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Content From Issue: Volume 4 Number 1 (February 2017)

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now


by Harriet Tarlo

I was immediately struck by the title of Dan Eltringham’s poem (“[Hard to know where to feel now]”). “Where” comes up frequently in these poems and in titles such as “Where Our” (Davidson) and “WHERE ONE IS AND WHERE ONE IS GOING …” (Tichy). So, unsurprisingly, does feeling. Poetry (lyric) is of course traditionally all about feeling but too often, historically, our lack of sense of where we are and how we engage with where we are has led to an over-emphasis on ourselves and the earth as ours, on our minds and souls over our mammalian bodies. Even apocalyptic poetry (of which there is a rather tedious amount) is generally focused on apocalypse for us. Eltringham’s line opens up feeling to “where” as preeminent: where in the world, where in the corresponding body through which we sense the world, is that feeling. It brought to my mind Charles Olson’s statement in “HUMAN UNIVERSE” that “The act of trying to say is always an act of location”, a phrase from which Matthew Cooperman has drawn out an argument for (reading) locationary poetry.

I have been drawn to locationary poetry here and one of the interesting things about selecting for this issue, and indeed reading it now as a whole, is the diversity of those locations both in terms of the connections we can draw between what is happening in different parts of the world and in terms of the specificities that poets embody in form and reference when they attempt to make place, landscape and environment an active agent in the work. The specificities are often acknowledged in titles, epigraphs and references as well as the poems themselves, in times and places as diverse in location and variety as “Hackney Wick, May 2012” [London], “The Huon Highway” [Southern Tasmania, Australia] and “Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco”. We range from grasslands to marshes, stations to forest, cities to fields, islands to beaches. Such bioregional ways of thinking cut across our political boundaries and remind us of the perils (alongside pleasures) of thinking with maps. Living and working in the world of landscape/eco poetry and poetics, I find water to be particularly prevalent in many poets’ and artists’ work as it has been in my own collaborative projects with Judith Tucker over the last few years (see cover of this issue). I found rich explorations of water in Veronica Fibisian’s “Concertino in C flat Major”, a poem which provides a more subtle engagement with our relation with maps as well as the inter-relationship of human and sea cultures, in Tichy’s “Suibhine on Eigg” (discussed below), and in Susan Richardson’s suggestive estuarine poem, “glass”, with its play on perception and sense of the “managed tide”.

Throughout the process, I have selected poems, often in the Modernist tradition, which push the language in the conviction that this is what makes us work hardest to question and, at times, laugh at our values inherent in the language. Both feed into change. Amy Evans derives her wordplay in part at least from the hermetic and etymological linguistic investigations of another modernist poet, H.D., as the mention of the “sea rose” suggests – sea/water/flood puns run through her “SOUND((ING))S” sequence, part of which is extracted here. They have the effect of being both witty and edgy: edgy in their exploration of the liminal border of land/sea and edgy in conveying a sense of threat both to and from the sea.

From water to wood to stone then, and between these materialities also, these poems play with our perceptions of the material world and often, in New Materialist bent, challenge and erode separations. Giles Goodland opens his “On Stone” with a playful misquote of Heraclitus: “You can step on the same stone twice” and proceeds to play further with an exploration of our consciousness of stone and stone’s consciousness of us but, above all, with our language’s easy appropriative and accustomed usages of the elements around us for human purposes. His Steinian questions without questions marks (“Is air of detachment. Is body of water.”) transform a given into an inquisition and lay the emphasis on the previously discrete nouns and their meanings. Ann Fisher-Wirth’s “[We’re mostly headed for hell]” references the economics, textures and uses of wood while Peter Larkin, longstanding poet-philosopher of trees, demands close attention to his delicate tracing of dependencies through forest ecologies in “Emergent Habits”. I find his work not dry, as it might at first appear, but hopeful as well as stimulating, drawing from a very different system of living and perhaps even thought. A sense of “emergency” suddenly grows to include the possibility of “emergence”. The language does it.

Both Goodland and Evans make reference to classical mythologies in their work, as do many of the poets here. They explore what the myths and rituals and stories of our ancestors’ might teach us, but none of these writers attempt to return us innocently to an ancient past as more naïve environmentalists might do. The Gods must speak in and through now as they do in Julie Maclean’s strikingly present tense poem, “Otway Fire Mother”, which explores bioregion as goddess alive with creatures, “eyes everywhere”, and in Helen Moore’s “Mimesis/Nemesis” where Keridwen has metamorphosed into agricultural machinery which has appropriated the name “Krone”. The poem seems almost to pursue the “triple goddess” through the unpromising contemporary field ecology, yet the visitors or initiates still pursue the sacred in plant form or a return perhaps to the maiden.

Ecopoetics recognises that we must revisit the past and draw on all our cultural resources in the quest for changed thinking, as well as giving tribute where tribute is due, rather than dwelling on the twin and dangerous myths of originality and progress. Mario Petruccio’s translation of the fourteenth-century poet, Hafez, is perhaps the most intriguing example of this here. The places and perceptions of the two poets (Hafez and Petruccio) meet in this text and cross time into our own age, bringing thoughts about sustainability and how we define and learn from wild, natural, farmed and the intimately tended lands we call gardens. Frances Presley reconsiders the scientist Ada Lovelace in reference to the geology of her youth; gender politics emerges through the fractured fragments of “Typography of terra infirma”. Susan Tichy acknowledges and cites Nan Shepherd in her meditative walking poem written in a grammatical and poetic two-line stanza which builds a rhythm that refuses closure until the very last line. Tichy’s “Suibhne on Eigg” revisits a very different history, that of the Seventh Century poet-king, Suibhne, but I must admit that I was drawn as much as anything by the beautifully constructed and condensed sound patterning of these slight island prose poems: “A haven under thorn. A northward hum.”

