More Reviews for Engraft

1engraft_cropped_cover_02-12-15-2I’ve been lucky to receive a number of very positive and thoughtful reviews of my poetry collection, Engraft: one by Mary Cresswell in Plumwood Mountain; another by Magdalena Ball in The Compulsive Reader; and a third, by Alyson Miller, in Cordite Poetry Review. My sincere thanks to the reviewers and to the editors of these excellent journals — Anne Elvey, Magdalena Ball and Kent MacCarter, respectively. Below is an extract from the Cordite review:

In ‘Sky Burial’, a poem about ‘the secrets inside / that we shamefully hide’, Seminara offers a provocation: ‘So listen / why don’t we share them? / Cut our guts open / and air them?’ It is an invitation to confession, but the visceral imagery is also a confrontation, an insistence on exposure which characterises much of Engraft, Seminara’s debut collection of poetry. Indeed, Engraft is often focussed on conflict and opposition, on a brutal pulling away of surfaces to reveal – and at times, even revel in – pain, loss, and confusion. The consequence of such fierceness is a series of uncomfortable realities: the cruelty of love and birth; the violence of frustration; and the disappointing failures of self. In cutting open that which is hidden, and allowing ‘birds of carrion’ to feed on what is found there, Seminara constructs a hopeful, albeit macabre vision, in which ‘dark feelings’ might ‘transmute […] to food’. This suggestion of transformation and consumption (and even of transubstantiation) is gothic in nature, yet an apt metaphor for creativity; a kind of vampiric leeching. Certainly, in explicitly drawing on poets such as Shakespeare, Dickinson, Plath, Hughes, Bishop, and Lowell, as well as Kafka, Duras, Solzhenitsyn, and Joyce, Engraft is both polyphonic and parodic, including letters, prayers, homages, re-mixes, erasures, ekphrases, and found poems. The combination of so many modes and voices ought to be jarring, yet a synthesis is achieved in a repetition with difference that is as concerned with tradition as it is renewal.

You can read the rest of the Cordite review here, and buy a print or ebook copy of Engraft here.

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Engraft Reviewed in Mascara Literary Review!

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I’m thrilled that Engraft has received its first review, and that it didn’t say anything terrible, and that it was published in such an esteemed journal. My thanks to Michelle Cahill, editor of Mascara, Anna Couani (for not saying anything terrible!) and, of course, to Island Press (Phil Hamial, Les Wicks and Martin Langford) for publishing the book in the first place.

Island were fantastic to work with and I feel honoured to be among the long list of incredible poet’s they’ve published.  Founded in 1970, they’ve made a significant contribution to independent Australian publishing, and I dearly hope that their recently cut Australia Council for the Arts grant will be reinstated so the press can continue.

If you’d like to learn more about the colorful history of Island, take a look at the first and second installment of this article published in Rochford Street Review. It’s a fascinating window into the world of poetry and publishing in Australia over the last 45 years.

And please click over to Mascara to read Engraft’s first review!

 

Engraft Launched at the 3rd Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Arts Festival at NSW Parliament House

2016posterpage001-600x848A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be part of the 3rd Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Arts Festival, an inspirational event directed by poet, activist, feminist and filmmaker Saba Vasefi. I first read my poetry at this event in 2014, and have since become firm friends with Saba, working with her on the festival each year as its communications editor. Which made it all the more thrilling to have her launch my first poetry collection, Engraft, at this year’s festival on 16 March at NSW Parliament House. It was an AMAZING night — one look at the festival poster will tell you that. What a talented, intelligent and passionate group of women!

In her generous introduction to Engraft, Saba said:

“It’s a great pleasure for me to launch Engraft, the first poetry collection by Michele Seminara. Ever since I’ve known her, Michele has been a poet who is always at the forefront of supporting platforms for subaltern writing and multicultural cohesion. Engraft charts the darker waters of the human psyche, exploring themes of abuse, loss, family dynamics and the role of women as mothers, lovers, artists and spiritual beings. It is Michele’s fierce commitment to witness with clear eyes the challenging and joyous experiences that unite us as women which give the poems of Engraft their power.”

Thank you, Saba, for your heartfelt book launch, and for your work supporting women of all ethnicities to express themselves. The Women’s Poetry Festival is emerging as a unique and important contribution to the literary and feminist movements in Australia, and I am proud to be involved.

Saba Vasefi

Saba Vasefi launching Engraft

Michele Seminara

Me, looking slightly less nervous than I felt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My poetry roadie, aka the long-suffering husband.

My poetry roadie, aka the long-suffering husband

 

 

 

 

 

Srubbing up OK for the night.

We scrubbed up alright on the night!

 

 

 

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A full and culturally diverse audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to read some poems from Engraft you can do so here and here, and if you feel inspired to buy a copy (hooray!) please click on the button to the right of this post.