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Joan Fleming

Joan Fleming

Joan Fleming is the author of the collections Failed Love Poems (2015) and The Same as Yes (2011) from Victoria University Press, and the chapbooks Two Dreams in Which Things Are Taken (Duets, 2010) and Some People’s Favourites (Desperate Literature, 2019). Her post-collapse verse novel Song of Less was released in 2021. She holds a PhD in ethnopoetics from Monash University, and lives in Bulleke Bek, Melbourne.

Joan Fleming reviews 'Fifteeners' by Jordie Albiston

March 2022, no. 440 21 February 2022
Every poet has his or her addictions: words they use over and over again, ones they own ‘by right of obsessive musical deed’ (to quote Richard Hugo). For Emily Dickinson, it was thee, thou, and Death. For Sylvia Plath, it was him, nothing, go, and gone. For Gabriel García Lorca, it was sangre, lagrimas, negro, and corazón. For Jordie Albiston, it just might be world, the word that aims to co ... (read more)

Joan Fleming reviews 'Capacity' by LK Holt and 'Theory of Colours' by Bella Li

November 2021, no. 437 25 October 2021
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 ... (read more)

Joan Fleming reviews 'Short Poems of New Zealand' edited by Jenny Bornholdt

April 2019, no. 410 25 March 2019
A new anthology of bite-sized New Zealand poems is freshly out from Victoria University Press. VUP is the Wellington-based publisher closely associated with the University’s renowned creative writing school, known affectionately (or pejoratively, depending on your affiliation) as ‘The Bill Manhire School’. The anthology is edited by former NZ Poet Laureate Jenny Bornholdt, a softly spoken gi ... (read more)

Joan Fleming reviews 'Look at the Lake' by Kevin Brophy

September 2018, no. 404 24 August 2018
Kevin Brophy’s latest book is a record of the year he spent living in the remote Aboriginal community of Mulan. The community is home to predominantly Walmajarri people, and is on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, sixteen hours’ drive from Broome. He was given a decomposing house to live in – a ‘fixer-upper’, by all accounts – and spent his lunchtimes volunteering in the school libra ... (read more)

Joan Fleming reviews 'Domestic Interior' by Fiona Wright and 'The Tiny Museums' by Carolyn Abbs

May 2018, no. 401 03 April 2018
The classic lyric preoccupation with interiority, and how internal life touches and changes the outside world, finds expression in two recent collections of poetry: Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior and Carolyn Abbs’s The Tiny Museums. In both collections, the speakers draw the shapes of their internal furniture, while building monuments to the intimate scenes and common spaces that define them ... (read more)

Joan Fleming reviews 'The Blue Decodes' by Cassie Lewis and 'redactor' by Eddie Paterson

September 2017, no. 394 30 August 2017
Two recent collections by two very different voices have both been ‘blurbed’ as works of fragmentation. In her début collection, Cassie Lewis is described as speaking for ‘a generation whose ambitions and emotions have become very fractured and fragmented’. Eddie Paterson’s new book is full of redacted texts of digital trash and treasure; it is a blacked-out, cut-up collage of the textu ... (read more)