A New Carol Jenkins Collection

Back in 2009, I reviewed Fishing in the Devonian by Carol Jenkins. I’ll save you the read (if you’re short on time) and tell you that I loved it. Since then, I’ve read oodles of other collections of Australian poetry and I still feel it’s one of the best.

Today, I received a copy of Jenkins’s new collection Xn in the mail. I’ve only had a very quick look, but it’s shaping up to be another winner.

Jenkins’s poetry is insightful, evocative and utterly engaging.

Digging Back

Here’s a weird little poem of mine that dotdotdash published back in 2009. I’m not sure if they’re still around (my half-hearted googling suggests they might not be), but they used to (and possibly still do) put together a brilliant little magazine. I don’t think Host has appeared anywhere else.

Host

The encrusted 

growth at the top of

my shin is the shape 

of a bivalve’s convex shell.

From a tiny puncture at its lower 

edge, a slender black extension 

emerges and then retracts,

barbed at intervals 

like an insect’s leg.

The one who steps in, I presume,

is my father. Like 

a Band-Aid he warns,

and drags back 

a strip of the scab

to reveal the movement of

something large and undeniably 

insectoid. The glossy hornet

banded black and yellow

would pass for a plastic one

but for its rhythmic twists

and the stinging panic it 

plants in my now-open 

wound. Reaching in 

and pinching behind its head,

he looks off to one side,

stays his breath,

and it’s out,

trailing a couple of wings

still wetly connected

by strands of anaemic flesh.

 

Recent Reading

Here is a small selection from (far too) many poetry books I’ve purchased over the past twelve months or so. I might even get myself sorted enough to write about them on here soonish.

I Was the Jukebox – Sandra Beasley; Exactly my own Length – Olivia McCannon; Tracy K. Smith – Life on Mars; Never, Never, Never Come Back – Kirsten Irving; Australian Love Poems 2013 – Edited by Mark Tredinnick; Even in the Dark – Rose Lucas; Some Ether – Nick Flynn; Black Aperture – Matt Rasmussen; Stag’s Leap – Sharon Olds; Theories of Falling – Sandra Beasley; and Firekeeper – Pattiann Rogers.

Image

You might have noticed one name coming up twice. There’s a very good reason for that. Here’s an example of Sandra Beasley’s exquisite poetry from her second collection Theories of Falling.

The Puritans

Every New England child alive &
enrolled in May 1993 has the same
solar eclipse scorched into her retina:
 
They line us up on the blacktop,
under the basketball hoop, hand out
pinhole viewers cut from cereal boxes
 
& say don’t look. Don’t look.
Now. Look now.        Now              stop.
And of course my whole science classkeeps staring,
 
we who have watched
anoles lose one tail and grow another,
who have learned to diagram & spell
 
endoplasmic reticulum. I squint
through cardboard emblazoned
with the Froot Loops toucan.
 
No ring of fire so much as a fist,
hovering in front of a bare light bulb.
That must be the hand of God,
 
I think.I can’t place His forearm. Class,
inside now
. Could the punch
be coming straight at us?