February 2022: Gifting

From birth, I have been surrounded by books, stories, and poetry. My dad would lay me across his knees as he sat in his study, reading poetry. At the age of six I dictated poems to my dad. I was lucky to grow up in a home with a library. As an adult, in my own home, I still have a library. My partner built me floor to ceiling bookshelves to house my collection last year. The great thing about online journals like this, is you can carry a library of poems with you everywhere you go. This is a sentiment that is explored in Lee Ellen Pottie’s poem ‘Burrow’.

I have been reading a lot of verse novels over the past few years and have become increasingly interested in the relationship between narrative and poetry. The narrative of ‘Retail therapy…’ by Lynnnette Reeves which describes the joys of shopping for Christmas and attending family gatherings in the “heat of the summer” builds to the fabulous conclusion that even in the uncomfortable “muggy weather” of summer, seeing the “Happiness” of family opening presents, is always “worth it”. This poem is a gift as it reminds us to be grateful for the time we get to spend with loved ones. This is a gift that Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad’s poem ‘A cluster of sago pearls’ is aware of as the family find themselves having a Zoom Christmas because of Covid.

‘The Last English Class’ by Julia Kaylock is another poem that tells a narrative. The visual imagery of the last stanza makes the conclusion of this poem hopeful for the future, even as the story and friendship come to an end. Kaylock gifted Sefida time and, similarly, time is gifted in Denise Antaw’s poem ‘Volunteering for Amnesty’. Brenda Saunders’s poem, ‘PEN’, is again about the gift of time as the speaker writes letters to ask that writers held by foreign governments or groups be released.

This issue contains treasures that use poetic forms in interesting ways. If you’re a writer, I hope that you are gifted with inspiration as you read poems like ‘Gifting is a gift’ by Anita Nahal. This poem is written as a series of monoku poems. Owen Bullock’s ‘Dear Mother’ is written as a letter about fond memories. A poem written in two columns, ‘Seventy-three percent’ by Steph Amir, explores the struggles many LGBTQIA+ people experience as well as the strength of this community, who “scoff at the beige, the boring mainstream”. The concrete poem, ‘Encore’ by Anne Elvey, captures the meditation that music can gift to the listener.

I enjoy being part of a community of readers and writers. I have a poetry club at school. When Covid isn’t an issue, my students and I love going to art galleries and museums and writing ekphrastic poems. I meet fortnightly with a group of Southern Highlands poets. I benefit from the rich and sometimes heated discussion in this group as we talk about grammar, imagery, structure, and meaning within each others’ poems. Even before coming on as a managing editor for Burrow, I’ve been submitting to this journal. I view this journal as another literary community that I’m part of. I love the conversational nature of the contextual essays that some of the poems are accompanied by. These mini essays make me feel like I’m sitting with the poet, listening to them read and discuss their poem.

I hope that you feel grateful as you read these poems, many of which explore feelings of gratefulness. Enjoy the 59 gifts that are included in this issue.

To purchase Phillip’s most recent collection travel over to: https://recentworkpress.com/product/cactus/

And to watch freely on YouTube his extended West Words interview & poetry reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3_gR1gefys

Rhiannon Hall (managing editor)

New Beginnings by Steph Amir

Seventy-three percent by Steph Amir

Volunteering for Amnesty by Denise Antaw

Links by Erina Booker

The gift that gives twice by Margaret Bradstock

Ashes by Owen Bullock

Dear Mother by Owen Bullock

Haiku gifts by Owen Bullock

whip-flick flog by Christine Burrows

Branches by Gayelene Carbis

Still Wonderful by Gayelene Carbis

The darker the rose by Anne Carson

You, after I read by Anne Carson

Listening is a gift by Martin Christmas

Caring for Margaret by Kelle Cunningham

And again (nth time) by Kristen de Kline

Somewhere in the cut & blow-wave by Kristen de Kline

Thailand Silk by Kevin Densley

Holly Bush by Frank Diamond

Burrow by Lee Ellen Pottie

Encore by Anne Elvey

This glint by Anne Elvey

Dogs in Easter Church by Steve Evans

Magpies by Steve Evans

Miss Nelson’s Gift by Lorraine Gibson

A Gift that’s not a Gift by Hazel Hall

A Strange Epiphany by Hazel Hall

Complete by Rhiannon Hall

Bacchus in Ruins by Phillip Hall

A Way by Matt Hetherington

Sook by Matt Hetherington

Visiting by Marilyn Humbert

Terminal by Glen Hunting

Soils of my love by Noel Jeffs SSF

Address books by Adele Ogiér Jones

The Last English Class by Julia Kaylock

Avoidance- by Margaret Kiernan

when there’s not enough by Alana Kelsall

Immaterial Report by Allan Lake

of Literature, Love and Music by Mark Liston

Suburban Grace by Rose Lucas

What can be given by Rose Lucas

Karapincha: Endowments from My Mother by Suzi Mezei

Her Mother’s Gift by Clare Morris

The Beauty in Blackcurrant Jam by Clare Morris

Gifting is a gift by Anita Nahal

Adult Autism by Antony Owen

Last Poem by Chae Paterson

Gifts that Bind by Indrani Perera

Retail therapy… by Lynnette Reeves

PEN by Brenda Saunders

A Cute Queenly Choreographer by Ndaba Sibanda

Ingredients for Happiness by Megha Sood

The Hamstring Cup by Matt Stewart

Roots by Pri Victor

A cluster of sago pearls by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

Major Incident by Les Wicks

The Breakthrough by Les Wicks

THE EYES HAVE IT by Margaret Zanardo

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