulfilled a conventional definition of its genre – the effort of rhetoric to explore an idea or problem. The problem that Lerner considers – why is poetry a subject of hatred? – is hardly urgent, and he is quick to admit this. After all, the essay’s topic is an inverted defence of poetry, a tradition with a long history. The pleasures of this contribution, therefore, are Lerner’s unashamed and confident belief in poetic form, and the sympathetic truth to be found in his conclusions.

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Unbidden: Settler Poetry in the Presence of Indigenous Sovereignty

Influenced and shaped by some fifty years of Indigenous poetry in English, the last couple of decades of Australian settler poetry have advanced prolific attempts to ‘write (oneself) into the country’ (Van Teeseling 209): producing varied and sometimes radical poetries of regionality, topography, climate, and the histories, narratives and landmarks running through and over them.

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The New Reality in Australian Poetry

The generation of Murray is not my generation. The generation of Adamson is not my generation either. Nor is it Tranter or Kinsella.

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead

As Feature Reviews Editor and sometime reviewer for Cordite Poetry Review it is an unusual (and therefore fun) privilege to consider a title in which poetry is critically addressed in the company of other forms. Too often it is it either quarantined within poetry-only criticism, or mentioned as an embarrassing aside to discussions of prose.

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At the close of his poem for this issue, ‘Heaven, Bruny Island’, Ken Bolton writes how the radio ‘seems to have stopped to listen’. As I reflect on the poems constellated here, I feel they are doing similarly; attending to something that is neither absent nor present. They are listening to signs of that abstract ground: transtasman.

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Bonny Cassidy Interviews Sophie Collins

Based in Belfast, Sophie Collins is co-founder and editor of tender, an online quarterly promoting work by female-identified writers and artists.

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Submission to Cordite 51: TRANSTASMAN Open!

Photo by Nicholas Walton-Healey Poetry for Cordite 51: TRANSTASMAN is guest-edited by Bonny Cassidy I’ll be looking for poems that can swim, fly, float, sail and possibly even skim across the very short and very deep difference between Australia and …

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Reclaimed Land: Australian Urbanisation and Poetry

In the late 1850s, Charles Harpur composed the image of ‘a scanty vine,/ Trailing along some backyard wall’ (‘A Coast View’). It might be forgettable, save for its conspicuousness in Harpur’s bush-obsessed poetry. Whether purple ranges or groaning sea-cliffs, his poems cleave to a more-than-human continent. The scanty vine, however, clings to a different surface: human-made – the craft of a drystone wall, perhaps, or wire strung through posts like the twist of the poetic line – it signals domestic land division. Harpur’s vine of words trails along the vertical edifice of settlement.

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Justin Clemens Reviews Poetry and the Trace

Sometimes irritating, often informative, occasionally incisive and sporadically genuinely interrogatory, the thoughtfulness evinced by (many of) the writings collected in Poetry and the Trace triggers further chains of association and dissociation. This is a genuinely critical collection in various senses of that word: at once analytic, hortatory, and urgent.

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Light on red brick

for Alice define personism you say under the green light of Toto but that’s men’s business I am telling you how it was fine being trapped that time in your courtyard o’night scaling the wall of my first Fitzroy brick …

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Cassidy on with Feature Reviews and Future Themes

The bad news first … I am sorry to see the departure of Lisa Gorton as Cordite’s Feature Reviews Editor. Over the past 18 months, her astute eye, impeccable judgement and gracious style has produced – and leaves us with – a superb legacy of robust and engaging feature reviews. Gorton’s work is testament to what can happen with excellent writing from reviewers and an engaged editorial acumen.

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Spoon Bending: A Chapbook Curated by Kent MacCarter

There is no such thing as a good poem about nothing? What does that mean, exactly? And what’s all this about spoon bending anyways?

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Proteaceae: A Chapbook Curated by Peter Minter

In January 2013 I visited the inaugural exhibition of the new Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, an eclectic and compelling collection of works curated by Gavin Wilson and entitled ‘Picturing the Great Divide: Visions from Australia’s Blue Mountains’. I stood for what seemed like an hour before John Wolseley’s wonderful ‘The Proteaceae of NSW and Argentina 1996’ – a water colour and pencil work that is part of his ongoing creative enquiry into geological and biological temporalities, and one which advances an intensely felt and thought aesthetic of deep trans-historical and trans-biological emergence.

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Conveyor belt wriggling into action, cries rubbish rocks rubbish rocks the machine breaks floodlight, its flash a stingray covered, uncovered. The bulldozer rearing— pandanus bows with a shake dissolves drone tyres. From the rocks and rubbish one kid naked, thick-haired …

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It stood, sweating pages of ash. _________ Stretched days stare from stone and grass. I run into their light, regretting everything. _________ My fingers hook and unhook. Listening to voices hover up the wall and long bottles of flame explode. …

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

In her second poetry collection, Domestic Archaeology, Perth-based poet Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne mines a personal narrative with mixed results. While she manages to achieve interesting self-awareness in some of these confessional poems, others lack such clarity and humour.

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Bonny Cassidy Reviews Rosemary Dobson

Edited by the poet shortly before her death, Rosemary Dobson: Collected reminds us not only that Dobson was one of the last Eurocentric formalists in Australian poetry, but also that her very late poems turn away from that distant, ornate tradition. This ultimate edition contains Dobson’s eleven collections of poetry, poems published but not collected, plus a short selection from her tender and bold translations with David Campbell. Its tour of Dobson’s poetic dwelling is clear and fascinating.

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More Intensity: Topography of Poetry Outcrops

In April 2012, I published a Guncotton blog post, responding to a paper given by Peter Minter in Melbourne. Specifically I was interested in his proposal that Australian poetry could be viewed as an ‘archipelago’ of ‘psycho-geographic’ poetic activity. With thanks to Cordite Poetry Review for inviting me, and once again to Minter for his potent departure points, I’d like to expand on that post, particularly on seeking an alternative to national/ist and ‘monolithic’ ways of framing the poetry produced in and about this continent. By proposing an ‘archipelagic map’, Minter grants local poetry an appropriate critical framework that steers away from some problematic aspects previously encountered in reading and defining ‘Australian poetry’. In doing so, this framework negotiates a view of local poetry that is properly sensible to the actual, situated ethics of poetic practice and community.

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Siobhan Hodge Reviews Bonny Cassidy

Bonny Cassidy’s Certain Fathoms encourages readers to feel for the full extent of her poetic linkages, presenting a series of poems broken into two parts, inviting immediate and further reflection. The poems outwardly celebrate subtlety and linkage through their fragmentary structures, including much natural imagery and a quiet but definitive speaking voice.

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