Carolyn Abbs

Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright & The Tiny Museums by Carolyn Abbs

by
May 2018, no. 401

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 ...

... (read more)

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Carolyn Abbs reads her poems 'At the house where my father was born' and 'Triple Mirrors' which feature in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

... (read more)

'It hurts to go through walls, it makes you sick,
but it's necessary.' − Tomas Tranströmer

I'd expected a labyrinth of small dark rooms, yet
the house was lit marigold         scooped out like a pumpkin for Halloween
Flames flickered and spat in a wide fireplace
   &nbs ...

(found in rubble beneath a church — New Norcia)

Distempered walls crowd in cold at the old
schoolroom, resonant with the chant of times
tables, scrape of chalk on slate; a nun might
have leant over a child, white dust on her cuff.

This afternoon, light from a slit window catches
a silver crucifix and reflects onto the dome
of glass cabinet, li ...

Tenement Building (black & white photograph)
Chris Kilip, Tate Britain, 2014

 

you view the house from across the street
part of a terrace       it fills the frame
the roof is cut off       no sky      dim light

upstairs      a balcony

After you died, Nana, I went to your room,
it was dark like that place beneath the breakwater
where barnacles cling and children never dare hide

I opened a blind, a stuck window, breeze fanned
and fanned the room, light across your dressing-
table, triple mirrors. Amidst perfume bottles,

hairbrush, amber beads, your art deco box,
walnut with inlaid mothe ...

Sadness overwhelms me in this circle of cut
flowers; some face me, plead for help, but if

I were to cradle one tulip-heavy head in my palm
like a premature baby, would its petals (that remind

me of my mother's skin when she was old) fall
to the floor? Others turn away in a dried blush

of shame. Just a few plump bodies flaunt sheen
on velvet cloaks, ye ...

Carolyn Abbs grew up in the south of England, and now lives in Fremantle, Western Australia. ... (read more)