Accidents of Composition

Is it the sun
a hole
sucking in a bird
or Icarus about
to singe the sun?

The poet asks as she circumnavigates the globe,
history—then, an inner universe. When it responds,
there’s the small shudder, the sprawl of a spin,
or the quiet before and after a full circle.

These revelatory poems travel through marginal histories and colonial encounters with an abundance of courage, curiosity, clairvoyance and humanity. Bobis is a lyrical shapeshifter; her dramatic luminosity and narrative flourishes inhabit other worlds.
— Michelle Cahill

A very vivid work. Sometimes immediately sensitive/sensual, sometimes
deliberately rough-edged, but always well-expressed, well-principled and
well-considered, and always thankfully “still tuning in.”
— Jennifer Maiden

The volcanics of poem and story are among [Bobis’] driving forces. But here “the weight of what we have written” carries a new urgency. What is at stake is the deep kinship of all life mediated by our own species. Just as a “tiny gumnut” is a”primeval dissident,” so the “presuming poet” must keep “tuning in.” Awe, grief, joy, love are among her companions of choice. The journey leaves none untouched.
— Patricia Sykes

In these troubled times tainted with fear, hate, and despair, “there is hope for us,” the poems assure us. In them I hear an exquisite polyphony of voices: passionate and poised, sensuous and serene, lyrical and philosophical. Like incantations, these poems ask to be read and heard aloud.
— Subhash Jaireth

After four novels, award-winning writer Merlinda Bobis returns to poetry. Her latest novel Locust Girl, A Lovesong received the 2016 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the Juan C. Laya Philippine National Book Award. Earlier she won various awards for her short story collection White Turtle and poetry, and her plays were performed internationally. About her creative process, she writes: ‘‘Writing visits like grace. In an inspired moment we almost believe that anguish can be made bearable and injustice can be overturned, because they can be named. And if we’re lucky, joy can even be multiplied so we may have reserves in the cupboard for the lean times.’’