Deakin University

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Prose poems

posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Cassandra AthertonCassandra Atherton
Poems show us strange things about the world; they take us to strange new
places where we, readers, become ‘strange cargo’ ourselves. At the same time, ours are the ‘foreign voices’ to which the poems wake. In this anthology, published in England, a selection of work by five Australian poets is subject to all these shifting perspectives. Interestingly, all five have spent significant and productive time overseas: Jen Webb lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Canada before settling in Australia; Sarah Holland-Batt spent her childhood in both Australia and the US; Cassandra Atherton has been visiting scholar at Harvard and a fellow at Sophia University, Tokyo; Paul Hetherington wrote a recent book while undertaking an Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board Residency at the BR Whiting Studio in Rome; and Lucy Dougan, born in Perth on the western coast of Australia, to which she has returned, is seen in this volume writing with disarming clarity about experiences in Naples and London. Notable here is the presence of the prose poem, a form enjoying considerable popularity in Australia, as indeed it is in the UK. One poet, Cassandra Atherton, writes exclusively in that form, weaving deft (and often very funny) intertextual references into her imaginative flights. For her, the prose poem is often an expansive poetic stage despite the relative brevity of the prose poem form. Jen Webb too prefers the fluid, often fragmented narrative that this form affords as
her work explores the transformative nature of many ‘ordinary’ encounters and moments. Paul Hetherington has also adopted it for some of his poems, exploring within its frame the shifting and mysterious nature of the quotidian.


Title of book

Strange cargo: five Australian poets

Chapter number



30 - 43


Smith|Doorstop Books

Place of publication

Sheffield, Eng.





Publication classification

J3 Poems

Copyright notice

[2017, Smith|Doorstop Books]




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