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Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt is the author of two award-winning books of poetry, Aria and The Hazards (UQP), and a forthcoming volume of essays on contemporary poetry, Fishing for Lightning: The Spark of Poetry (UQP, 2021). She is the recipient of a number of honours, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry and a Sydney Myer Creative Fellowship. As of 2021, she is the Judy Harris Writer in Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, and works as a Professor at QUT.

'Empires of Mind', a poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

December 2021, no. 438 24 November 2021
Beside the fountain’s troupe of sun-bleached rubber ducks,in the gardens, under a shade sail,my father is crying about Winston Churchill.Midway through a lunch of cremated schnitzelspoon-fed by the carer with the port-wine stainmy father is crying about Winston Churchill. In the night he cries out for Winston Churchill.During his morning bath he cries for Winston Churchill.When the nurse does u ... (read more)

'The Gift', a poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

June 2021, no. 432 26 May 2021
In the garden, my father sits in his wheelchairgarlanded by summer hibiscuslike a saint in a seventeenth-century cartouche.A flowering wreath buzzes around his head –passionate red. He holds the gift of deathin his lap: small, oblong, wrapped in black.He has been waiting seventeen years to open itand is impatient. When I ask how he ismy father cries. His crying comes as a visitation,the body squ ... (read more)

'Classical Allegory', a new poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

December 2019, no. 417 22 November 2019
To hell with what you think of me.I’ve started drinking martinis at three.I wake, I walk, I write, I sleep.I snooze the alarm. I doze. I read.Sometimes I listen to Carmen McRaeand pity you an inch. Not often.Mostly I think about who’ll be nextnow you’re gone. I stay out extravagantly late.I buy myself a new coat, oysters, peonies.I take long baths with a flute of champagne.In bars, I sip whi ... (read more)

'Night Flight', a new poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

September 2019, no. 414 27 August 2019
As my plane drops down in turbulence I think of you and of Salt Lake City, I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes and of Omaha and of adamant plains. I think of all the places I have never been: Caracas, La Paz, Kingston. I think of the way our bodies puzzled together in that room over pine woods where night deer passed in the snow, their lonesome inscrutable tracks sluicing in th ... (read more)

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume 2: 1956–1963' edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil

January-February 2019, no. 408 18 December 2018
Sylvia Plath wrote her last letter to the American psychiatrist Dr Ruth Beuscher a week prior to her suicide on 11 February 1963. In it, Plath castigates herself for being guilty of ‘Idolatrous love’, a concept she drew from psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. ‘I lost myself in Ted instead of finding myself,’ Plath writes, identifying the subsumption of her ego ... (read more)

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'The Children’s House' by Alice Nelson

October 2018, no. 405 25 September 2018
What are the limits of maternal love? How do children fare in its absence? Is mothering a socialised behaviour or a biological impulse? These are the questions Alice Nelson pursues in her second novel, The Children’s House, which draws its title from the name given to the separate quarters alloted to children in the communal child-rearing characteristic of life in kibbutzim in Israel. The idea u ... (read more)

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'Feel Free: Essays' by Zadie Smith

April 2018, no. 400 26 March 2018
‘When I was younger even the appearance of “I” on the page made me feel a bit ill,’ Zadie Smith confesses in her new book of essays, Feel Free. Shades of this chariness about the personal pronoun still persist in her non-fiction today, which is markedly self-effacing. From the outset, Smith repeatedly attempts to ditch the mantle of authority: ‘I have no real qualifications to write as I ... (read more)

'Lapis Lazuli/Sketches from the Nile' by Sarah Holland-Batt | States of Poetry Queensland - Series One

States of Poetry Queensland - Series One 22 February 2016
I. You tilt lapis to your lip –a day light as wicker. By the water, bullrushes bowinto sailboat blue, lace-necked egrets fossick and pick,and the elements rearrange a goliath heron's skull to mud.Up on the embankment a crouching child scratcheshis name into a temple wall. II. Ultramarine, lapis lazuli—today it seems possible to boil queens to bone and paint,unlike our childhood saints ... (read more)
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