Caitlin Maling


After Dimitra Harvey In my marriage we argue over building, offer each other tenders, bid on chores. I read my friend’s poem about cicadas, each season of stanzas carefully kneaded. She is a cook, bakes cakes so real the sugar …

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Caitlin Maling Reviews Dennis Haskell, Maree Dawes, Amy Lin and Miriam Wei Wei Lo

It’s a flourishing time for Western Australian poetry and publishing. We have seen the well-publicised launch of Terri-Anne White’s press Upswell (responsible for Scott-Patrick Mitchell’s 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Award’s shortlisted Clean) as well as the retention and success of UWA Publishing (who are currently bringing us the collected works of John Kinsella), while existing houses Magabala Books (home to Charmaine Papertalk Green, Ambelin Kwaymullina, and Elfie Shiosaki) and Fremantle Press (Andrew Sutherland’s 2022 Paradise: Point of Transmission having just been shortlisted for the Small Press Network Book of the Year) go strength-to-strength.

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NO THEME 12 Editorial

We have had the honour of editing this issue as two poets with collections published and forthcoming with Fremantle Press, and invited by Kent in the spirit of ‘shining a light’ on the thriving and amorphous field and bush that might be called ‘Western Australian poetry’.

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Submission to Cordite 109: NO THEME 12

We are now up to one dozen issues where there is no theme.

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Connor Weightman Reviews Gregory Kan’s Under Glass and Caitlin Maling’s Fish Song

Under Glass is the second book of poetry by New Zealand author Gregory Kan. Blurbed as a ‘dialogue between a series of prose poems … and a series of verse poems’, a reader might also happily call it a long poem or a verse novel.

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i) Walking in white socks, you watch the black dots jump and stick, trying to feel their way to where the blood is easier. Somehow they don’t sting and pinching them doesn’t crack, instead your blood is there on your …

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Diego’s Head

‘when[ever] I draw or sculpt or paint a head from memory it always turns out to be more or less Diego’s…’ Giacometti etd in. James Lord, A Giacometti Portrait (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, circa 1964), p. 24. …

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Winners for the Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem 2016

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. 2016 Selection panel: Chloe Wilson and Robert Sullivan Winner …

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I watch people gain weight. Not in the way a man on the internet pays a woman in another state to eat red velvet cake over a webcam does. But in the way of tides and sandbanks, or tulips emerging …

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Caitlin Maling Reviews Ellen van Neerven

Poems about food, such as those comprising Ellen van Neerven’s first collection Comfort Food, are often framed in terms of ideas of connection, community, and commonality. Van Neerven engages directly with these ideas, but emphasises their fault lines as much as their strengths. The poem I keep returning to appears early in the second of the book’s six loose sections.

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The Falling

I want the building that stretches up past the top of the white like driving up a summer road into heat-haze that ends, might end, here with low gray and I never noticed the sky. Why fear what’s out of …

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Recommendations for a Western Australian Coastal Pastoral

I am thinking about limits. The gaps between limits. Liminal, littoral spaces. The most fundamental part of ‘human’ consciousness is defined by lack of limits. Unless it is limited by life and death which are themselves littoral rather than literal …

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Caitlin Maling Reviews Alison Whittaker

Gomeroi poet Alison Whittaker’s debut collection Lemons in the Chicken Wire is a necessary addition to contemporary poetry. Deftly handled at both the level of the poem and the book, Whittaker’s work introduces us to the worlds of queer Aboriginal women living on the rural fringe of New South Wales.

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Tim Wright Reviews Caitlin Maling

Few writers seem to get the viciousness of Perth. John Mateer’s early poems do, and some of Deborah Robertson’s short stories. There’s also Laurie Duggan’s one-liner, ‘you can see why all the really savage punk bands came from here’ (‘Things to Do in Perth’), and for the encyclopaedic and lyrical, John Kinsella’s wonderful, aptly sprawling ‘Perth Poem’.

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Review Short: Alex Skovron’s Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems

While I was walking in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston with my cousin, I found myself discussing the conversations I seem doomed to repeat, the seemingly circular unending ones I’ve had over years, with myself and others without resolution.

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Karinjini by way of Kataby, Geraldton, Dongara, Carnarvon, Exmouth; by way of the Brand; by way of driving out at midnight, by way of fences and flametrees and bardi; by way of moonlight and the dog-star, the cross and Corona …

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Eurydice Speaks

(after Edward Hirsch) I You didn’t know how I hid my head in darkness, a child in the oak avoiding moonlight. How I could touch with only closed curtains, snuffed candle lingering in hair, in breath. How your skin burnt …

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Planting Roots: A Survey of Introductions to Ecopoetry and Ecocriticism

This year the most comprehensive attempt at anthologising American ecopoetry was released in the form of The Ecopoetry Anthology (Fisher-Wirth & Gray-Street). This work comes in the wake of increased ecoconsciouness in political, social, personal, academic and poetic spheres. This is the year that President Obama announced ‘global warming is real’ and all of America was forced, finally, to listen. Critical work addressing the ecological context of poetry, specifically ecocriticsm, has existed since Scigaj’s Four Eco-Poets (1999) and was expanded in Bryson’s Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction (2002); yet, while these works do a lot to initiate the conversation over what could be considered ecopoetry, it was not until The Ecopoetry Anthology that an attempt to gather and present the poetry itself was made in earnest.

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Caitlin Maling Reviews Randolph Stow

In his masterful and extensive introduction to The Land’s Meaning: New Selected Poems John Kinsella, who edited the volume, writes that much of Randolph Stow’s work is metaphoric, weaving things together in a way that promises narrative but actually reveals very little. Reading through this new selected poems, I was struck by the tension of poetry as public utterance of private speech, which characterizes Stow’s work. Whether dealing with myth, landscape, colonialism or love, these are poems that are selective in what they choose to reveal and particular in the techniques they use to reveal.

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Tacit Knowledge

Driving back from Zavalla at 5pm along some road towards Courpsville wondering exactly what I’m meant to watch the ice do on the bridge. This morning a snake came up from the undergrowth and I didn’t know whether it could …

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