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‘Returns’ published in Rabbit 29.

22 Jan

Rabbit is a journal for nonfiction poetry – a genre I find intriguing. The concept of “nonfiction poetry” makes me examine my creative process, where my poetry comes from, the illusion and reality as Christopher Cauldwell might say.  I realised that much of my work is grounded in my attempted understanding of my environment, of where I am, the history and politics that surrounds me and which has shaped me over the years – a history and politics that is sometimes hidden.

The theme for Rabbit 29 was ‘Lineages’, a word that could be interpreted in many ways  – creative lineages, personal lineages, family lineages and so on. I had been working on a sequence of poems that grew out of two recent trips I had taken to Ireland and these poems seem to fit the lineage theme very well. The sequence was called ‘Returns’ and is based around the notion of returning to a heritage and country that my family left a number of generations ago. My mother’s side of my family is predominately Irish, most of them having left Ireland for Australia in the years between 1850 and 1880, driven out by famine and persecution by the English. I grew up with my grandparents stories of Ireland, though they had never left Australia they had a vivid memory of place handed down to them through their parents. The 1916 Uprising had a profound impact on my grandfather and even 50 years later he talked of it with a passion.

‘Returns’ captures fragments of that history, my personal journey, the remembered/imagined journey of my ancestors and visiting places strong in a family memory passed down through generation. It is one of my lineages.

My thanks to editor Jessica L Wilkinson and guest editors for this issue Chi Tran and Matthew Hall. It is exciting to be included in such a strong collection of work.

Rabbit 29 is available from