If you think poetry isn’t for you. Think again.

My friend Michelle Dicinoski has recently released her collection of poems, Electricity for Beginners.

Most modern poetry leaves me cold – too weird and complex. I feel like a I  need a degree in philosophy and cryptic crosswords just to get a handle on them.  Not so Michelle’s work.

With deceiving simplicity she weaves half-magic worlds that are still deeply familiar and moving. Reaching for meaning and a truth that is beautiful.

Here’s a section from her poem, “The City Gauge” about her experience of the recent floods in Brisbane.


Soon it will be dawn, soon it will be

weirdly beautiful – the water a foot from the floorboards,

high-set verandahs kissing their reflections,

six-foot fences vanquished – soon we’ll realise we’re trapped.


But for now, it’s night, and there’s just

the torchlight, and the radio voices

and the raising things up, the lifting that is like belief :

the best that we can do

            but never high enough.

Michelle’s poems resonate with this kind of beauty but also show her sense of humour and keen intelligence. 

I particularly like

silverware, girlish, shivers in its drawers from “Arterial”.

and  “Off Season at Concord” about her encounter with a statue of Thoreau

I pashed Thoreau

in Massachusetts but

it being winter

and he being bronze

he almost took my lips

(which are large and

wouldn’t suit him).

He stood alone by his shed –

room for a desk and a single bed –

staring hard at his palm as if he’d misplaced something –

a pencil, or an embrace.

Poor dead bugger.


When I am dead and famous

build me a statue of

ice or grass – something that

melts or shoots – and let me look up, up


not forever down

at my own damned hand.

This is just a taste of the many delights in Electricity for Beginners. “Turf” is another favourite, “Prayer Flags”, “Owl”, “Such Riches”, “Lexicon”, “Rounds”. I love them all. But you’ll have to buy your own copy to read them. It’s available direct from the publisher at  http://www.cloudsofmagellan.net/ or if you’re in Sydney Gleebooks has it too.

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  1. Yes, agree, agree, agree …always loved the one about Thoreau. Michelle Dicinoski is my poetry hero!

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