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LK Holt

'Nina in the Hag Mask', a new poem by L.K. Holt.

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Capacity by LK Holt & Theory of Colours by Bella Li

November 2021, no. 437

These days, poetry is primarily a visual experience. So claims the American poet and theorist Cole Swensen, whose essay ‘To Writewithize’ argues for a new definition of ekphrasis. Traditionally understood to be writing about visual art, ekphrasis typically has a poet stand across from a painting or sculpture, in a kind of face-off, and write about it. To ‘writewithize’, however, is to take a different approach: this is not writing made about art but made with it. This is writing that, in Swensen’s words, ‘lives with the work and its disturbances’. Two new Vagabond releases by Bella Li and LK Holt are doing ekphrastic and intertextual work that is exquisitely disturbing. These are moody books of allusion and visual play by two of Melbourne’s most brilliant poets.

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'101, Taipei' by Nicholas Wong, 'Compass' by Eileen Chong, 'The Abstract Blue Background' by LK Holt, 'Decoding Paul Klee’s Mit Grünen Strümpfen (With Green Stockings) 1939' by Katherine Healy, and 'breather' by Tracey Slaughter.

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Letters to the Tremulous Hand by Elizabeth Campbell & Man Wolf Man by L.K. Holt

May 2008, no. 301

John Leonard Press produces beautiful books of poetry. Proof of the editor’s precise standards, L.K. Holt’s Man Wolf Man features a fine, bullet-sized insignia of a wolf man’s head after the title page. But as Leonard has shown in publishing three (out of four) first books by young Australian women poets, he is not bound to tradition. Holt’s book, with its combination of formal style and feminist obscenity, and Elizabeth Campbell’s Letters to the Tremulous Hand, which includes poems about medieval scribes and human trafficking, suggest that Leonard’s aesthetic is more radical than most. Could it be time for young Australian women poets to shine? Are these two poets among the bright young things of a Generation of ’08?

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