A review of ‘between white’

From writingWA’s e-newsletter, Love to Read Local.

“between white”, Josephine Clarke

Mulla Mulla Press

The second poem in this debut collection from Josephine Clarke concludes with the lines: Don’t let in / any forgetting. This may well be the poet’s credo. Her poems are rich with remembrance and detail. While her simpler pieces are observational, setting out scenes much as a painter might, others wade into the swamplands of family and relationships. Here Clarke’s artistry is most in evidence. Candour and raw emotion are delivered with startling economy in the title poem, a mother-daughter piece (we rub scars into each other) and the equally naked work ‘This Smile’. In twenty poems, Clarke reveals herself as a poet to watch.


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Westerly New Creatives – online.

I have had a new poem included in this very fine online production which, in the words of the editors, “showcases the talent developing within local university programmes as well as the broader West Australian writing community.” There is a wonderful array of styles and voices in this edition. It is well worth a read.

Westerly New Creatives.

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‘between white’ is launched.

Beneath the beautiful clerestory of Bar Orient in Fremantle, Jennifer Kornberger launched my chapbook, between white, on Sunday, August 14th, 2016. Four guests from the Perth Poetry Festival – Matt Hetherington, Dora Smith, Robbie Coburn and Jennifer Kornberger herself also read creating a wonderful space for words – spoken and sung.  It was a joy to be surrounded by so many of my friends from Out of the Asylum Writers’ Group and the wider poetry community. Sarah Leighton had prepared a beautiful book table, helped by Marlish Glorie, and Liana Joy Christensen tied everything together as MC. Magically, my three sisters were able to attend, and one of them, Alma, joined me to read ‘In the Kitchen of our Growing Up’. Pretty perfect really.

The event was part of the Perth Poetry Festival and was hosted by Out of the Asylum Writers’ Group. Jennifer’s launch speech can be found here.

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In time for the festival …

I’m very excited to have my first chapbook available in time for the festival. Thank you Varuna, the Writers’ House; Deb Westbury and Mulla Mulla Press.

Between white,

Beautifully illustrated by Sara Clarke, and designed by Libby Parker, I am very pleased with how the book appears and feels. Available for $15 online soon. Or from Perth Poetry Festival events.

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Perth Poetry Festival 2016

I am delighted to be a featured guest at the 2016 Perth Poetry Festival to be held from 6-14th August. Isn’t this a beautiful poster?


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This wet wind


this wet wind throws

tears at my throat      whispers

plosives on the roof

makes a diphthong in the down pipe


without subtitles I can only guess

at the sky’s message

the trees know what to do

I stand still long enough

for the light to go off


something about skin

something about yesterday

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Inspiration from art

The old hay rakeWhen I first saw this evocative painting by Victorian artist Stella Clarke, it was the light, the stillness that caught my breath. But the image lingered with me for days. On our farm on the other side of this wide continent – in South Western Australia – we had a rake just like this one. Memories of hot summers working with hay came vividly back. Gradually this poem grew, and it was eventually published in Westerly 59:2.


the old hay rake


goes off in my head like a Catherine wheel

memories fly like hay dust

my brother driving the Fergie

watching ahead, looking back

— clicking and clacking

grasshoppers flare out before him—


while with elegant cartwheels

the rake braids winter into rows

for the baler to thump thump thump into bales

tied up with twine    it’s a factory out there

cordite and must


then turning the bales we are

new world gleaners

an eye out for snakes

the ferment of sweetened rain ready for the gut of cows

sisal blisters our finger-creases

fine sparks of hay burn into  the backs of our knees

the crook of our elbows


that hay rake

twirling now

draws long strings in the wind


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