We extend back in time. We also extend out beyond the self in terms of our bodily senses, engaging with places with our whole bodies and beyond our own bodies, again as New Materialism advocates. Crucially, and with particular urgency (in the face of species extinction and mistreatment), writers are exploring the world of the “non-human” in new ways, following a line of thought that questions the very binary of human/non-human and the absurdity (“une bêtise”) of the category of “animal”.  John Berger, Jacques Derrida and Carey Wolfe are often credited with this philosophical development but it is of course closely linked to the critique of Western binary thinking carried out so powerfully in the work of Donna Haraway and Val Plumwood, one of the greatest Australian environmental thinkers whose legacy is celebrated in the name of this journal.

I have selected poems here which interrogate the diverse categories and roles humans assign to “animals” from spectacles in zoos and aquaria (Meredith Wattison’s funny and fascinating exploration of relationalities in such a context and Lucas Smith’s more hard-hitting “The Lungfish’s Refusal”) to beehives (Caitlin Stobie’s “Hum”, a deceptively short and sweet piece shifting between human and bee experience of honeymaking) to domestic animals (Mark Young’s “a complex number” which, in witty, throwaway vernacular, extends our idea that a pet constitutes a single species). There is considerable controversy within Animal Studies over anthropomorphism yet in poetry we find radical imaginings of bodies, languages and feelings that make us wonder whether there isn’t a place for this. These can only be attempts at empathetic imaginaries but, acknowledged as such, I see them as valuable especially when they apply to the creatures humans have less ability to empathise with, such as Susan Richardson’s sonically rich poem exploring the eye/I of the halibut. Stuart Cooke’s “Song of the Wandering Cat” explores what this so-called “domestic animal” might be doing when it is not with us in a playful page-leaping embodiment of cat-life in the present moment “NOW”.

Cooke’s poem is also a demonstration of more “traditional” and “experimental” techniques coming together successfully – in this case, open form and metaphor. As I would expect in this field, creative use of space on the page is evident in much of this poetry, and works in multiple ways – Fibisan for instance works within justified text margins to create a sense of the flow and tide of the sea in the spaces between words as well as the words themselves. Some of the most adept and striking examples of classic open form are in the poems of Frances Presley, Andrew Jeffrey and Natalie Joelle. Like Cooke, these poets use the form to embody the body’s movement through space (walking, being transported by boat or train), thus making a sense of place through movement and pause. The manipulation of the line on the page also evokes locationary specificities in very particular ways for and of themselves. In “land  ÷ slip I and II” Presley creates a wonderfully particular stanza to evoke and embody the geology of slip, each phrase acting alone and in conjunction with its companions creating many patterns of sound and repetition, slips of eye and tongue. Jeffrey’s “Out to Inner Farne” evokes a sailing rather than walking process, and returning us to water, as spatial and sonic forms shift delicately through the pages. Humour runs through this poem, culminating in the fact that the boat never lands – the slightly bewildered and distracted humans (trying to retain electronic contact throughout) do not achieve their aim, but do move through a realm of birds, fish and islands. Joelle’s pages are seething with energy, their projective lines making direct reference to the politics of the field, keeping text to a minimum and language malleable and alive. All these poets incorporate found materials and histories into their work, feeding into our understanding of how we have seen and intervened with land, in Joelle’s case the development of a herbicide whose name evokes a long agricultural history including the relations of the poor to farming (labour, enclosure, gleaning). Setting Joelle beside Moore makes for interesting connections in these contemporary Georgics.

A different kind of fragmentation is in evidence in Jake Goetz’s “Sutherland Station (notes for poems)”, another process-led piece in which jokey, yet disturbing, “facts” and memories interplay and, as in the fine old avant-garde tradition, we the readers must make the connections, read between as well as through the lines. Yet further experimentation with technique (derived perhaps from Concrete poetry and/or Oulipo constraint) is found in Dave Drayton’s poems which subvert accustomed reading methodologies at first glance. Drayton generates cryptic lines on “MAN” and “LAW”, whose playfulness mocks the pompous titles his poems bear; he destabilises our notions of worth in relation to masculinity and political categories of place in part through the cutting off and querying of familiar adages in relation to these areas. Constraints, used also by Tichy in “Suibhne on Eigg”, remain an important element of writing that wishes to remain aware of its writerliness which also has the effect of pulling the poet back from easy indulgence of rhetoric and lack of interrogation of the ecology of our language and its value systems.

I want to return to where we started with the very human question about “where to feel now”, and a final discussion of pronouns and places. Who, after all, is doing the feeling? I have noticed in recent work how the “I” diminished, often in favour of the “we” as we continue the journey (began again by the modernists) to draw us away from the lyric “I” to more materially entangled perceptions. We see it here in Stobie, Richardson, and Fisher Wirth’s provocative title, “[We’re mostly headed for hell]”. Where we do find an “I”, as in Eltringham, it is an enmeshed “I” (“baked in Britain”, “raw meat on my hands”), full of conflicted feelings of anger and love. Evans too is angry in England, even as she is frolicsome in her little “Counter Café” poem ending, “Oppose It your eyes”. Nothing so simple as polemical, these poets, but definitely political. Another diversion from the poet’s “I” and experience is to explore how we might inhabit another’s place and language. Ann Fisher-Wirth’s poems, shown here alongside Maude Schuyler Clay’s photographs, do far more than documentary or preachifying to open up the experience of Mississippi people living in an environmentally degraded and threatened bioregion. These voices speak in such a believable vernacular that we can hardly believe they are “fictive”, as Fisher-Wirth informs us. These carefully crafted and sounded out voices, their fragmentary stories, are reminiscent of Lorine Niedecker’s New Goose poems exploring the flooding shore of Lake Wisconsin in the 1930s, another important Modernist predecessor for the ecopoetic writings presented here.

