Siobhan Hodge



Introduction to Siobhan Hodge’s Justice for Romeo

Justice for Romeo, as a title, will seem both accurate and misleading for most readers; this is a book decidedly concerned with justice, and Siobhan Hodge’s sense of ethical responsibility pervades the poems. Hodge’s book includes as epigraph the exchange between Romeo and a servant in Act I, Scene ii of the most famous love story of all time; the servant asks, ‘I pray, can you read any thing you see?’, to which Romeo replies, ‘Ay, if I know the letters and the language.’

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Siobhan Hodge Reviews Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry

Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetrypresents 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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Review Short: David Gilbey’s Pachinko Sunset

David Gilbey’s long-standing connections with Japan take centre stage in Pachinko Sunset, a collection that embraces simple, direct form to explore a layered series of issues linked with this relationship. The titular ‘pachinko’ refers to a popular Japanese game akin to pinball, in which a cascade of small metal balls are released to strike pins and be channelled off into different locations, with different prize implications for each. This image is a fair comparison for the text as a whole, as Pachinko Sunset delivers a sequence of poems in constant activity, heading in numerous directions at once, yet intrinsically caught up in the anxieties and ironies of travelling, translating, and relating Australia to Japan.

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Review Short: Gina Mercer’s weaving nests with smoke and stone

Gina Mercer’s latest collection, weaving nests with smoke and stone, is a delicate assembly of sights and sounds, visually rich and focused on the natural. Mercer’s repetition of the word ‘fossick’ throughout the collection aptly summarises the poetic processes involved. This is a collection of quick, searching movements. Lyrically deft, musical and richly preoccupied with natural elements, the poems construct meeting points for nature and humanity, ceding more and more with each piece along the way.

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Review Short: Shari Kocher’s The Non-Sequitur of Snow

Dr Shari Kocher’s The Non-Sequitur of Snow is her first full-length publication, following nearly two decades of feature poems in a range of Australian and international journals. There is an airy sense of activity throughout this volume. Kocher’s poetic settings range freely between the material and the imagined, forging connections across generations, yet coming through with surprising steel in some pieces. Structurally the collection is diverse, flowing, and occasionally more experimental.

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Review Short: Rob Walker’s tropeland

South Australian poet Rob Walker’s latest collection, Tropeland, is exceptionally playful. Puns and wry twists in language are balanced with humour and a self-conscious sense of otherness, the speakers always slightly displaced from their subjects. Walker is not pessimistic in this process however; there is a consistently optimistic tone throughout Tropeland, as well as a canny awareness of failings and ironies in life.

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Exploring and Renegotiating Transparency in Poetry Translation

To read poetry in translation, no matter how ‘close’ the rendering is to the original text, is to necessarily involve another figure in the reading and interpreting process. Readers of translations are not only receiving the work of the original …

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Review Short: Susan Bradley Smith’s Beds For All Who Come

Susan Bradley Smith’s newest collection, Beds For All Who Come, is a delicate investigation into the lives of multiple historical figures, transitioning between the public and the personal. The collection is an excellent example of écriture féminine in that a range of individual female voices write to one another, but also acknowledge a fringe of male figures, assessing imagined and historical feelings and experiences, while also exposing some potential issues with this model.

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Stone Horses

Each horse in this frieze is unique in temperament and personality. No horse is a duplicate of any other; the arrangement of head, neck, body, and limbs differs in each, even if only slightly… – “Horse Care as Depicted on …

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Speaking Geographies: Collaboration Over Distance

When in transit and upon receipt, to whom does a postcard and its contents belong? This is one of the questions at the forefront of Speaking Geographies, a collaborative poetry collection by Siobhan Hodge and Rosalind McFarlane. This collection, composed …

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Crossing the Real

Each step is measured in potential thrust rivets twist and divide all strain banks curve away, harshness of lines ascend from hours lung squeeze we span miles all centred floats ghosting ferryways shift territory we revise borders steel shanked and …

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Crossing in Real Time

How should we perform this act of – connection – ? Belief and bridges: ( a journey of suspension but the supports ) are a dissipating concave into this dragon harbour. Can we cantilever ^ this ^ uprising? Or perhaps …

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Review Short: Vanessa Page’s Confessional Box

Confessional BoxAustralian poet Vanessa Page’s latest collection, Confessional Box, is equal parts personal and critical, examining emotional relationships with a terse, engaging style. As the title suggests, there is a strongly self-aware element to Confessional Box. The poems are relatively open, encompassing a range of points of view and personas, but these are not wholly simple reflections of human relationships. Rather, Page presents a series of evolving sections, embellishing on memories and balancing broader criticisms against more personally orientated notions of access and invitation.

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Review Short: Kit Kelen’s China Years: New and Selected Poems

China Years: New and Selected PoemsAustralian poet Christopher Kit Kelen’s most recent collection, China Years: selected and new poems, contains English and Chinese pieces, presented side by side in translation, along with original artwork. Kelen’s strong interest in translation is immediate on the front cover and throughout the collection, highlighting a focus on creating points of access. When paired with Kelen’s original ink and watercolour drawings, interspersed as breaks throughout the text, a reading approach that is both fluid and inclusive is encouraged.

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Review Short: Siobhan Hodge’s Picking Up the Pieces

Picking Up the PiecesPicking Up the Pieces is a compact debut of eight poems from West Australian poet Siobhan Hodge. Its publisher, Wide Range Chapbooks, is a Cambridge based small press run by John Kinsella. Wide Range publishes poets such as Redell Olson, Rob Mengham and Drew Milne mixed in alongside young and emerging local poets, many of them students like Hodge (who in 2012 undertook a research residency in Cambridge). The collegial spirit of Wide Range and the relatively modest production values – Hodge’s book comes stapled in a photocopied card cover – suggests a publishing model that favours immediacy and ease of circulation, in a town where poetry and thinking are a constant activity.

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Siobhan Hodge Reviews Bonny Cassidy

Certain Fathoms 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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Bersyarat | Conditionals

Bersyarat Jurang pemisah membuka dan di sekitarnya retakan-retakan bumi menggigit sulur rasa dari mulut tinggal mengering, simbiosis retakan tepi merah. Perkataan perempuan itu terlepas dan berlari menertawai lainnya tak berlipat, lengan sang lelaki kokoh dan hangat bila dipegang menggerogot memompa …

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Siobhan Hodge Reviews Eileen Chong

Burning Rice
Burning Rice by Eileen Chong
Australian Poetry, 2012

Eileen Chong’s Burning Rice is steeped in images of food, family and connectivity. The poems thematically span geographical and chronological distances in order to make links between cultural and ancestral origins. Culinary references combine to create comforting images of solidarity in the face of isolation and anxiety. However, this is not a chapbook wholly steeped in nostalgia.

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Transmissions: 3 Translations of Sappho

‘Transmissions’ comprises of creative translations and selective re-orderings of some fragmentary works of ancient Greek poet Sappho. These compilations emphasise the occasionally violent and manipulative nature of Sappho’s poems, the potential for multiple interpretations through lacunae, and some possible implications of imposing narratives on a poet about whom we know so little and whose works survive only in pieces.

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The Gendered Gothic: Dorothy Hewett’s Alice in Wormland

Dorothy Hewett and ‘zombies' are not generally found in the same sentence. However, Hewett liberally utilises Gothic tones and imagery in her poetry. These Gothic trappings do not serve only as motifs: they permeate the mood, conflicts and resolutions of Hewett's Alice in Wormland. This collection, published in 1987, combines pseudo-autobiographical elements with parody, mythology, and morbid images to ultimately reach a strangely optimistic resolution.

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