Michelle Cahill

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 …

Posted in 107: LIMINAL | Tagged

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Winners for the Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem 2017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Poetry Festival, and named in honour of a distinguished Queensland poet, the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem is committed to encouraging poets throughout Australia. 2017 Selection panel: Stuart Barnes and Michell Cahill.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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Review Short: Michelle Cahill’s The Herring Lass

Michelle Cahill is well-known to contemporary Australian readers as a poet, editor and fiction writer. She is the winner of the 2017 UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing (one of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards), the Val Vallis Award, and the Hilary Mantel International Short Story Prize, and has been shortlisted for other major prizes.

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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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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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Timothy Yu Reviews Contemporary Asian Australian Poets

A decade ago, Cordite Poetry Review asked me to write a review of its tenth issue, ‘Location: Asia-Australia.’ In my review, I wrote that while the issue did a splendid job of showing the intersection between two separate places called ‘Asia’ and ‘Australia,’ it was less clear whether the ‘Asian-Australian’ could also be a thing unto itself, a kind of writing that might be visible within domestic as well as international spaces.

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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 …

Posted in 54: TRANSPACIFIC | Tagged

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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Asian Australian Diasporic Poets: A Commentary

This essay provides a survey of the poetry of some Asian Australian poets, and does not attempt to be definitive. Diasporic poetics raise more questions than they answer and are just as much about dis-placement as about place, just as much about a ‘poetics of uncertainty’ as about certainties of style/nation/identity.

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Flash Bulbs in the Dark: Women are Dynamite

The poetry canon does women few favours. Over the years, I’ve had to seek out and find my own choice femmes to balance out the bookshelves. Never feeling the pull of Plath or Dickinson, I went from Sappho to Aphra …

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Heather Taylor-Johnson Reviews Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill’s second collection is marvellously named Vishvarūpa, Sanskrit for “manifold, having all forms and colours”. The cover is classic black and silver, with a close-up photograph of a Hindu deity’s sculpture. If the package says anything, it’s intelligent. And the package does not lie. Cahill may laze in the splendour of nature or love, as is the way with so many poets, but she does so with extensive layering.

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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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Angela Costi Reviews Poetry Without Borders

There is a deep sigh of relief when we come across Poetry Without Borders, an anthology willing to cross unknown terrain to bring us the voices of poets rarely heard. Whether it's due to language, cultural, economic or psychological factors, those poets who have migrated or are considered to be 'new arrivals' are hardly published.

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