Puncher & Wattman Showcase
May 30, 2021
Puncher and Wattmann’s David Musgrave and Ed Wright introduce some of their top releases for 2021 and introduce their authors
The Owl Inside – Ivy Ireland
The Owl Inside presents an often haunted and feral, sometimes confessional and domesticated enquiry into what it means to be alive in the Anthropocene. These poems are suffused with musings on the escape to outer space, secret communications between trees, the movements of birds, suburban trampolines, motherhood, midnight wanderings, the climate crisis, motorbikes, affairs, bushfires and barbie dolls, yet in all this lies a quest for what can be found just beyond the material, heading towards the numinous.
‘The Owl Inside dictates everyday encounters with alterity, as if Jack Spicer was a single mum shacked up on the shores of Lake Macquarie, distilling a language of the alien self. Ireland’s collection is a paean to pent up frustrations and anxieties, absolved by a humble heuristics of living. Her muse: bin night.’ – Keri Glastonbury
‘This is a poetry all at once sensuous, moving, strange and familiar. The language springs gazelle-like from original thought to thought as the poet pulls apart our modes of perception then finds luminous ways to put them together again.’ – Judy Johnson
‘The Owl Inside is both a development of and a departure from Ivy Ireland’s previous work. What remains is her sharp-eyed engagement with complex ideas and the electric zap of her language. What is new, or at least enhanced, is a lyrical openness to emotions, personal history and the everyday. The Owl Inside is a rewarding read.’ – Brook Emery
Know Your Country – Kerri Shying
With language that often reads like stream-of-consciousness but is meticulously wrought, these poems are the work of a restless and intelligent imagination. All of the big themes: belonging and exclusion, self realisation, racial politics and love in all its forms are grounded authentically in the particulars of detail. – Judy Johnson
Know Your Country is a Newcastle noir, a series of insurgent riffs set to disabuse. Shying’s discerning phrasing embodies a ‘go on your nerve’ poetics, where the local, present moment imbued with its past ‘knowing’ is offered as ballast against bogus ideas of progress, like the rubble of Haight-Ashbury dumped in Newcastle Harbour. There’s ‘a male Jessica rabbit’, PTSD, drug dealing, knives, but also sashiko stitch, caramel coffee and the anti-fame of snails.
– Keri Glastonbury
I love the sense of live presence, fit language and big personality in these poems of immersion in the ‘sticky path’ of creaturely existence. Interested and interesting – you can’t ask more than that. – Kate Lilley
Gas Deities – Ed Wright
Gas Deities comes from a quest for meaning that negates the big ticket items of ego, intellectual fashion and salvation, for the generative joys of doubt. Using dramatic monologues and the slipperiness of the lyrical “I” Wright takes us on a journey through suburban Australia, with the odd overseas excursion. These poems find magic in the ordinary, and relish the creativity of erring while mining the foibles of certainty and pretension.
‘Ed Wright’s new collection is hugely entertaining and full of his kind of mordant humour. Based closely on voiced monologues and down-to-earth characters, the longer poems are fictions in the vernacular, teasing and knockabout in mood, and reminding me at times of the late Bruce Dawe. They develop through a kind of compassionate irreverence. At first I had thought the poems were funny, then serious, then philosophical, and then I realised they were all three.’
— Philip Salom
Hotel Universo – Chris Brown
Looking at relations to place, ways we receive language, and anxieties of communication as we move in the world, Chris Brown’s poems particularize the rendered, the middling, the ostensibly universal. Written on Awakabal land in and around Newcastle’s suburbs and beaches, and published here, his poems engage a politics of location. Despite its interest in the transitory, hotel universo, and poetry more widely, is a place to have come to, ‘and never left’.