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Anne Elvey

I was surprised by the title of Melbourne-based Anne Elvey’s recent collection, Obligations of Voice (Recent Work Press, $19.95 pb, 89 pp). Though quite a mouthful, it’s bravely deliberate; Elvey wants you to slowly voice and feel the syllables. Several poems centre on the mouth or lips for political, theological, even surrealist ends. The poem ‘Afternoon Tea, Seaford Beach Café’ begins with the line ‘A woman stands’. Floating in the right margin is the phrase ‘at the back of a throat’. These fragments coalesce to describe the woman’s mouth or the mouth she’s lodged in. Breathing and ‘charcoal’ gums are collaged with the ‘Dark // corrugations’ and the landscape of the sea. The last line surprises by changing tack: ‘A skiff // bounces on a swell.’ This clipped linguistic dexterity, with a flash of painterly movement, characterises Elvey’s nuance and facility.

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White on White by Anne Elvey & The Sky Runs Right Through Us by Reneé Pettitt-Schipp

January-February 2019, no. 408

Anne Elvey’s White on White and Reneé Pettitt-Schipp’s The Sky Runs Right Through Us both offer ideas of unsettlement in contemporary Australia; Elvey’s is the unsettlement brought by the arrival of colonists, whereas Pettitt-Schipp explores the unsettlement associated with ...

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body’s habitude begin
with buoyancy, a saturated skin ...

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Read the five Porter Prize shortlisted poems: 'Tailings' by Amanda Joy, 'Lament for "Cape" Kennedy' by Campbell Thomson, 'Rage to order' by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet, '... a passing shower?' by Dan Disney, and 'Prelude to a Voice' by Anne Elvey. ... (read more)

Kin by Anne Elvey

September 2014, no. 364

Kin, Anne Elvey’s first full collection of poetry, brings together a wide range of poems full of light and the acuity of close attention. These poems focus on a world of inter-relationships where tree and water, creature and human, air and breathing, coexist – suggestive of an underlying philo-sophy of humility and acceptance. This is a world which envisions at least the potential of balance and a non-hierarchical sharing, where self and other, the natural world, and the devices and desires of the human might recognise each other.

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Port Phillip rucks & tears in the wind
and where the creek joins the bay, the lace
is tattered marl. Wild gulls pick

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