Storm and Honey
Giramondo, $22 pb, 96 pp
Judith Beveridge is one of the most brilliant image-makers in Australian poetry. She writes of rain ‘bubble-wrapping the windows’ and yachts making a sound ‘as if cutlery were being replenished on table tops’. Her images, exuberant and fantastical, hold a balance between the real and the imagined world – as Gwen Harwood’s poem, ‘Thought Is Surrounded by a Halo’, closes: ‘Picture two lovers side by side / who sleep and dream and wake to hold / the real and the imagined world, / body by body, word by word …’
In Storm and Honey, Beveridge holds this balance between word and body not only in her imagery but also in her use of narrative. A sequence, ‘Driftgrounds: Three Fishermen’, forms the major part of this collection. This sequence of dramatic monologues tracks the working life of three fishermen, and works as a remarkable balancing act. The poems in it, always lucid, take their energy from the way they hold a line between opposing possibilities.