“You” can be more powerful too in its conveyance of relationality especially when it shifts uncertainly in reference in a poem such as “Reprise” or in Presley’s land-slip work. The poet, Toby Davidson, is a master of such dizzying  and defamiliarising slides of tempo as we see in “Where Our” – here we shift back in time through a long temporal simile beginning at the end of stanza one and running right through the poem to its bathetic/profound conclusion. Davidson, like several of the Australian poets here, touches on the politics of land rights. As in Mike Ladd’s poem, “The Huon Highway” there is a strong sense here of a multicultural layering of histories captured in land and the names for land, in which some names are lost and buried. Another “where”: “where are their names?” Louise Crisp’s “Buckley’s Lake (Monaro)” is a powerful fragment of a much longer exploration of The Monaro Lakes which extends this concern. The politics of naming, classification and knowledge is relevant to plants also. I loved Crisp’s closely researched “MIWANY (Yam)” in which the sheer profusion of flora, in particular, edible flora, masses into a prose-poem block, an almost physical (richly material and sonic) protest against the dismissal of the tablelands of the Monaro. The human is not omitted but it is minimalised, brought down to size in the little embedded reference to walking into the reserve in spring. Heading over to America, in Katelyn Kenderish’s “Rondeau in January” presence of plantlife in a supposedly largely dormant season asserts itself with no human reference at all in a revivification of a Medieval/Renaissance poetic form.

In this issue of Plumwood Mountain we find just such a rich diversity and I’d like to thank the contributors for the immense pleasure and provocation they bring here and to offer the readers the following lines from Evans’ “SOUND((ING))S” to end my introduction and begin their reading:

Please Listen

to the fol.lowing

pLease listen

To the follo/wing

pplease listEn

To the follow(er)ing

. . .




Published: January 2017
Harriet Tarlo

Harriet Tarlo’s poetry publications include Love/Land (REM Press, 2003), Poems 1990-2003 (Shearsman Books, 2004), Nab (Etruscan Books, 2005), Poems 2004-2014 (Shearsman 2015), and Field (Shearsman 2016). Artists’ books, Sound Unseen and Behind Land with Judith Tucker  were published with Wild Pansy in 2013 and 2015. Her academic essays on modernist and contemporary poetry appear in critical volumes published by Edinburgh University Press, Salt, Palgrave and Rodopi. Recent critical and creative work appears in Pilot, JacketRampikeEnglish Journal of Ecocriticism and Classical Receptions. Exhibitions of texts, in collaboration with Jem Southam and Judith Tucker, have appeared at The Lowry, Salford, Tullie House, Carlisle; Musee de Moulages, Lyon and The University of Minneapolis. She edited a special feature on “Women and Eco-Poetics” for How2 Vol 3: No 2 and The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry (Shearsman 2011). She works part-time as a Reader in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, U.K. and also freelance on various commissions and creative projects. Recent thoughts on ecopoetics can be found in her introduction (above) to the poetry section of Plumwood Mountain 4:1 on this site.





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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

[Hard to know where to feel now]

by Dan Eltringham

Hard to know where to feel now with a foodmiles

nationalism with a baked-in-Britain arc

described by a lorry, with a farm-to-fork fuck-you

to those who can’t. Not sorry, all smiles.

I’m baked, but am I in Britain? Nark

right off, stretch our your supply chain – who

links to who – whose links mediate my love

for you this morning as the train gathers pace

but not extinguished and not tainted

by relative distance. Snail trails across

continents, a luminous & beautiful info-

-graphic in green and blue, non-core functions

in different pots. There’s what’s in your

fridge or what’s in your heart, just a tap away,

just a tap away, open source & pour: don’t cook:

just, just:

Sorry about the call last night love

I was just checking your acidity levels, face

up to it, sorry not sorry, slip yourself a sedative

and get back to it. Set the table for two.

Take what you want, pay as you feel,

Take what you want and pay for it,

the cheapest price isn’t always the best deal.

Working hard on a relative rhyme but not

to avail, it reketh nought, recapitulation

rifts the plane of a Devon Hedge cut

through red clay in the gloaming. Might

I wind down this way without end? Night

trips to day to night, didn’t bring a light,

held in unearthly earth and a final end

in a map misread & the wrong campsite.

Reservoirs link up the valley in a chain

of latency, reserves held & released to spend

the sluice down concrete chutes shut

and opened, opened and shut, life

adjacent to its sustaining. I would fain,

for just one drop, drink the negative lake

in the gathering dusk, an image of itself

in the roomy dark …

But supply demands slake

of slack demand. O supple subtle saucy

resource how do we salsa where do we get

our: raw meat on my hands: but where to cut?

Published: January 2017
Dan Eltringham

is a poet, academic and editor. His poetry and translations have appeared in journals including Colorado Review, E-Ratio, Datableed, Blackbox Manifold, The Goose, The Clearing and Intercapillary Space. His first collection, Cairn Almanac, will be published by Hesterglock Press in the Spring of 2017. He co-edits Girasol Press and co-runs Electric Arc Furnace, a new poetry readings series in Sheffield.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Where Our and Reprise

by Toby Davidson

Where Our


Bipeds living separate lives emote securely to a circle of screens.

Keypads flash down Loma Street walls in reds and greens, ersatz

shipping lanes. Oxidise space. Hypnotise. Lay waste, like the first


sold a shooter’s paradise—kangaroos, bronzewings splashing

from jarrah and wattle of quarried North Cottesloe, that feral,

goannaed ‘Siberia’. Teamsters, gamblers, camel races, picnicked


attempts at a ragged Brighton, baby contests for unsecured plots.

Noongar, West Indian, Chinese hawkers with spices, sponges,

contraptions, fisherfolk trading shock at that attack, the look


of the kid hauled grey from a dancing bosom meant to cure

everything. Jetty bands, parlour cars, a twelve-foot tiger strung

pointedly—attractions worth queuing for. ‘Costume, Men


and Women: Dress of dark material, serge, flannel or flannelette,

extending over the shoulder to the knee. Those in swimsuits

should not loiter.’ This was before the advent of the groyne.





Encased museum whispers of the sky world flit the masks

of tinctured-only non-complaint binding sunken sorrow.

Surfacing all golden-eyed, they shield themselves

with infant hands, plug to something in their laps

or spurn announcements, then in French, to sever

open glory lest their waxen slack-jawed memberships

to numinous imposture fail. Sleepers paw at rays

the very disc-clouds bear in numbers. Above (you choose)

the Solomons, lilac streaks hone cometlike to pinkest

cuttlefish quills. You, Half-Planet, hide upon, below,

as a wreathed blue range and a wing: Canadian birds

fly arrowhead Vs, Australians loose barometric sheathes

and so they hang cross-hatched in economy, ruffling wavy

suns which burst clipped dreams and return to you proudly.

