Deakin University

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Strange Creatures

posted on 2019-10-01, 00:00 authored by Alyson MillerAlyson Miller
The poems in this collection are an exploration of the taboo and violence of human nature. From sexuality to the threatening and deadly, these prose poems offer new perspectives on the unspeakable, shadowy places of human experience.










Research statement

Research Background The prose poem is frequently understood in terms of ideas about disruption, described by Murphy as ‘amorphous and anarchic’, for example, and by Monte as ‘revolutionary’ in its potential. Via its liminal ambiguities, it is a form able to trouble established borderlines, such as those between fiction and non-fiction, and the taboo and the sacred. Inherently subversive, the prose poem is a mode that lends itself to the representation of otherness, difference, and the uncanny, to that which discomforts, unnerves or shocks. Research Contribution Iglesias argues that for women prose poets, the form is often utilised as ‘pressure cooker, sand box, sanctuary, laboratory’, a transgressive space open to contradictory expressions of ‘grief and mischief, terror and outrage’. The non-fiction prose poems in this book take this potential for subversion to its extremes, juxtaposing horror and beauty by way of real-world instances of trauma and taboo. In doing so, Strange Creatures attempts to understand acts of violence—both domestic and extra-ordinary—and anxieties about the prohibited, especially in relation to death, gender, and sexuality. These prose poems thereby posit new ways of thinking about topics traditionally deemed unrepresentable or even unthinkable. Research Significance The value of this book is evidenced by its publication with Recent Work Press, an emerging leader of small press poetry in Australia and worldwide. Poems in the collection are included in noteworthy journals and anthologies, such as Westerly, Best Australian Poems, Australian Book Review and The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry, while the book has led to contracts for other national and transnational publications. Research significance is also shown by a commissioned chapter on the subversive nature of the prose poem for a ground-breaking book about prose poetry, co-edited by two eminent scholars in the field, Delville and Caws, published by Edinburgh University Press.

Publication classification

J1 Major original creative work


Recent Work Press

Place of publication

Canberra, A.C.T.