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.
What is your interest in things and their syntax? How might a poem discover their vibrance, movement, resonance, their turning? So, sound, narrate, list, complicate, fold and unfold the things of this world, in their over-thereness, in their beside-hereness, in their still life, their other life, their non-human-life, their between-life, their part-of-human life. I want to read this. (Jill Jones)
Submissions are now open until Sunday 28 October 2018, for Plumwood Mountain 6, 1 (Feb 2019), guest edited by Jill Jones. Read the full prompt for submissions and submissions guidelines here before you send us your work.
‘The sound of rain: a constant, pink noise that hurtles behind these poems. Like the elemental soundtrack to a Bill Viola film, water clattering on stone.’ So begins Bonny Cassidy’s editorial to the current issue of Plumwood Mountain journal. You can find the contents listing here. There are 25 poems to enjoy.
In addition to poetry we have an essay-haiku-like reflection on whales from Daniel Helman, a dense imagistic essay dancing between Trump, the author’s father and Virginia Woolf from Meredith Wattison, a conversation between Amy Lin and Caitlin Maling, and a photo essay from the exhibition In The Open: collaborative artworks around place, landscape andenvironment, curated by Judith Tucker and Harriet Tarlo, held in conjunction with the ASLE-UKI &Land2 Conference 2017: Cross Multi Inter Trans that I was fortunate to attend in Sheffield, UK, in September 2017. We published…