My new poetry collection Leaf published by the exciting Liquid Amber Press is almost out in the world and will be launched online by Shari Kocher at the Liquid Amber Zoom event on Thursday 22 September 2022, from 7.30pm. The launch is part of an Ecopoetics feature focusing on plant poetics with readings from Peter Larkin and John C Ryan. There is also open mike. Bookings are free but essential: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/
Many thanks to Pauline Brightling and Rose Lucas for their publishing and editing nous, to Sharon Monagle for the cover image, and John C Ryan and Harriet Tarlo for their recommendations:
Within a human-flora arc, Anne Elvey’s Leaf weaves an entrancing course. Absorbingly polymorphic in arrangement, the collection harmonizes the diverse voices and voicings of plants—affective, imagistic, mnemonic, scientific. This vibrant entry point into the elusive lives of trees and other botanical forms heralds the vegetalization of language—the plant-like becoming of poetry.
John Charles Ryan
Be ‘at leaf’ with Anne Elvey in this drifting book in which this most sensitive of poets seeks a form for what we conceive of as leaf, both in general and particular terms. Poetic techniques and tones shift in this quest, just as different species and individual trees, with their colours, histories and textures, materialise on the page. The lives of leaves are taken seriously here in experimentations in empathy and explorations of our relationships with trees. At the same time, there is a humming awareness of the threat to all our lives posed by the climate crisis: a sense of the significance of weather and water runs through this work, and is related to the specific colonial history of Australia from where Elvey writes. A book well worth your engagement and a powerful addition to the poetry of plant/human relations.
While cleaning up my inbox, I noticed that the most recent issue of Feminist Theology carries a review of Reading the Magnificat in Australia: Unsettling Engagements. Very grateful to have a review from Lisa Isherwood that recognises the unsettled and unsettling nature of the work. A bit uneasy about one comment that seems counter to what I was trying to say, about the relative age of the cultural traditions behind the biblical Magnificat and First Nations cultures, so perhaps my writing was unclear. I make the point that First Nations’ songs predate the Magnificat which arrives with the colonisers. And this is a key point. If I were to consider the traditions behind the Magnificat as of a comparable age, it may be through seeing human songs as indebted to older more-than-human songs (which I discuss in chapter 5), though perhaps there are ancient Middle Eastern and European women’s traditions that I don’t discuss that could be adduced. Isherwood notes aptly the problematics of a white settler writer saying anything about the reception of a colonial text in the ongoing colonial space in which I am situated as an inheritor of white privilege, and says: ‘I imagine Elvey wants the reader to be aware of the difficulties and to constantly question her own understandings.’ This is true. At the end of her review, I note with appreciation, she describes the book as ‘a magnificent journey’, and says, ‘Elvey wants us to listen again to an ancient text and by doing so, to open ourselves to a situated but unsettled praxis.’ Yes.
I hope all of you who are in lockdown in the eastern states are doing ok.
Jennifer Compton and I were scheduled to read in person in Canberra in June this year, from our new poetry collections out from Recent Work Press, but one of the earlier Melbourne lockdowns put that on hold until September. Now due to lockdowns in ACT and Vic, that event is online.
Of English, Irish and Scottish settler descent, I live and work on Boonwurrung Country (alternatively spelt Boon Wurrung or Bunurong Country) in what is also known as Seaford, Victoria. I pay my respects to the elders past, present and future and recognise their continuing relation to and care for Country. I acknowledge that their sovereignty over these lands and waters has never been ceded.
‘sun glint drift’ was the title of a poem published in the Red Room Writing Water project. It is also the title I give this blog about my poetry and research.
I am a poet, editor and researcher with interests in ecological poetics, ecological feminist hermeneutics, ecological criticism, the material turn, counter-colonial and decolonising ecological ethics, creative research practices, poetry and biblical literature.
My poetry publications include, Obligations of Voice (Recent Work Press 2021), On arrivals of breath (Poetica Christi 2019), White on White (Cordite Books 2018), and Kin (FIP 2014), shortlisted in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards 2015.
Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics is in a time of transition. After 7 years, Managing Editor Anne Elvey will be stepping down at the end of 2020. At the same time the Editorial Board intends to deepen its commitments to decentring or deemphasising the human in ecopoetics while holding this vision in a wider frame of cultural responsibility both in Australia and internationally. As part of our continuing affirmation of more-than-human agencies, of intersections between environmental activism and cultures of poetry, and of the complex entanglements of race, gender, sexuality, location and class in an emerging ecopoetics, the journal wants to expand its editorial board to reflect these commitments. As part of this development, the new Managing Editor has the option to find a new name for the journal.
Expressions of interest are called for a Managing Editor and Editorial Administration Team that would with an Editorial Board shape the future of the journal and undertake the tasks of bringing it to publication. These are voluntary positions.