Review: Susan Richardson’s ‘Words the Turtle Taught Me’

Plumwood Mountain Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics has published my review of Susan Richardson’s wonderful collection of marine creature themed poetry, Words the Turtle Taught Me. Read the review here.

Even better, read the book. You will learn so much about so many amazing, sadly endangered creatures – all the poems are about species on the IUCN’s “Red List”. The poems are also accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Pat Gregory. And the book contains a lengthy exegesis which explains how the poems were written, and which makes the book potentially a really useful resource for teachers who might want to try similar creative endeavours with students.

Susan Richardson. Words the Turtle Taught Me. Wales: Cinnamon Press, 2018.

Review: Kirsten Lang’s ‘SkinNotes’

Plumwood MountainJournal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics has published my review of Kristen Lang’s SkinNotes. You can read it here.

Kirsten is a Tasmanian poet and has performed her poems around the state very stylishly indeed. Her poems are just as polished as her delivery though. They are thoughtful and profound, and Lang uses poetic language to its full capacity. Her writing speaks of the ambiguous, excessive experiences of humans who are open to a kind of conversation with what Jane Bennett calls ‘vibrant matter’ – all of the natural and nonhuman world that we are enmeshed within, which we are part of, and which is part of us. For this reason, when Lang writes of ‘family’, her family includes animals, and when she writes of the body, its edges merge with the world around it – a lake, or mountainside.

Lang’s writing is challenging, uplifting and affirming. Get yourself a copy and read it.

Kristen Lang. SkinNotes. North Hobart: Walleah Press,2017.

Review: Tanya Thaweeskulchai’s ‘A Salivating, Monstrous Plant’

Ok, so I admit it, I really did only review Tanya Thaweeskulchai’s A Salivating Monstrous Plant because of its title, but how could anyone resist that? I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for triffid-like plants. I have a nice little pot of pitcher plants right beside me as I write this. And then there was my 2012 review of Ross McKenzie’s incredible encyclopaedia, Australia’s poisonous plants, fungi and cyanobacteria, a must read for anyone interested in these things.

Thaweeskulchai’s work was something else though. It’s an extended poem that really does read as a narrative. It’s strange and curious, and extraordinary. Plumwood Mountain Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics have just published my review , you can read it here.

If you too love triffids, adventure, weird slightly manga-tinted stories, read the book too.

Tanya Thaweeskulchai. A Salivating Monstrous Plant. Carlton South: Cordite Publishing, 2017.

Pete Hay Poet Website

Of one of Tasmania’s greatest poets, of Pete Hay, Rachel Edwards wrote: “no one else takes the temperature of this island like Hay, and no one else uses Tasmania as such an effective prism through which to consider human nature” (The Australian, September 18, 2016 – See a copy on Rachel’s blog).

Pete is a wonderful poet but so much more as well. In a tempestuous isle, he has long been a voice for temperance, conciliation and fairness, while never losing sight of the wonder, majesty and intrinsic value of Tasmania’s, and the world’s natural environment. He speaks up for those whose voices are so often lost in political and media discourse – traditional foresters and farmers with a love for, and deep understanding of the ecology of the lands they and their forebears have long worked, often so much more sensitively and ethically than the huge corporations which now run so much of the Global economy.

Pete speaks for ordinary Tasmanian families, wherein there are so often rifts between siblings, cousins, and generations – between those who consider themselves to be on one side of the political divide, and those on the other – between those who want reliable work and to provide for their families, and those who want above all to protect what makes Tasmania unique and special.

Over the years Pete has trodden the halls of government, been an academic and a lecturer, and steadily contributed to scholarly debate; but he has also written innumerable essays. They have appeared in wilderness calendars, art exhibition catalogues, forwards in books, opinion pieces in the newspaper, everywhere! For this reason I believe that Pete has had an incredibly profound influence on Tasmanian thought and writing. Barely a novel has appeared in Tasmania that doesn’t seem to me to bear the trace of Pete’s thoughts, his temperament, his ethics, or his generous and sensitive celebration of, and belief in Australia’s unique island state and her people.

It is for all of these reasons that Bright South offered to construct a website for Pete – because his work deserves to be still better known, his influence acknowledged, and to continue spread the word about his work and make it more accessible. The site is now live – check it out, it’s beautiful! And proudly constructed by Bright South. It features photos by both Bright South and Pete, as well as many other fabulous contributors: www.petehaywriter.wordpress.com

For a self-professed Luddite, Pete has been an enthusiastic and courageous supporter of this endeavour and, yes, he has published blog posts all by himself! He’s even got right behind the Facebook thing too – you can follow him there to keep completely up to date: www.facebook.com/petehaywriter/

An image of Pete Hay (notepad in hand) and Ollie, on the seashore.
Pete and Ollie