Oz Hardwick

Before they built the houses, this was land without mercy, land without name. This was where dogs came to grow their teeth and cats came to take on their midnight shapes before drawing the breath from sleeping children. We’d goad each other into intricate spaces, baring our uncertainties and facing our hand-me-down fears like broken mirrors. We’d shout ourselves invisible, leaving only staccato echoes hanging like abandoned laundry on a line strung between storm-scrubbed mile posts on a road no one walks. We’d collect spent shells and bugs in jars that would metamorphose into question marks with bloodshot eyes and nagging voices before sighing into stones and soil. Then came the houses, with their brittle shells and commodification of space, their dogtooth doorways and windows steamed with pilfered breath. No one will ever live there, but from the air it looks like an advert for the perfect family, with a dog, a cat, and a future designed by an infinite number of monkeys.

Oz Hardwick is a European writer working mostly in prose poetry and mostly in a state of troubled uncertainty. He has won many prizes – mostly raffles – and has trouble negotiating the debatable space between award and awkward. His new collection, A Census of Preconceptions, is due from SurVision Books late in 2022. Oz is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University (UK) and can neither sing nor dance.



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