Writing and writing in a community has always been central to how Sarah sees her place in the world. I’m more of a lone wolf writer, so I notice it – and am awed by it. The poet’s search for meaning in Sarah’s case is not only for herself but for other people and the world we all have to live in. And she does this magnificently and courageously through both her prose and poetry and her remarkable teachin
Chalk borders is Sarah’s 2nd book following on from her wonderful debut collection of poems called Open from Rochford Press in 2019. The title comes from her #litchalk activities, where she chalks poems on footpaths during various Canberra arts festivals, an ongoing and brave initiative – a bit like a written version of improv but not quite as fluid as freestyle rap.
Walking on a beach on the far south coast I found a metaphor for Anna Couani’s “Local” — a deep ocean shell, cast up from the sea, weathered to reveal its interior spirals. At the apex, a perfect miniature of mature shell- the mollusc’s first home—succeeded by whorls revolving outwards. The creature inside carries its past on its back and all its history is simultaneously present— past and present touch one another.
In Jane Skelton’s What the river told me there is a strong connection to place, landscape, the natural environment, and the human trace on it.
Many of the poems were written during a 2018 writing residency in Northumberland, England; on travels to Scotland where Jane was conducting research on the early life of the colonial entrepreneur Ben Boyd; and then at Boydtown near Eden on the south coast of New South Wales where a tower is testimony to a man’s ambition to build a town.
Alan is what Judy Johnson would call ‘a meaning poet’ – someone who writes for understanding and clarity rather than stylistic effect. Alan’s work is simply worded; but never light. Adjectives are sparing, metaphors few. Emotions are, as they should be, of the air.
Brian has always been a poet, but he is one of those people who also has a wide variety of artistic interests: he was lead singer for the post-industrial band, Distant Locust, together with being their lyricist – there is an earlier book of song lyrics; he is a painter (as you can see from the cover) and a photographer.
What’s Left by Steve Armstrong, Fllying Island Press 2020 was launched by Dimitra Harvey at The Shop Gallery in Glebe on 21 February 2021
Steve Armstrong reading from What’s Left
In a way, the title of the collection is a question of loss, as much as it’s concerned with what remains. We live at a strange juncture in the history of our species — an era characterised by loss, and loss of our own making. More than at any other time, the dominant nations of the planet live in ways which are absurdly disconnected from the wider, more-than-human world.