Published: January 2017
Toby Davidson

is a West Australian poet now living in Sydney as a lecturer at Macquarie University. He is the editor of Francis Webb’s Collected Poems (2011) and author of the critical study Christian Mysticism and Australian Poetry (2013). His first collection of poetry is Beast Language (2012).

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Typography of terra infirma …

by Frances Presley

These are all from a sequence of poems about Ada Lovelace, the mathematician who worked with Charles Babbage on the Analytic Engine, which led directly to the modern computer.  Part of her life was spent on the Somerset coast near Porlock, an area subject to landslips, which are increasing due to global warming. 

The poems combine elements of Ada’s life and the landscape, visual poetics and geological studies.  The landslip poems use a simple algorithm in which one line of verse is divided or undercut by another.  “Typography of terra infirma” is based on a geological study and plan of the landslipped coast which morphs into the female body.


Typography of terra infirma






Study of landslipped coastal slopes and woodland, Culbone woods

land   ÷  slip  I


land  ÷  slip   II





Published: January 2017
Frances Presley

lives in London. Publications include An Alphabet for Alina, with artist Peterjon Skelt (Five Seasons, 2012), Halse for Hazel (Shearsman, 2014) with images by Irma Irsara, and Sallow (Leafe, 2016). Her work is in the anthologies Infinite Difference (2010), Ground Aslant: radical landscape poetry (2011) and Out of Everywhere2 (2015).   

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Three poems

by Susan Tichy

‘In country that is rough, but not difficult, one sees where one is and where one is going at the same time’ (Nan Shepherd)


As rock speaks to any

trained or curious eye:


someone else

sometime else


laid down words—

thin sheets or thick—


something broke them

lifted, pressed them


here: each rippled sand

each pebble clenched:


motion rendered

visible, in red boulders


thick with clasts, a wild

conglomerate, something made


of other things where

‘pain and suffering shape


the mind,’ a quite implausible

‘up above’ where wind hammers


worlds together: convenient

and bleak


reduced to brash or

lichen crust as brute matter



a mystery thick


as contour lines on an old map

—called reticent


or maybe clitched, or

‘looking back down


the path to the sea’

—I meant seabed


a fossil storm just

part way up


to paradise—look here:

a shallow dip in rough scree


‘where water comes gradually

into focus’ only because


it trembles: that is wind

speaking softly


felt by those who carry pain

as others carry


talismans, a descendental



to walk all day in pursuit

of fear—I mean


to corner it, trap it, parse it

thumbing a rock


of green/black waves

touching light


in the form of leaf

time in a metamorphic


stone: ‘and who

with any sense


can’t be interested

in that?’—the sheen


the shades, the Gates

of Delirium


sandstone, sandwort

iron oxide


thought or spasm

touch or word:


where a breeze

crosses pain flutters


muscle, ligament

sediment, sentiment


trees bent flat

by wind and snow


skirling waves

of rock uplifting:


try to stand there

try to find


a there exactly

touching here


a timberline

so crystal clear


so free of pity

free of dread


and all the lakes

that live there still


as wind.


Avalanche Theory


Not cross-section but snow cushion

Not snow cushion but wind slab

Not wind slab but depth hoar

Not depth hoar but deprivation

Not deprivation but detriment

Not detriment but punishment

Not punishment but pillory

Not pillory but armory

Not armory but memory

Not memory but milkweed

Not milkweed but fireweed

Not fireweed but free fall

Not free fall but base fold

Not base fold but firn snow

Not firn snow but snow plume

Not snow plume but speed of sound

Not speed of sound but surge of air

Not surge of air but line of fracture

Not line of fracture but alabaster

Not alabaster but adamant

Not adamant but parchment

Not parchment but palinode

Not palinode but pine warbler

Not pine warbler but wind pebble

Not wind pebble but blunt pencil

Not blunt pencil but burned pillar


Snow rarely falls in a state of absolute calm


six sections from Suibhne on Eigg: A Dictionary of His Days and Nights


This sequence began during my residency at Bothan Suibhne/Sweeney’s Bothy on the Hebridean island of Eigg. A collaboration between Alec Finlay and The Bothy Project, the glass-walled, one-room retreat is the second in a series of artist huts in remote Scottish locations. Finlay has written: I was inspired by the ancient Gaelic legend of Suihbne/Sweeney, the 7th century poet-king who underwent a traumatic crisis in the clash and bring of battle, levitated, leapt, and took to sleeping in a thorn bush. His war-torn exile in the wilderness became a way to interrogate the wild mind, hutting, dwelling, survivalism, protest, and island culture. In some tales, Suibhne found brief refuge on Eigg, the farthest point in his wanderings. In keeping with the limits of island resources, the poems are composed using the Analytic Dictionary procedure (created by the Oulipo’s Noël Arnaud) in which each word must be generated from letters of preceding words arranged in a prescribed and compact graphic.




An inch of silver light. A narrow danger, illegible intent, or an amorous arc in low, gray water. Then rock nest, hump-backed, veering high above raw, green edge. Tender yarrow opens at evening. Reach wild rest.




A salt hut under island’s black headland. A nervous eagle, unafraid of northward-slanting light. An empty eye, an anger, a lift: tensing. In doubt, he listens, arcs away as rising gulls turn east.




Sea-ash. Light-talk. Eye-sting. If island air is a hard glance, a low hut is home to kelp and thistle.




A haven under thorn. A northward hum. To view the danger is to own the edge. As echo, as ebb, so rest and rage will near, return. Narrowly.




Its arc is its reach. Like a raven over open water, the eye reads its exact path. Or, as a compass alters without effort, so an echo touches a cliff. Double or nothing: in the enemy’s hand, a single rock.




