Burrow at Old Water Rat Publishing
Where Mental Health Meets Crisis: The Geography and Psychology of Place (Under Threat)
We are a bi-annual e-journal publishing poetry and other micro texts each February and September. While our focus is what it is to live with poor or good mental health, we are very interested in where this intersects with such priorities as: ecocriticism & ecopoetics, postcolonialism, ekphrasis, progressive religion & secularism.
Phillip has lived with depression for a long time. For over twenty years he was a teacher, sports coach and hike leader, often working with disengaged teens. He has never been very successful at achieving a ‘work/life’ balance, and loved his job a little too much, so carried many emotional loads. As a young adult he was also rocked by three bereavements in the space of a few years. All of this reached a crisis in late 2014 with a breakdown and suicide attempt, a period of hospitalisation, and a diagnosis of severe depression, PTSD and high levels of social anxiety.
Phillip continues to live with poor mental health, and it defines too much of his experience. This e-journal is our act of defiance.
Jillian has experienced depression first hand and as a carer. As a teacher of adolescents, she often finds herself on the frontline of identifying and referring young people to find support for their mental health. She believes that mental health is as important as physical health and is passionate about breaking down the taboos surrounding mental illness.
As a reader and English teacher, Jillian has spent decades reading, analysing and sharing poetry. She now spends down time surrounded by poets and footy fanatics and regularly lends her ear and eye to workshopping and editing both.
Burrow is a poetry journal, but it is not aimed at any elitist or exclusive readership. Poetry is best when it is for everyone!
So, when you email through a poem, include with it a single paragraph essay that outlines some of its context, origins and sources. This paragraph will be published with your poem, as a welcome, greeting your audience with some possible reading paths.
As an example of what we like to read:
Animal Liberation I: Hounded for Charlie Brown, my first rescue greyhound I was the dregs hitting the floor but still I could cup the palm of my hand over your cranium, fingers scratching that spot behind your ears, courting for you a ceasefire in this alien space of comfort & love & treats What mass grave of neglect might have been yours after a life unsuccessfully racing, when camera/lights/action are whittled down to a concrete pen You came to me biting yourself, your face a host of tics & yawns, too scared for outside – the trace of misuse And yet, in saving you, our self-harming is more or less unneeded & in my townhouse turned kennel we are becoming safe
II: Sir Jay Jay Raids Rich for Billy Blue, my second rescue greyhound raced for the punters a homebred genuine stayer hooked out wide for speed star spoils & his trainers manage the racing agenda after deep pockets fracture his accessory carpal bone to get him back on track surgeons amputate front right toes Sir Jay Jay is out there a distance superstar rent asunder from the field but a hundred grand in prize money is stillborn when it comes to post-racing care so a hobbled champ is up for grabs as Billy Blue he is my knight in shining brindle velcro-hound snoot to snoot limping from treat to soft toy squeak these new-fangled lures lugged to a den now his snooza snuggler long-haul dog-love redeeming Charlie & me
Phillip and Jillian