February 2023: non-human companions
The poems in this issue reveal how our domestic pets (dogs, cats, and birds) can help us feel better, perhaps less lonely, when we are struggling with mental ill health. Phillip and I definitely benefit from the companionship of our dogs. Phillip has his Greyhound, Billy, and I have my 40kg lapdog, Xena.
Equally, these poems explore the importance of being in nature (in the bush or at the beach) for mental wellness. The ability to be mindful and pay close attention to the small things, like stick insects, butterflies, and frogs, can be healing. My partner (Jason) and I have tried to get to the beach once a week through January to allow time away from the day-to-day challenges of owning a business (we bought into a pizza shop in 2021); to reset before the new school year begins.
Some of the poets in this issue have explored mental health (good or otherwise) through the unique non-human companionship of a car, teddy bears, second-hand books and clothes, and even Santa Claus.
I hope that readers of this issue find the poems as rewarding to read as I did. Sometimes the poems are rewarding in their relatability, sometimes because of the unique exploration of mental health, and always because of the carefully considered use of language and line breaks.
Unfortunately, you will have to wait until February 2024 for the next issue of Burrow. I am a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Western Sydney and I am hoping to submit my doctorate in early 2024. To help me in meeting this goal, I’m planning a number of writer’s residencies and hopefully an overseas trip this year so that I can have some extended, distraction-free time to develop the plot of the verse novel that I am writing. I am writing a young adult verse novel that is set in a Western Sydney high school and explores themes related to mental health, sexual assault and harassment, as well as family and friendship. I began my doctorate in 2018 and have been working part-time on my verse novel and research into the verse novel form and how the intersection between poetry and prose can assist in conveying an ‘authentic’ voice for teenage characters. The rest of my time is taken up by full-time teaching. The complications of my verse novel have existed since 2018 but there are still gaps in my narrative. So, 2023 is going to be a year of writing and, of course, editing for me.
To purchase Phillip’s most recent collection travel over to: https://recentworkpress.com/product/cactus/
Rhiannon Hall (managing editor)
This issue is dedicated to the fabulous poet, Julia Kaylock, who has been published in every issue of Burrow and sadly passed away on the 15th of January, 2023. Julia was a most generous supporter of Australian poetry in general, and of Burrow in particular. We cherish her memory.
Meal Time by Duane Anderson
Who Called The Taxi by Andrew Ballard
This is It! by Gryphon Beyerle
Catspeak by J V Birch
Two Bears by Erina Booker
A piece of doggerel by Margaret Bradstock
Animal empathy studies: Domestic observations by Anne M Carson
Stripped bare by Owen Bullock
Backyard bounty by Colleen Z Burke
After the rain by Anne Collins
‘… a mixture of gravity and waggery’ by PS Cottier
Happiness by Charles D’Anastasi
Death of a Friend by Julie A. Dickson
Cracked Windshield by Jonathan Ferrini
the painted lady by Jacob Friesenhahn
Tending by Stephanie Green
Bush Therapy by Hazel Hall
Dogs of Gallipoli by Marilyn Humbert
REFERENCE WORK IN SIN by Glen Hunting
Unequal Exchange by Catherine Karnitis
Without You by Julia Kaylock
WOMAN TO DOG by Moira Kirkwood
Logan’s Beach in winter by Rose Lucas
The Revival Op Shop by Suzi Mezei
David by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
Choices by Diana Raab
What It Means to Be Human by Maree Reedman
Our gardens by Fotoula Reynolds
A Diary for Christmas by Jeanna Ní Ríordáin
Urban Wilderness by Margaret Owen Ruckert
Within by Ibtisam Shahbaz
White cockatoos by Adam Stokell
Resolution by S.R Wise
JAZZ MAN by Margaret Zanardo