A test of hope, its opposite is rage. Naked, exiled, his only path is ascent, but angle, like spear point, pierces. Gnawing, kneeling, torn, exhausted, he owns his own ending, scents his own death. Imagined terror: an exact equal.

Published: January 2017
Susan Tichy

Susan Tichy’s most recent books are Trafficke (2015), Gallowglass (2010), and The Avalanche Path in Summer (forthcoming), all from Ahsahta Press. Currently writing poems on mountains, coastlines, and island edges, she teaches at George Mason University, & when not teaching lives in a ghost town in the southern Rocky Mountains.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

The Lungfish’s Refusal, Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco

by Lucas Smith

Three mischievous logs lie on the gravel

in the dreary middle of a showcase

on shocking ways of aquatic survival.

Valisneria waves to the burnt face man


and he says, take a breath fuckwits,

I want to see you breathe, he says

And as if to the sound of trumpets

One lazy log rises above the rest


to middle water. A kid pounds the glass

then moves on, the albino crocodile’s

next door, eating lamb, the man is steadfast

take a breath dammit, go on.


The missing blue-eyed link investigates

each corner and settles ignorantly down

with its antique grinning blue-eyed mates.

Published: January 2017
Lucas Smith

is a PhD candidate at the National Centre for Australian Studies. His writing has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, The Lifted Brow, Australian Book Review, Cordite, Gargouille, Santa Clara Review and several others.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

The Huon Highway

by Mike Ladd

Pretty as a pippin and just as tight –

land of honesty boxes

and shot-holes in the signage.

Woods culture of stiff opinion:

log and lop / love and lock.

Square houses, their squiggles of smoke

tanging the valley.

A road from big to small:

stormclouds hazing the Hartz mountains,

in the tidy glens, a wrenish attention to detail.

All double lines:

massacre of possum and pademelon,

gut stink in the roadside daisies.

The blackberries ripen by the river

which starts out Scots and English,

finishes sweepingly French –

and the Tahuni Lingah, where are their names?

Published: January 2017
Mike Ladd

lives and writes in Adelaide. He ran Poetica on ABC Radio National for two decades and currently makes radio documentaries for RN. His most recent collection of poetry and prose is Invisible Mending, published by Wakefield Press in 2016.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Sutherland station (notes for poems)

by Jake Goetz

Every machine will gradually take on this patina and lose its identity in its function.

– Wind, Sand and Stars, Antoine de Saint-Exupery




a comparison


the government’s stance

on asylum seekers

could be best explained

in the way roll-your-own smokers

are smarter than tailored

purely because of the Aussie facts

on Tally-Ho packs, e.g.


The hottest Australian day in

history was in Oodnadatta,

South Australia. On the 2nd of

January 1960. It was 50.7C.


with anti-natural                                    Enhance your                                                 you

beauty injections            OR                  natural beauty             OR          beauty (!) inject

Enhance                                                    with anti-wrinkle                        with ant       ink

your wrinkle.                                            injections.                                       o (!) (w ink) .




‘how to get lost in                   ’


go to                 ’s

central station

and turn left then right

then left usw.

detail the walk




8202     Fury     Fury     SHORTY     RIGS     Ryos     Pacific National …

54 carriages of coal

something about

‘a run-away economy’




I forgot about it from time to time; only when

my teacher came into the classroom and put

the composition books down on the desk without

a word, I was afraid he had found out about it,

and the whole world would find out about it.

As a rule, I was the first he called up when the

composition books were distributed, and I had

to go out in front of the class …




how poetry passes the time –

a Dionysian app – the aim?

one must be absolutely modern

in an ad for tic-tacs:

Do you chew?




move to Spain

get a job and enjoy

tapas y cerveza   after this

lose one’s self to travel

head to Tarifa   look over

the Mediterranean

at the mountains of Morocco

sitting in a summer mist




write something short

and meditative about

the winter morning

i smoked a Marlboro gold in Incheon

staring at the clean

empty streets




… the only one who had made no mistakes.

1 worker hammers, 4 workers watch

( ‘… Coniston, Dapto, Unanderra …’ )

She died the same summer and …

a baby cries, conductor whistles

… I forgot about it, as you forget water

you drank somewhere when you were thirsty.

Published: January 2017
Jake Goetz

is a writer from Sydney. His poetry has most recently appeared in Cordite, Rabbit, Otoliths and is forthcoming in Southerly. In 2016 he completed a manuscript of poems through the ASA’s Emerging Writers mentorship program.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Song of the Wandering Cat

by Stuart Cooke


I’ve run from the valley’s crazy harvest

I’ve run for the ravine’s azure loft

I’m resting on this idle rim

the song breathing hard within me

I am resting

a song is breathing


the wind sneaks up

sneaks up on the shoulders of the silence

the wind sneaking up

asking, aaasking – only     the mmm

the merest tip, almost white, slightest asking, “Who?

who?” Then: “WHO?”


before darting off, a woolly

blanket over sleeping bedrock


at rest I’m rolling hills coated in blackest syrup

I’m at the edge of body

I’m at the very edge of ether

I’ve never known who, but wants re-elongate me

to glare presence

I am oozing this sweet honey


I am a child of the thumping paw prints

of the rolling canto

the pure phrase


eternity’s at my back

the land is brittle

as old rat rachis

my tail is a serpent

it follows me breezily through altitudes




or the shape is just a log

glinting with moss

and I’m lost in lamp, swiping at tinges

of spider and tic


in which case I’m a frail, spluttering orb

an organism shrinking amidst the honeyed-smoke

of fried almonds


but I am still singing this song


earth is certainty

my body is mercurial


I’m seeping back to jewel potential

a smile in the night’s pupil

either certainty or who


might approach will fall

into the folds beside each word

shredded by synonym

lashed by saliva strings

my steely gristle-music fight!


but the song stops again

I am meat cured beside a mossy log



Miles from any place, translating pressurised thought

into a torrent’s punch, or

sting and spider needle, or

drill and tic guts.


I’m at weather’s mercy;

my tail is a blind serpent.

I’m dense frequency heavy,

clumsier than speech.


I am still seeking this song.



