Welcome to another great year of poetry with Liquid Amber Press! If you love writing, reading or listening to poetry across all its wonderful voices, join us for our next free Poetry Zoom : Thursday, 17 MARCH, 7.30-9.30pm AEDT. Register (free) here to receive the link: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/events/ . Bring your friends! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our exciting 2022 poetry events and opportunities: https://liquidamberpress.com.au/
Our feature poet in March will be Mark O’Flynn, reading from his new book of poetry Undercoat: Poems about Paintings (Liquid Amber Press, 2022), to be launched by Peter Minter. And if you’re interested in sharing 3 mins of your own work, get on the Open Mic list quickly, by contacting: email@example.com
I’m delighted that two of my poems from these recent plague years have recently appeared in issues of APJ: ‘Online’ in Vol. 9, which explores the often surprising closeness that can come about via zoom conversations; and ‘Year of Breath,’ in Vol 11.1
My review of Hannah Kent’s powerful new novel has just come out in the summer issue of Australian Book Review – check it out. Like Kent’s other two novels, it’s about women at the edge – the edge of their own understanding, the periphery of social acceptance, the edge of what we might understand as realism. This is a narrative about traumatic change, persistence and the possibilities – as well as the limitations – of what it might mean to operate from a position of devotion.
Angophora Costata is in Christmas flower. This poem, ‘The Hum of Angophora,’ first published in Writ, is coming out in my next collection, Increments of the Everyday, with Puncher and Wattmann in 2022. I hope you enjoy it.
The Hum of Angophora
The low and knotted branches of the Angophora are laden with blossom the blush of new tips pushes into daylight like dreams although last night’s rain weighs heavy and
their fingers droop almost brushing the bark-strewn grass
noisy and flamboyant wattlebirds and eastern rosellas move along branchlets through a community of leaves calling and feeding while
magpies wait thoughtful in foliage watching the possibilities of the stirring ground
one year a pair of tawny frogmouths built a platform in the fork of a branch so that two downy chicks could sit waiting out precariousness while parents sounding softly into the darkness returned with morsels until ravens swooped spilling the contents of the nest tree mind holds them this pulse of things that live and shift and scatter
the wide and impassive generosity of its branches reach and arch twist and knot in filtered sunshine its own world of space and twig sap and leaf ant and bee the hum of
In Virginia Woolf’s life-changing novel, To the Lighthouse, the lighthouse itself – as a geographical, artistic, creative space or idea, is of course never reached. It’s dreamed about, talked about, planned for and Lily Briscoe thinks what it would mean to paint it – but it remains, deliberately, out of reach of the words’ extraordinary ebb and flow. The lighthouse is summoned into imagination but it isn’t owned or held. So I do recognize that as a place of destination, the ‘lighthouse,’ however signified, is by definition never arrived at; indeed it would be a reductive notion to think that such a thing could be achieved. However, I do want to say that when I come up the sandy, salty path that leads out onto the headland to the Griffiths Island lighthouse, my heart lifts in a way I can barely describe. This is a place where, for me, happiness arises, a place of re-centring, where it seems particularly easy to be present, simply, to smell the air, to follow the sea birds skimming the waves. Such an embodied engagement with a place, its powerful ‘here-ness,’ operates as a conduit – not for some transcendent meaning or elsewhereness, but as an experience of being fully awake, body, senses, mind, unfolding in the now. A portal to right here. A gift.
It’s been such an exciting inaugural year for us at Liquid Amber Press – getting started, building up a wonderful community with our Poetry Zooms, and publishing high quality anthologies, monographs and collaborative projects. I’m really proud and pleased to part of such an innovative poetry endeavour. Support poetry publishing in Australia and check out some of our terrific titles for festive gifts! 🙏https://liquidamberpress.com.au/shop/
My most recent book of poetry, This Shuttered Eye (Girls on Key 2021) has been launched! Courtesy of Melbourne’s #4 Lockdown we weren’t able to gather in the Open Studio as planned – but we still had an excellent evening on zoom. The book was superbly launched by poet and colleague Anne Elvey to a ‘full gallery’ of poets, friends and family – and some open mic readings added terrific energy and variety to the evening. Thanks to Girls on Key for the event and to the wonderful Michele Seminara who edited the book – a great experience of close reading exchange. Signed copies of the book are available here.
Visual artist Sharon Monagle and I were thrilled to open the exhibition of 2020 Shelter in Place last week and to launch the book of this collaborative project – a beautiful publication by Liquid Amber Press (available at the gallery or available here).