Cuttlefish: Western Australian poets
Sunline Press, $25 pb, 103 pp
In Marion May Campbell’s poem ‘in the storeroom,’ which appears in Roland Leach’s anthology Cuttlefish, she writes that ‘poems are letters that go astray’ – a whimsical yet fitting definition of the kind of poetry that appears in this collection. In these digital times, there is something ceremonial about a letter: a personal communication which must be opened and held; possibly shared, intentionally or otherwise. The poems in this collection have a tight focus; each is confined to a single page. They are often personal, poems of memory and family, beginning with reminiscence and hinged with sharp insight. They may be poems about the natural world, thoughtful and observant like missives from a traveller.
The collection has some passionate poems and one quite electric protest poem by Jan Teagle Kapetas, objecting to the brutal and contested incarceration of Indigenous adolescents – a currently unresolved issue in Western Australia – but for the most part these are gentle poems, seldom formally challenging, drawn from the strong community of poets in Western Australia, some of whom also organise readings and publications. Cuttlefish, with its pliable and tactile cover, is an example of fine local initiative in terms of content and production. It is published by Sunline Press, which was established by Roland Leach.