Precise observation is considered a prerequisite for poetry, but there are limits as to what a surfeit of detail can bring to a poem, or even to an entire volume. Three new poetry collections, each different in tone and subject matter, deploy close observation to varying degrees of success across poems that scrutinise domestic tension, interspecies dynamics, landscape, and everyday grace.... (read more)
On this bright morning
a cruel wind is up.
I don't care –
last night I strode among the stars.
Black swan shelter in the sandhills' lee,
while pelicans stand preening
on the lagoon's edge.
We each must share our little pill
of poison – a tattooed drummer,
a drunk, a married man –
while we sit at kitchen tables
drinking tea with other ...
How's Possibly doing today?
She's okay, she's possibly
recovering from a possible asthma attack.
What's Possibly doing? The impossible,
That's what. Attending to twenty students
some of whom will possibly fail
tasks Possibly set which they feel
are impossibly high.
Possibly is cooking dinner for ten
and being polite in impossibly demanding
To enter the bed we kneel
And fall into the white abyss.
Sleep is a form of fainting
The altar of the pillows swirls with wisps
Of fading consciousness – a priest
Comes down the aisle flicking dreams out
From an ancient ewer.
Watch a sleeping man
Even then they still seem awesome
To me with an air of tragedy
Like a fal ...
You ought to ring up
The farm may have disappeared
Into the river – as it does from time to time –
Or the trees in the orchard bloomed with stars
Or the geese may have rowed
in the blue dinghy adorned with hundreds
of marigolds to the island
with six of them sitting straight up
on the bench, the other two heaving an oar
while the rooster watches ...
I was the dressmaker's daughter
our dialogue was fabric, colour,
embroidery, pins and scissors.
The almost silent sound
of snipped cloth falling
on the table round my feet.
A bodice of pins drew down
over my head like a scaffold.
I spent my childhood in the sea
or standing on a table – 'A sway back!'
she said proudly.
Once I wore a tab ...
In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Francesca Sasnaitis introduces Kate Llewellyn who reads her poem 'Oxytocin' which features in the 2016 South Australian anthology.... (read more)
Kate Llewellyn is the author of twenty-four books comprising eight of poetry, five of travel, journals, memoirs, letters and essays. She is the co-editor of The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets and ...