You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2017.

Blackberrying – J V Birch

This is a beautiful collection, in which some thirty-one poets share their work

‘to celebrate elephants in the hope that people will find a way to safeguard those that manage to remain.’

Elephants are a multitude of things to many. In here they are muse; inspirational beings to be treasured, protected, respected, admired. But on these pages, there is also grief, fear and anger over the destruction of their habitat and the poaching of their ivory. I will never forget an image I saw of an elephant whose face had literally been sliced off for its tusks. How anyone can commit such an atrocity is beyond human capacity, and yet not it seems.

The proceeds from this anthology help orphan elephants via The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which runs the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world.  And I will leave you with a poem by Valerie Morton, who is also the publisher, as well as one of the many fine poets featured.

 

The Elephant on my Mantlepiece

(after Salvador Dali)

 

floats on spidery, footless legs

of desire, its body

carrying

 

a heavy burden, tottering as if

the world could fall

into the sand

 

or float away into the thin air

of temptation

tight-tailed,

 

straining to carry the world’s sin,

shackled only by gravity –

a reminder

 

that without the uncertain nature

of survival, man’s lust

and greed

 

will end its very existence.

 

Foxglove Journal image

Balinese pool – J V Birch

Chroma Magazine image

Reunion – J V Birch

When we first moved here, over 5 years ago now, I was keen to immerse myself in Australian literature and quickly learnt that Tim Winton is iconic.

And so I began with Cloudstreet, arguably one of Winton’s most famous novels, in which we meet the Pickles and the Lambs, two working class Australian families who live together in a house in Perth and whose lives are charted over a twenty-year period. It’s a captivating read, winning the Miles Franklin Award in 1992 and one that firmly established Winton’s writing career.

Winton himself hails from Western Australia. Awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature, he’s been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust. Reading him, you can see why. Winton’s writing is music with no unnecessary note as he conducts matters of the human heart – love, sorrow, pain, desire – in a spellbinding way.

I was so inspired after finishing In the Winter Dark I wrote a poem to try to encapsulate what it left me with, such a hauntingly atmospheric novella about human existence among others. I’ve also read Dirt Music where the wife of a local fisherman legend becomes fascinated with a stranger poaching fish, which inevitably has consequences. Have yet to read Eyrie.

And now I’m part-way through Minimum of Two, an absorbing collection of short stories with characters and plots that will linger for a while. Perfect little snapshots of life.

So, if you’re not familiar with Winton’s work I strongly recommend you be. You won’t be disappointed.

The Poetry Shed image

https://abegailmorley.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/offspring-by-julie-birch/