At rest I am rolling hills coated

in blackest syrup.


My paws know better. All sense ends in shred:

signal clumping into claws, into my forest of teeth.


At rest I am the rolling hills,

or I am relocating mercurially.


Any snap, any rustle is




I am land-beat, figure limbed:

my face is a carving in a century of rock;

at flight I shed semantic cloaks.

I am far from here and always;

I am far from here and always, kill: song’s rupture;

potent and nervous, vibe’s shot,

porous as the heaviest gust.

This song I am, still.

Published: January 2017
Stuart Cooke

Stuart Cooke’s latest collection is Opera (Five Islands Press, 2016). He is the winner of the 2016 Gwen Harwood Prize and the 2016 New Shoots Prize. He lives on the Gold Coast, where he lectures at Griffith University.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Otway Fire Mother

by Julie Maclean

The gully is numb today

eyes everywhere


as spirit winds

from the red heart


blow smoke, flames

and tangled atoms


into her dry hair of wild casuarina,

eucalyptus obliqua


Her belly soon fills

with rare hooded plover,


baby echidna, quolls

In her mouth


a caged platypus

swims from side to side



against her teeth


She spits it out

as charcoal


like a lorikeet

spitting seeds


while a lyre bird



the cries of frogs—




Striped Marsh, Spade-foot—


too slow too late

to leap or crawl


from the boiling pools

of her sacred eyes

Published: January 2017
Julie Maclean

lives on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia, and has published three collections of poetry. Her fourth, ‘Lips that Did’  is due in 2017 from Dancing Girl Press, US. Blog:

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

On Stone

by Giles Goodland

You can step on the same stone twice. Lungs grind stone to powder, to air. Stones tumble
from my eyes when I look into stone. If stones think then we must be what stone is
thinking. We clamber on stone and make fires and when it cracks, that is laughter. Around
the planet, the stones are arranged in order of importance. Stones are being still. They
believe what we think and at night, they visit us. Break open the right stone and your eye
rolls out. When people enter stone, they cannot leave. All that was is laid down in stone.
When they say it is ‘written on stone’, they mean they cannot read it. A house feeling its
way through woods takes a long time, so it sleeps on the pulse of stone. We come out and
see the wind has run away from us: we undid the stones by pulling them. Write the poem
hard, the clock has a second language. Stones filch from the pile of the yet to be felt. A tall
library is a layer of stone that will depose us. It grinds to thought all we began with. A
morning wind troubles the curtain of you. The words’ beginnings are lost when the
sentence turns back to stone. The stones replace their eyes with us nightly so that they can
see. Each dream is an interpretation of what is matter to us, but shadow to them. Later I will
sit and read the paper and attempt to not see you. We repeat the excesses of childhood by
denying them. Stone is to sand as person is to person. Is the ground of mountain. Is air of
detachment. Is body of water.

Published: January 2017
Giles Goodland

was born in Taunton, was educated at the universities of Wales and California, took a D. Phil at Oxford, has published a several books of poetry including A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001) and Capital (Salt, 2006). The Masses is forthcoming from Shearsman in 2017. He works in Oxford as a lexicographer and lives in West London.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now


by Helen Moore

In the meadow that slopes

to an aching stream,


we’re pilgrims come to reverence

this mythical plant – a chimera

that’s animal & vegetable in form.


But the tractor’s already made its bid

for silage,

& from the margins, rattles round robotic –


Krone arm bearing down

where grasses quake & fall,


this Keridwen come before her time

gnashing teeth,


her galvanised desires

mutated beyond the ancient rites

of husbandry.


We rush in where angels knelt;

this dwindling haven

from which still ascend


on slender spears

Ophrys apifera – sepals colour of white-girl

nipples, where each


corolla’s russet fuzz

is scented

eau-de-female Bee;


has stubby flightless

wings our quivering

fingers touch.


How could such beings evolve

so wily in mimesis,

yet seem so innocent

of their nemesis closing now?


These ever-decreasing circles –

Krone a swarm

maddened by the smog

of ancient sunlight –


in the meadow that slopes

to an aching stream


Krone is a make of agricultural machinery

Published: January 2017
Helen Moore

is an award-winning British ecopoet and socially engaged artist based in NE Scotland.  Her two poetry collections are Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012) and, acclaimed by John Kinsella as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics”, ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015).  FFI:

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now


by Caitlin Stobie

The hive is a giant

nose. See how communes sense

the queen’s elation:

that mystic history of honey.

Today I hum, yellow,

rehearing your laughter

waxing in carnation.

Because you know me

down to my peeled feet.

Because your lashes furl

in subtlety. I know

no utopia is

what it seems, but oh,

this sweetness smells clean

Published: January 2017
Caitlin Stobie

is a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds whose poems have appeared in journals including uHlangaThe Kalahari ReviewAerodromeNew Coin and New Contrast. She has recently been shortlisted for the RædLeaf International Poetry Award and is co-editor of EPIZOOTICS!, a journal for the contemporary animal.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Halibut’s Eye and glass

by Susan Richardson

Halibut’s Eye


sided-lop shift

optical drift

cross-skull nonplussing


fresh angle of crab

snatched curve of shrimp

squinter than simple switch

of gaze    astraying

to full eye-dentity change


now wowing

at the right-above

the two-times cod

the double sculpin

as I-socket halts

and ossifies


then itch of scales on the I-less side

a twitch down the unpatterned lateral line

at the think of what eye might

be missing


eye still remember

the upright swim

the lower jaw of the trawl net

that terroring


though caudal fin flicks

with its northing frame of mind

the greatest migration begins

with the riddle of assymetry

ends with a sinistral sense

that gravel and sand

are also blind





through you

we can see

mudsuck  moontug

the bore’s gulp

and reach


of herons’ beaks

scrinch and hulch

of crustaceans

through you

we can see

for ribboned miles

and weeks

far back as

the stipple

of salt

and sargasso

we can see

your epney ebb


the managed tide

sluice gates pumps

bankside tumps


by crooked rods

and lines

dark estuarine


through you

we can see

no could-have-been

no slip


no freshwater


no riverself slither





Published: January 2017
Susan Richardson

is a poet, performer and educator whose third collection of poetry, skindancing, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2015. She is currently poet-in-residence with both the Marine Conservation Society and the global animal welfare initiative, World Animal Day. Her fourth collection, themed around endangered marine species will be published in 2018.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Hafez 491

by Mario Petrucci

The rose breaks fast, and opens. Unresisting, I bear it into me – dark wine.

