Nació en Tasmania, Australia. Es escritora laureada, crítica y académica.
Sus poemas han sido antologados en compilaciones como Australian Poetry Since 1788, Thirty Australian Poets, Sixty Classic Australian Poems, y The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry. Fue la editora de poesía de la Universidad de Queensland de 2003-2009, fundó la serie The Best Australian Poetry, y fue la editora inaugural del Australian Poetry Journal.
Publicaciones de poesía:
The Other Way Out. (Giramondo Publishing, 2008)
The Wooden Cat and Other Poems. (Picaro P, 2003)
Flight Animals. (University of Queensland Press, 2001) ISBN 0-7022-3242-4
Ni las campanas de San Blas pueden despertarlo.
Ni el aroma a pólvora que se levanta
por las calles al llover. Ni el grito
de Camilla cuando amanece: Feliz Navidad! Ni
mis pechos cuando se aprietan
en su espalda. Está dormido, bien dormido,
y yo practico el desapego. Su cuello
escarlata, quemado por la siesta de ayer
en la Plaza de Armas, y ya su piel
empieza a caer, a rodar entre los pliegues
como páginas de viejos libros. Debajo,
es todo nuevo. Tomo un pedazo de su piel
y tranquilamente la separo del cuello. Se despega
parabólicamente- como una vela pequeña-
y, abrupta, se arranca desde arriba.
Levanto hacia la luz mi reliquia: toda clara
como celofán, secándose hasta hacerse
blanca. Deseo a mi caballista, pero él
no es su piel: eso sólo es su envoltura. Él
debe estar debajo. Debo pelar más
rápido. Quiero descubrirlo. Él
es mi regalo de navidad: una caja
que quiero abrir, zangolotear, escuchar
lo que hay adentro. Yo
le doy la vuelta y empiezo a pelar sus ojos.
Traducción de Sergio Eduardo Cruz
Even the bells of San Blas cannot wake him.
Nor the smell of gunpowder that lifts
from the streets with the rain. Nor Camilla’s crying
at dawn, Feliz Navidad! Nor my breasts
as they press into his back. He is sound asleep,
and I am practicing detachment. His neck
is scarlet, sunburnt from yesterday’s siesta
in the Plaza de Armas, and already his skin
is starting to shed, to roll at the edges
like the pages of an old book. Underneath,
he is brand new. I take a piece of skin
and carefully peel it down his neck. It detaches
in the shape of a parabola—billows
like a little sail—and tears abruptly at the tip.
I hold up my relic to the light: it is clear
like cellophane and dries to a cloudy white. I
am wanting my caballista, but he is not in his skin:
it is only his wrapping! He must be underneath. I
peel faster. I want to uncover him. He
is my Christmas present. I want to open
him. I shake him. I want to hear what’s inside. I
roll him over and peel back his eyes.
Vino tinto barato
Bebo vino tinto barato casi todas las noches.
Lo bebo sola.
Lo bebo desde un vaso Baccarat de cristal, del cual
sólo poseo uno, y por eso debo beberlo
sola. La sabiduría popular
me dice que no debería beber
si se trata de barato vino tinto.
El aroma asfixiante es tanto que un sentimiento
de angustia se vuelve rápido
desasosiego. Por eso
algunas veces imagino un compañero de bebida:
para aguantar el desasosiego.
Anoche, por ejemplo,
bebí con Baudelaire. Él bebía
de la botella, debido
a que sólo tengo un vaso de cristal Baccarat.
Charles (me pidió familiaridad) me dio las gracias
por invitarlo. Hace mucho que no sale
como solía, me dijo. Me disculpé con él
por no pensar antes en su compañía, y pregunté
por Jeanne Duval: hace mucho no la había visto,
me dijo, y suspiró. Dans l’amour il ya toujours un
qui soufre pendant que l’autre s’ennui. En el amor
hay uno siempre que sufre mientras otro
se aburre. Asentí y levanté mi vaso. Charles
me leyó de sus Fleurs du Mal, mientras
la brisa nocturna soplaba por mi ventana abierta,
y le confesé mi miedo a las flores,
cómo el olor de las flores me puede llenar de temor
inasible. Él, gravemente, movió
su cabeza. Tal sentimiento, me dijo,
le había inspirado a escribir estas líneas:
los arreglos de flores enterradas en vidrio exhalan su último suspiro;
y también, prefiero los frutos otoñales a los banales floreceres
de la Primavera. Tembló un poco,
se acabó la botella.
