In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Bricks and Lightning' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Bricks and Lightning

It seems I'm always walking
into the scene of a crime
moustached copper
and fuck-off tape
don't look too closely
you won't be able to sleep
I'm new to this building
I live now by the river where
the ducks look like shoes
in the water
I go to the department store
we used to frequent
I look at grocery receipts
to see how I'm saving
and sometimes I get so lonely
I can barely stand it
tonight I wanted you
like the rain wanted the streets
my building was one of two
struck by lightning
a chunk off the top
spilt bricks on the road
I am marked
drop a Google pin into my heart
like they say in Alice
when the Todd floods
this must mean I'm staying

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Bricks and Lightning' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Bricks and Lightning' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Buffalo Milk' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Buffalo Milk

Suck until you burn the room
and the heat numbs
reduced to a sound
wet
like the come and go
of the ocean
water enters
my hand in your hair
my hand
if you leave me childless
this will be yours alone
these marks you make
openings, persuasions
of the woman I will become

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Buffalo Milk' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Buffalo Milk' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Amy Brown reads her poem 'Snake' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

 

Snake

We are following a track that loops
around a lake impaled with trees,
a pinned-down habitat for platypuses

I would like to see, so try to walk
silently until a shadow across the sun-
dried turf in front of me blushes

curls and slides down a bank.
I stop, tell you what I've seen, smile
at the luck. You jump onto a log.

For the rest of the walk, we stomp
and you look for a eucalypt branch
you can thump like a third foot

to seem heavier and many-er.
We discuss tourniquets, mobile
reception, anti-venom, helicopters.

Intermittently I mention the platypuses,
explain that my country's native species
hide in timidity not anticipation

so I seldom feel like prey. Giant ferns
and no people remind me of home.
At the far edge of the ellipse I recall

the lake is a fifty-year-old mistake
flooded with rainfall and dammed
by tonnes of weather-made shingle.

Humans would not choose to leave
a hundred trees piercing the water's
surface. The orchard of totem poles

seems tapu, uncanny as a gallery.
Past trunks, smooth and muscled
like horse flesh, I forget to march

find myself creeping, not watching
for monotremes but ghosts or
artists, reverent and vaguely willing

my Achilles to be bitten in exchange
for an encounter with the creator.

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

 

'Snake' appears in 'States of Poetry - VIC'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Amy Brown's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Amy Brown reads her poem 'Snake' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'After Mutability' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

After Mutability

Perhaps the best cells are the ones we can't kill off,
a persistence of the fittest, although mutation's
always painful. It's two thousand and fourteen,
and I know no-one who has been
uninjured. It thinks in me,
this shadow. I put on sunscreen, and am surprised
to come in contact with my skin.
In the same day, I'm chatted up in a café
by an aspiring novelist who's using boldface
and an ugly font, and the woman I pay
to tear the hair out of my legs offers a discount
because my skinny limbs
won't need much wax. In the same day,
I watch a woman in pink boardshorts
hold out white bread
for a spring-loaded terrier,
an ancient cyclist on City Road with bubble wands
mounted on his handlebars, although they say
this place has gentrified: mutation's
never simple. I dream my top teeth
splinter, turn to chalkdust in my mouth:
so I am in the world's gaping jaw.

Fiona Wright

 

'After Mutability' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'After Mutability' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Crisis Poem' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

Crisis Poem

for Ian

And suddenly:
the men
are holding beers
and standing round
the trampoline,
and not the barbecue;
turning over toddlers,
instead of steaks.
The women
make the salads.

Fiona Wright

 

'Crisis Poem' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Crisis Poem' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Potts Point' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

Potts Point

for Eileen

The light's older
in these sandstone suburbs,
jam-thick.

A clipped-haired man held a dog leash
saying one of us is single,
and even the leaves
had hunched their shoulders
in the gutters.

A waiter, golden-brown as a bread loaf,
squirted water at the pigeons
that sat cock-headed at the tables. My tart
was soft and skinless. Later, your cat

curled fluidly against my legs
and watched the water fizzing on the moorings.
There are crossed oceans
that must spill still
at the edges of your vision,

things we can not understand.

You said perhaps we're both like this because.
Or perhaps because we are like this. Perhaps
it doesn't matter. We stack
your fridge with blueberries and sushi. You roll
up the lid
of your old writing desk,
curved in three places,
like a spine.

Fiona Wright

 

'Potts Point' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Potts Point' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Set Piece' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

Set Piece

 Strange, that there are sequences
                 we live as cinema, if I looked
over my shoulder
I might recognise the front wall
of my bedroom
                opened out towards the camera,

my furniture as hollow
as a stage prop. I am
vicarious to myself:strange,

                                  that sometimes
we recognise significance
instead of burning it back in, much later
and imperfectly.
            Some nights I wake up
gasping at the air, I dream
I'm trying, through my sleep
                              to speak,

           to call your name
from the wet depths of slumber
but I can't will my mouth
to move: if we are unknown

even to our selves
how can we try to hold each other
still? I sit against
          the bedhead, my knees

press against my breasts. Outside
are stars, a car door slamming,
the last train shunting back into the depot.