In this season, where is a rose-cup without petals, a petal lacking sheen?


If your soil is a dust of self-denial, the rosebud heart surely shrivels.

Gardener, irrigate your plot with wine – let every bud swell a little!


See, today, the Sufi – who, yesterday, spoke so solidly on the need

for moderation – out wobbling in the fields, enamoured of the wind.


These smooth-cheeked blooms won’t last the week: to come and go is

their nature. Nectar-drinker, you must hurry, as a bee does, to your rose.


Fellow lover: spring is in departure, and your rosebush yellows, untended.

The Beloved wine, like your garden’s insect music, drains away, unheeded.


Our flock, darkly asleep among the trees, awaited dawn: it came like a cup, up

-side-down, reflecting a Face filling with light, Light dripping at a nick in its lip.


See: the Master is also the Minstrel, plucking sky’s instrument to impossible rain.

That truer Sun for field and garden sings Love’s banquet, again, onto empty tables.

translation of the classic ancient Persian poet Hafez, a Sufi master

(14th C, Shiraz, Iran)

Published: January 2017
Mario Petrucci

Award-winning UK poet, ecologist and PhD physicist Mario Petrucci has held major poetry residencies at the Imperial War Museum and with BBC Radio 3.  Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl (Enitharmon, 2004) secured the Daily Telegraph/ Arvon Prize.  i tulips (Enitharmon, 2010) exemplifies Petrucci’s distinctive combination of innovation and humanity.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now


by Natalie Joelle

To Glean


Found text annotations to Millet’s The Gleaners from James Sanders, Self Portrait in Plants, Coconut Books 2015


lean & green








When entries do not completely fill a page the blank remainder of the page must be ruled out

– George Levitt, Notebook (1975-6), Hagley Museum and Library


“Gleanologics” gathers the rulings out from DuPont chemist George Levitt’s notebook documenting the synthesis of the first commercial sulfonylurea compounds, which would be trademarked and marketed worldwide as Glean Cereal Herbicide.

Levitt later reflected on his discovery, “When I was a boy in Newburgh, New York, I looked forward to mornings when I would awaken to see the ground covered with a new snowfall. I would rush out to be the first person to leave footprints in the yard outside my window. As a synthesis chemist making new compounds, I could continue to be the first to leave footprints in the snow”.

The composite of Levitt’s marks here suggest a figure leaning in field space as precariously as George Seurat’s late 19th-century drawing “The Gleaner”.

“GLEAN® XP is a dry-flowable”, reads a recent user manual for the herbicide, “continuous agitation is required to keep GLEAN® XP in suspension”.

Published: January 2017
Natalie Joelle

is writing a transdisciplinary study of gleaning and its relationship to lean culture at Birkbeck, University of London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Further information about her work is available on, and she can be reached at

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

from Mississippi

by Ann Fisher-Wirth

These three poems are part of a collaborative book project called Mississippi that involves my poetry and the photography of the Delta photographer Maude Schuyler Clay. It’s important to know that the poems are in a variety of Mississippi voices–all fictive but all based in various environmental difficulties that besiege the state: periodic flooding of the Mississippi River; depleted soil and therefore poor harvests, plus massive deforestation; poverty. Yet the beauty and cultural richness and complexity of the state are also very real.



Cottonfields -Maude Schuyler Clay
Maude Schuyler Clay


[We’re mostly headed for hell]

Ann Fisher-Wirth


We’re mostly headed for hell now the devil’s come among us. No point reading the papers, watching the news, just got to lay up for the family best I’m able. My third wife, Jeanie, she’s got this little girl, bucktooth as a chipmunk, needs some orthodontia. Wood’s rotten on the porch, like to be some job getting that replaced. Squirrels at the wiring in the attic. And I still got to be paying child support to the deep-dyed bitch who run me out, and the other one, Bonnie, good Christian woman, good cook too, but she didn’t take to doin the dirty. Well what do you think?—couldn’t help it none after Jeanie leaned over me, holding my jaw while the doc pulled that molar. Soil’s poor, too much rain, no rain, cotton used to be good, but sparse this year no matter how you spray it—and now I’m up against selling off more timber. Loblolly pine. Grows fast, good money, but even it don’t thicken like it used to. Heart pine? thing of the past. Can’t find that good hard sappy wood no more, it’s all cut down, like my grandma’s house was built of, even the termites couldn’t chew it.


Maude Schuyler Clay
Maude Schuyler Clay


[Like to drove me crazy]

Ann Fisher-Wirth


Like to drove me crazy

the cicadas in the privet and pecan trees

whupping up their little motors

all those nights


like beating the eggs for angel cake

I’d churn that eggbeater

faster and faster

till my hand got tired let it fall back quiet


then oh shoot eggwhites not stiff enough

so here we go again


and them crickets

chirping and buzzing all silvery and tinkly

summer nights as I laid by Bobby


one day he flipped his ATV

hurt his foot couldn’t drive no longer

so we retired

bought a cabin out by Sardis


but we were happy in that house

fan stirring            sheets damp

he’d lick the salt right off my neck


all those bugs clamoring up

like love



Maude Schuyler Clay
Maude Schuyler Clay


[You may not have these cushions]