En la noche profunda Charles me leyó
y mientras dormía entre sus brazos me crecía la idea
de que comunicarse con los muertos no era, del todo,
una actividad mística. Puede no necesitar
más que un vaso o dos de vino barato tinto
y la disposición, profunda, de escuchar
los significados corporales
que tienen las palabras fantasmas.
Traducción de Sergio Eduardo Cruz
Cheap Red Wine
After Galway Kinnell’s ‘Oatmeal’
Most nights I drink cheap red wine.
I drink it alone.
I drink from a Baccarat crystal wine glass
of which I have only one and that is why I must drink alone.
Popular wisdom tells me it is not good
to drink alone.
Especially cheap red wine.
The dank and cloying aroma is such that a feeling of sorrow
can too easily twist into despair.
That is why I sometimes think up an imaginary companion
to drink with. To ward off the despair.
Last night, for instance, I drank with Charles Baudelaire.
He drank from the bottle
owing to the single Baccarat wine glass.
Charles (he begged me to be familiar) said he was grateful
for the invitation.
He hadn’t been getting out as much as he used to.
I apologised for not thinking
to invite him sooner and asked after Jeanne Duval,
if he had seen much of her lately.
He sighed. Dans l’amour il y a toujours un qui soufre
pendant que l’autre s’ennui. In love,
there is always one who suffers while the other gets bored.
I nodded and refilled my glass.
Charles read to me from Fleurs du Mal,
as the evening breeze blew through the open window,
and I confessed to him my anthophobia,
how sometimes the scent of flowers can fill me with unshakable dread.
He nodded gravely.
Such a feeling, he said, inspired him to write
the lines: arrangements of flowers encoffined in glass exhale their ultimate breath;
and, I prefer the autumnal fruits over the banal blooms of Spring.
He shuddered and finished off the bottle.
Deep into the night Charles read to me,
and as I fell asleep in his arms I had the idea
that communing with the dead needn’t be a mystical activity.
It may require no more than a glass
or two of cheap red wine
and listening, intently, to the bodily meanings
of ghostly words.
In this lifetime antipodes must be
my word, my home or anyone else's.
Anyone who lives at opposites or knows
what it is to be contrary, to deviate. Like
disparate continents. Like the holding of
Europe and Australia in your blood.
This, I find, is a feat. And I recognize as I age
that my apogees are elongating,
my reversals are rising like the swollen
belly of a frog storing water in its sleep.
My friend feels it too and wonders
if she can ever love down to the lonely
and beyond; beyond that rocky, existential
space that women like us, so schooled
in ricochet, retreat from with the
swiftness of a silver-capped bullet.
There is a man I know with sand-heavy
eyes that are sometimes sullen blue
like the haze of the eucalypt grove
that makes you remember all the f-words
you never use like forgiven and forever.
He has grown on me like an embryo
until without him I feel thrown
into being incomplete like the wintering
rose bush de-leafed and out of bloom,
like the falling apart mountain,
a mountain that all my tying together
won't mend. Then just now, lying
in the low light of afternoon, I saw
it is the movement more than the man
that I love; the movement in and out
of me, framing the sweet falling
of lilac pollen, falling soft upon his back,
Catalogue of People
those who write literature of praise and those who write
literature of blame. Both reveal an impulse towards life.
those who see the cup half full and those who see it half
empty. Neither dare drink.
those who like to sit by oceans and those who like to sit
by lakes. Both admire water birds.
those who fear intimacy and those who fear abandonment.
Rehabilitation, for both types, is lengthy.
those who see life as suffering and those who see life as worth
suffering for. Rarely is either type native to the tropics.
those whose 2nd toe is shorter than their big toe and those
whose 2nd toe is longer. 9 times out of 10, athletes
are made from the first camp.
those who like Wordsworth and those who prefer Coleridge.
Both are predisposed to owning cats.
those who like Tolstoy and those who prefer Dostoyevski.
Usually these people are similar in temperament to the people
who like Wordsworth or Coleridge respectively but are more
those who bring strawberries and those who bring blueprints.
Both types are equally likely to be female.
those who believe in chance and those who believe in fate.