 

Fiona Wright

 

'Set Piece' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Set Piece' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Smith's Lake' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

Smith's Lake

The grass grows longer on the easeway.

A pelican swipes the sky
            towards the seascape we can't yet see,
its webby legs outstretched:
                                          I wait for these,

              for sunburn behind the knees,
for sand between the bedsheets,
champagne at dusk
              and pelicans,
and their unthinking ease.

They clap their chitin jaws
              when we gut bream up on the sandbank,
this they augur:
to swallow fishheads
and stare with oyster eyes
              at the tangle of tackle and flaked scales
that will sandcastle by our toes.
You grew up inland
and don't yet expect this.

We'll eat straight from unfurled paper,
and leave our oily fingerprints to refract,
buy coffee at the marina
(and it will taste like sump oil
and salt, but a tiny chocolate biscuit will balance
on the spoon.)

You have no history here,
and don't yet know this.
               You can't yet read
the ocean
for its undertow.

Fiona Wright

 

'Smith's Lake' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'Smith's Lake' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Jill Jones reads two poems, 'Memory Lapses and Clues, or Don't Forget to Remember' and 'Bent', which both feature in the 2016 South Australian anthology.

 

 

Memory Lapses and Clues, or Don't Forget to Remember

Amongst discarded data, twigs,
plastic containers, fingernails –
'The unconscious, at all events,
knows no time limit' –
the shape of an ear, marginal facts
blown about by a northerly,
washed by stiffening rain – something
like symptoms, clues, bird spit,
possum fur, leaf miner, blood and bone,
a story or many of what passes
through here daily – what the drift of oil
or rice grains, the tea leaves (ah!),
might say, though they don't
speak at all. Or the message of
bodies or of precedents, portents,
what maps of rain or a star's passage
lay out before us in our days
and nights in the backyard
signs of the time, literally,
as they spark and spit in the sky
and over these grounds.

As women do we conjecture,
look at the evidence, terrestrial margins,
small movements in our yard,
materials under our feet, that move
through our hands and leave
scrap, pictograms and incisions,
odour and decay, diagnosis and taste,
gnosis and art, spider webs brushed away,
cuts from thorns, feelings (ah!),
shopping lists, flourishes of a gesture,
what is seen or touched, nosed
in all that specific and uncertain
divination of the present,
and what presents in the wind
and fleet shadows of today's weather:
for instance, the way a raven calls
and is answered from across the road
by another, with the same
or similar call, at differing intervals?
It's communication you can guess about,
though you don't really know
if it's a system of messaging,
or a type of presence, a big guess,
such as Holmes and cigarette ash,
Poirot and little grey cells,
the psychopathology of everyday life.

Though sky is always opaque as reality,
it bears clues and trajectories,
various evidences blowing like dust,
in fact, are dust – it all happens
as slowly, as quickly as a thought,
the event you know and forget
as someone writing all this down in evidence
against you – but there's a feeling
that can't be formalised or even spoken
as we pass in and out of and into again
the known, or the known knowns,
and the unknowns, the way things
brush past, or the way you fall
in haste, in love, what trickles onto
a porous path, as traverses of skin.

Quote from Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.

 Jill Jones

Bent

I am history now
in the scales, the age of sounds

I make sense then drop it
it gets dirty, it breaks
the ants carry it

I am bent at the switch
my tapes of the archive
decay, loops stutter
glitch arias

I am bent at the floor
facts roll under the chair
little dust songs
or songs outside
the parrots know

and I am still my species
struck, listening

Jill Jones

'Memory Lapses and Clues, or Don't Forget to Remember' and 'Bent' appear in 'States of Poetry - South Australia'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Jill Jones' biography in 'States of Poetry - South Australia'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Jill Jones reads two poems, 'Memory Lapses and Clues, or Don't Forget to Remember' and 'Bent', which both feature in the 2016 South Australian anthology.

In this episode of the Australian Book Review's States of Poetry Podcast, state editor Elizabeth Allen introduces the 2016 New South Wales poets: Fiona Wright, David Malouf, Kate Middleton, Pam Brown, Susie Anderson, and Toby Fitch.

 

 

You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here.

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    In this episode of the Australian Book Review's States of Poetry Podcast, state editor Peter Goldsworthy introduces the 2016 New South Wales poets: Aidan Coleman, Jelena Dinic, Jill Jones, Kate Llewellyn, Kat Bolton, and Thom Sullivan.