That zero year

That zero year is the publication of work Tiggy and I have collaborated on over the past year. It deals with all things parenting and kids, hits raw nerves in places and I’m stoked to be placing it out there for readers to enjoy. I love what these three brilliant poets have to say and feel truly blessed to have their words donning the back cover: 

From the sudden weight of Thirteen weeks to the biting complaints of Fishing, That zero year screams with joy. These poems form a dialogue of love and loss; unpicking stitches in the family weave to welcome us to the bedside table of these most private moments. Here, we witness breath-taking devastation – the missing knee in the chest, the remembered rub of a belly – and wide-eyed wonder – a smile wriggled through to the toes. That zero year is an unflinching celebration of breath and blood. Phillips and Johnson know what it is to be alive and we are richer for it.

Graham Nunn

This collection is like an unsuspecting orientation manual, uniting what appears to be uncomplicated materials, recognisable motifs, familiar situations and mapped out structures but, in all reality, holds the weight of ten sinking cities and leads me back to that Talking Heads lyric, ‘how did I get here?’

Pascalle Burton

As reflections on domestic life and the intimacy of family, these are fine poems. But as portraits of loss, love, and grief, and of what happens in the months and years that follow tragedy, they are vivid, unflinching, and beautiful.

Michelle Dicinoski

The book will be available for purchase at the QPF bookshop this weekend. We will be performing our set on Sunday morning so if you’re around Brisbane, we would love to see you there – 11am at Judith Wright Centre and here’s a taste of what you’ll get if you pick up a copy of That zero year.

The home midwife

She pulls up in a hatchback,
carries her leather case swollen
with years in and out of waters

a little vial of rose oil
and herbs transferred through bellyskin
to help the body yawn.

She walks down a hallway
to brew a pot of raspberry leaf,
fennel, singing nettle

and chats between the heavy breaths,
makes a joke about stir frying the placenta
but doesn’t laugh.

No phone code or knife sharpening
for spine on spine, head up bottom down
or umbilical wrapped around the neck

she has whispering hands;
chinese point massage to coach
an aquatic half somersault
and unfurl the ribbon.

She reads faces too
guides a father’s hands
to be in on the magic of catching skin
slippery as water

it’s a black art
to let a baby happen
in your living room.

We are here to witness

his deep breaths, shifting
feet, light chatter with the boys.
While we wait 
for her 

they play 
a documentary-peek through each other’s eyes;

the first date dark sunglasses 
her laugh (no one ever sees) 
proposal in the west end 
studio – curtain 
into narnia, he stands

waiting among conifers in december snow
blowers, a single rose, bent
knee.  She said… 

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, please be up…’

standing
beside my beloved 
five rows back. Thank God 
I’m on this side
of proposal.

Call-Back-Poet! Yeewwww!

SpeedpoetsSpeedpoets Call-Back-Poet

Hop over to the Speedpoets website to check out my new poem ‘The home midwife’ I read at Speedpoets open mic last month. I was stoked to be called back up to the mic again to read a couple more poems. August Speedpoets happens this Saturday 4th at Brew, 2pm.

QPF Interview

The Queensland Poetry Festival is just around the corner. You’ll find the interview with Tiggy and I over at the Queensland Poetry Festival website. Click on ‘Program’ to find all the brilliant artists performing at QPF later this month. I hope you come along to enjoy the weekend festival of words and sounds.  It’ll be spectacular.