We are pleased to welcome Eugen Bacon, whose latest speculative fiction microlit collection, written with Dominique Hecq, Speculate: A Collection of Microlit, just released, to talk about 5 of her top prose poetry books. More about the author, her work, and her blog tour and a giveaway at the end of this article.
Prose poetry is a rocketing form of microliterature, powerful in its persuasion and immediacy. The Prose Poetry Project in Australia, run by the University of Canberra and led by Professor Paul Hetherington, is an online collaboration of the curious in a trusting environment, where creatives revel in this ‘most undecidable form of poetry’.
In its breadth of work filtering into mainstream literature and snapping up awards, prose poetry undoubtedly continues to stun critics, publishers and readers alike.
It speaks to generosity and open-mindedness when publishers, such as IFWG Publishing Australia, Recent Work Press and Meerkat Press, swim with the tide to embrace this new form.
In February 2020, Penguin released The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, edited and prefaced by Jeremy Noel-Tod. It included versatile work by Margaret Atwood, among others, where the book’s introduction spoke to the expansion of this literary experiment.
The secret to prose poetry as a writer, as a reader is one: don’t overthink.
Let me tell you about a few stunners.
1. The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (2020) by Cassandra Atherton, Paul Hetherington (eds)
This spectacular collection of prose poetry by distinguished writers in Australia offers a strange magic by literary and scholarly titans, some household names. It includes a diversity of scrumptious, contemplative and chilling microlit by Kate Middleton, David Malouf, Dominique Hecq, Shady Cosgrove, Quinn Eades, Kevin Brophy, John Kinsella, Moya Costella, and more.
Over 200 pages of literary degustation, available from Melbourne University Press.
2. Learning to Have Lost (2019) by Oz Hardwick
Award-winning Oz Hardwick is the most prolific poet you’ll ever find. He writes on triggers and his prose poetry weaves into the speculative. In this collection, Oz Hardwick so exquisitely achieves the imagined without intrusion, it feels like the everyday. Learning to Have Lost is both haunting and astonishingly beautiful, an exemplary chapbook that is art as literature.
Hardwick’s bold yet compelling voice startles you with an itch of wings beneath your skin, whorls you to a world where books shrub into trees. You encounter the ghosts of yourself in a West Country summer where weightless shadows watch, and nearly-shapes on the empty street mutter seductive curses in crimson ink. As you ponder the do-it-yourself horror movie, borrowed hands slip into your core and play the mandolin in a retro-game of deep space.
3. Tracks (2020) by Dominique Hecq
Tracks is an elusive thing that leaves you wondering if it’s a collection of poetry, a series of microfictions, a riddle of vignettes… It resists labelling but is a powerful migrant’s journey into a real and imagined Australia.
A playful, fragmented poetic resistance to othering.
4. The Six Senses (Authorised Theft) (2019) by Cassandra Atherton, Jen Webb, Paul Hetherington, Paul Munden, Jordan Williams
‘The six senses have rarely been invoked in such sustained and evocative poetical terms. Whether one wants to understand touch, taste, smell, hearing, intuition or sight, this volume provides myriad avenues enabling a rich appreciation of sensory experience.’
The Six Senses (Authorised Theft) is birthed from the Prose Poetry Project. The miscellany casts a spotlight on boldly creative voices in Australia. Utterly worth a read.
5. Black Moon (2020) by Eugen Bacon (illustrated by Elena Betti)
Total self-promo, not in vain.
Black Moon is an illustrated collection of speculative flash fiction interspersed with prose poetry. It carries themes of love and war, life and the afterlife, hope and despair. The philosophical assortment questions normalcy, embraces opposition, and takes a keen interest on peculiarity. It’ll appeal to curious lovers of literary dark fantasy and all places in between.
Here’s a taster:
|Monument Eons of merry jingles in a disrepaired world closed with the release of a redacted report. The numbed lyric took to chanting slogans. Now she stands sentry, a silent tombstone.|
|Damaged Beyond Words Phone zombies incapable of loving meander across the streets in a smear of shapes, a rain of fate. Disenchanted with life, they shadow frenetic social media in tweets that never look like missing. Their silent march is a drum circle as lightning strikes and winter falls. Dogs yap yap as the zombies stalk our planet, their eyes glued on their smart phones, uncaring to gravity, friction or genuity as real people pass them by.|
SPECULATE: A COLLECTION OF MICROLIT
by Eugen Bacon & Dominique Hecq
From what began as a dialog between two adventurous writers curious about the shape-shifter called a prose poem comes a stunning collection that is a disruption of language—a provocation. Speculate is a hybrid of speculative poetry and flash fiction, thrumming in a pulse of jouissance and intensity that chases the impossible.
GENRE: Collection / Prose-Poetry / Speculative Fiction
BOOK PAGE: https://meerkatpress.com/books/speculate/
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Eugen Bacon is African Australian, a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. She’s the author of Claiming T-Mo (Meerkat Press) and Writing Speculative Fiction (Macmillan). Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.
Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. Her works include a novel, three collections of stories and ten books of poetry. Hecq’s poems and stories have been widely published in anthologies and journals. Often experimental, her work explores love, loss, exile and the possibilities of language. Kaosmos and Tracks (2020) are her latest books. Among other awards such as the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award, the Woorilla Prize for fiction, the Martha Richardson Medal for Poetry, and the New England Poetry Prize, Hecq is a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize.
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