Ann Fisher-Wirth


You may not have these cushions

they are the ones my dying aunt chose for me


you may not have these spoons

though they tarnish in my drawer


or the blankets

that I mended


look at this pretty blue plate

with the flowers

and the bird


look at this cast iron skillet


oh, go ahead                rise up


smear the boards

soak the house


until it buckles             until it cracks



and whoosh


with a sigh and            lip                    lip                    lip

it subsides


Don’t you know we’ll get away


don’t you know we’ll leave by boat

by: Ann Fisher-Wirth in collaboration with Maude Schuyler Clay

Published: January 2017
Ann Fisher-Wirth

Ann Fisher-Wirth’s fifth book of poems, Mississippi, is forthcoming from Wings Press in 2017; this is a poetry/photography collaboration with the acclaimed Delta photographer Maude Schuyler Clay. Ann is coeditor of The Ecopoetry Anthology, published by Trinity University Press in 2013. A fellow of the Black Earth Institute, she has held residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, CAMAC/Centre d’Art Marnay, Hedgebrook, and The Mesa Refuge. She teaches at the University of Mississippi, where she also directs the Environmental Studies program. And she teaches yoga in Oxford at Southern Star.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Emergent Habits: Nearest Dress Far Over Trees (extract)

by Peter Larkin

emergency is the having become

prayerful, bowers

its abrasive screening

of the weakest acute


continual emergence of

lineage, seep of forest,

poverties strong with life

which trees amplify

and redress, learn the garb

out of this much


not zigzagging litter

off a tree apportioning

the cull of feature

but rooted in a call legacy:

tangent replacement still not

absorbance’s effacement


sighs of emergent spares

unmuffled (prayers) by foliage,

shiver a post-saturate

symbolic, shielding direct

arrived as it out-

dressed the clearing


irreducible unseverable,

horizons disparate in hold

briefly centred at the

return-margin’s cover


nested emergent threshold

needs be tested, a modality

of symbolic interference


emergency rough-out

gives a further turn

through any inhaled habit,

selectivity re-tempers

its own projection (pro-

jettison) of texture


realm fitfully decoupled

but repercussant     as in

urgent ephemeral prayer

sustained in recess,

orbital skein of wander-

ing long the winding


a shared upframe over

the world’s enter forest,

began to co-flank

its shadings


particles misapplied

give to history its

canopies of revocation,

narrative detracts under

a welter of para-event


a host of trans-thoughts lend a species to prayer, no generals except shy incommensurate relata     supervenient, hyper-primitive     all too privative unless encoating the excess     dresses it in a poverty of unconditional access, escorting prayer along its meta-palpables


seed-scale according to

a tarnish of leaf-scarf:

dual-phase emergence,

refine the removals and

relayer the growth


a caritas among the

not-yet transformed,

interacts a whole al-

ready with its missing

parts, now emergence

inhabits lesser-towards


press no subfunction

but adjacent verticality,

prayer’s addressable

lattice slant-gained:

this leaf-coating is not

imitative register


how forests think forward

their banking on shelter,

any lumpen whole is the

greeter of the located

scum of its parts:

something else is redress

for a nothing but


branches already in being

hang over our opening, a

paucity sensing controvertibles

between closures of becoming:

hard encounter will promote

corrugated symbol


the dependency gives its

minute impact declaration,

set to a roof unachieved-re-

coverable: by which our

self-organisings are other-

prayered, screened



let emergence be a wholescale

revision of the earth’s crust,

tuft of air sought in

tail of leaf, winged against

unlatticed retorts of roof


is not a plate of

existence but a surface

in service of all other

covers, such layering

a horizon hovers for

Published: January 2017
Peter Larkin

Peter Larkin’s poetry explores the idea of scarcity in its phenomenological aspects.  Previous collections of poetry include Lessways Least Scarce Among (2012), and Give Forest Its Next Portent (2014).  He contributed to The Ground Aslant: an Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, ed. Harriet Tarlo (2011). City Trappings (Housing Heath or Wood) was published in 2016.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

from SOUND((ING))S

by Amy Evans

from-soundings_page_02© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_03© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_04© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_05© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_06© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_07© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_08© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_09© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_10© Amy Evans 2017
from-soundings_page_11© Amy Evans 2017

Published: January 2017
Amy Evans

is a poet and classical singer based in London. Recent publications include The Report of the Iraq Enquiry (ff press, 2017), the broadside Stalking Gerard Manley Hopkins (Salient Seedling/Woodland Pattern Book Center, 2016), and her third chapbook, CONT. (Shearsman, 2015). Her poems and montages appear in Jacket, Dear World & Everyone In It (Bloodaxe, 2013), and elsewhere. She performed at Poetry and Sound at the ICA, London in 2016. Her at-sea poetry installation, SOUND((ING))S, takes place across the UK-France border in the English Channel ( She teaches at the University of Kent.

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From: Vol.04 N.01 – Where to feel now

Concertino in C flat Major

by Veronica Fibisan

1 Flow

through bone and brass I listen for the shore to crumble residue makes no noise       microscopic particles peel off the surface of the coast       with each wave                they bleed a little                 we hear the shore       through shells wood and wind the hum of particles loose and drowned unnoticing the cold weigh visitor-centre maps down with limpet shells       one crowns the corner on the left     creates island where there was perhaps an island       eroded dust settles down on that patch       the sand swells into a circularity a mass formed underneath                       just off the coast of Cornwall      the noise so low             that whole mounds move before the fishes notice               on a constant rise the sea bed is lifting      copying the limpet shell shape       on our maps reshaping us unaware of the storm                     the tide


2 Ebb

……………….unburied grass set in sand        the broken strings of bows rigid remembering past tension        the pull and snap of a sharp note        all that the musicians in us can do………………… revert to pluckingthislandscape dry sea water boils off at low tide a rusted cable cuts our shore in half……….a fold on the map in almost the sameplace we can read the rocks and sing them       put these molluscs to music      the radula of a limpet polishing the brass    half-sunken……toothed….wrack…..twisting……..the….melody hermit crabs scuttling to its rush     fossilized remains retranslated into a true sound……………………….of ourselves


Published: January 2017
Veronica Fibisan

Veronica Fibisan’s areas of interest include ecocriticism, ecofeminism and coastal radical landscape poetry. Her research focuses on the intertidal zone and her PhD is a practice-led creative and critical project on the UK shoreline, where she spends significant time. She has published creative work notably in CAST and The Sheffield Anthology.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.