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.