Virtual launches

Ginninderra Press

Welcome to our virtual launches, showcasing recently published books that, because of Covid-19 restrictions, haven’t had a real launch.

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Infused with heart from its first delicate opening poem, this magnificent debut poetry collection is an elegant interplay of evocative forays between the poet’s internal and external worlds. There is an urgent stillness to much of this work, drawing the reader in with its tenderness towards every aspect of living. Rich with the colourful cadences of a childhood in Italy, the language pulses with vital, at times visceral, imagery.

Each detail is interwoven with a reverence often bordering the sacramental. The everyday act of brewing a coffee is elevated to the mystic as ‘the imprint of half a century of pourings’ materialises ‘a fluttering of uneven ghosts’. Wisdom and symbolism abound in this collection, where ‘there is meaning in the fall of a sparrow’ and a discarded prayer stool morphs into a Catholic inquisition.

There is melody, whimsy and wry humour hiding between darker truths as the poet reveals her unwavering compassion, particularly towards the most vulnerable. She does not baulk at ‘the violence that edged things’ in her childhood Italy, a stark contrast with the colourful romanticism of youthful reminiscences where scavenged pine-nuts are ‘sweeter than any pricey packaged import’.

Though wistful memoir in parts, the poet is never overtly sentimental. Dextrous juxtapositions are everywhere, as are her keen powers of observation. The first blush of maternal love nestles alongside a shocking diagnosis, ‘the distorted chambers of your small heart’. The poet artfully balances poignant delvings into family and ancestral history with a stripping away of polite society’s silky underskirts to reveal a sour underbelly where a ‘coiffured housewife with sherry breath risks losing her balance’.

Like ‘a latter-day suburban witch’ Denise O'Hagan conjures enchantment throughout this splendid collection, from ‘the silver turning of a leaf in the damp air’ to ‘the throwaway gift of a fallen petal’.

(based on the foreword by Anne Casey, poet)

The Beating Heart is available from Ginninderra Press or through your favourite online bookseller.

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In this time of global pandemic when many of us are confined to our home or neighbourhood and simple things have come into focus, the words of Britain’s Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, seem especially apposite:

Honour the miraculous of the ordinary…that the things right under our noses are extraordinary, fascinating, irreplaceable, profound and just kind of marvellous.

Roger Higgins is a poet who honours the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives. Even in the most exotic locations, he sees the human detail – the vital, vibrant minutiae of a walk on a beach in Chile, the colours of a jungle in Micronesia, a long train journey in Kazakhstan, a paddock in Australia, a car crash, a relationship, a father’s new Holden.

Facing the Sky is a literary gourmet’s delight of poetic riches; a feast at which to savour the fruits of this keen observer’s intelligent eye. Here in this eclectic collection, nature is made tactile and childhood memories are brought to life; there is humour in a fish’s tale, near tragedy in a blue Fiat and a gentle philosophy of life that is both perceptive and resonant.

The poetry here is refreshingly honest, often powerful and evocative. Congratulations to Roger (champagne corks popping and loud applause) and allow me to close with a quote from ‘We are waiting for rain’ which, though not written for this strange new world in which we find ourselves, throws into sharp relief the prescience and perception of this poet:

We are waiting for a downpour to unburden the air and wash the bloody streets clean. We are waiting for a well-formed wave to curl and carry us to firmer land. We are waiting for good news to break over us

Jennifer Kloester, author

Facing the Sky is available from Ginninderra Press or through your favourite online bookseller.