Nobody knows how anyone got this way.
those who can roll the edges of their tongue and those who
cannot. Both enjoy kissing.
those who believe god lives and those who believe god is
dead. Both believe.
those who do not eat animals for reasons of health and
those who do not eat animals for reasons of compassion.
those who'd make professional mourners and those who'd
make professional celebrants. Both professions fill a need.
those who say they are afraid of intimacy but are really afraid
of abandonment and those who say they are afraid of
abandonment but are really afraid of intimacy. Hope is held
for a cure.
those who blame their misery on big government and those
who blame it on big business. Both have bad table manners.
those who read the book and those who wait for the movie.
These types are likely to intermarry.
those who refuse to apologise and those who apologise too
readily. Neither party understands forgiveness.
those who speculate about two types of people and those who
speculate about continuums. The latter are caged in a paradox.
those who talk to the gods with their feet and those who talk
to the gods with their heads. The former have better rhythm.
those who are turned on by cutting edge technology and those
who warm to it only once it's obsolete. Often the latter exhibits
great affection for electronic typewriters and vinyl records.
those who are afraid of prairies and those who are afraid of
the insides of elevators. Both delight in cut flowers.
those who write poetry and those who write about poetry.
Both are susceptible to untruths.
those who give to beggars and those who do not. Religion is
rarely a factor.
those who fight for the individual and those who fight for
society. Both are abstract thinkers.
those who like pigeons and those who do not. I like pigeons.
Contemplating Chaos at Burleigh Heads
My daughter skips
a jellyfish across the flats. She is collecting
pippies in a bucket and wears wet flowers
in her hair. It occurs to me
that my entire reality is reduced to ideas
of trees, stones and animals. That
the daughter I see ordinarily
is only the representation of an abstraction: a category
of sex, a name, a description, a series
the flowers in her hair
are not flowers. They are drowned butterflies
that have washed up with the jellyfish
along the shore—
and for that matter,
am I not an abstraction to myself? Gesturing
at the funnels and rolls of my emotions
with words like fear, joy, or grief. The grief
that comes when I confront my enormous uncertainty
about who this child is.
at the water's edge watching the waves
wash over her feet. If I could bend
a thread around the craggy line
of her body, trace her bays
and indentations, the slender peninsulas
of her fingers and toes, trace every drift
and ripple down to the twists and turns
of her molecules, the coastline
of her body would be infinite. And
because her body constantly erodes and renews
it would be an infinity that constantly
Soft snores float
from her bedroom. I stop writing
and walk outside. A smell of humus,
flash of silky oaks, the shadow of a possum crashes
along the gutter. Soon it will rain.
driving home from the beach,
I studied her in glances as she slept.
Each view varied so that—how do I say this?—
I saw first one child,
then another and another like a shuffling
of snapshots. But after some time,
I discovered a child that exists
between a possibility of several children.
I reached over
and touched that child's cheek: it was hot and red
and dented beneath my fingers.
It begins to rain.
When I return to my desk,
she will bring me the pippies in her bucket. A spray
of sand will cling to her feet and ankles,
her every step towards me eroding the surface
of her skin, leaving remnants of her
cells among the sand's fragments of shells
Why I Write
Because up the coal road way the bees came out so nicely.
Because I have got my rifle cleaned out and she is bright as a whistle.
Because the geese are in and one of them lays.
Because it rained very heavily and some of the road washed away.
Because every jack one of our cows have got calves.
Because the baby is crying. Tiara is sewing. Ellee is propping her face up.
Because Dad and Mr Jackson got the maul and struck Jerry just above the nose.
Because when I am older I want to drive a twenty ton articulated tip truck.
Because do you know who it was? Well, it was Ben Price!
Because I get wild in a second.
Because Uncle and Dad and Uncle Charlie went out egging in the Mary.
Because Alfred Douglas has had 50 cuts with the cane.
Because I have had the cane once and stood on the form twice.
Because Fairy is a bit lame on her nearside foreleg. She had a stone in it.
Because they had the inquest in the new dinner room.
Because Lall said she won’t be good friends with Carrie.
Because I am learning music.
Because Don says the orange trees will bear fruit in seven years.
Because I wish you many happy returns.
Because the bees came out so nicely and began to clean out their home.
Remembering Ross Creek
As darkness falls
dangle in the man-
getting twitchy – a wired
cuts the air as minions
flip and take off
velvet wings, the bats
like a black
across the sun-
stealing to the hinter-
to eat sweet
beneath a hot summer