Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Tourist—Limerick" by Libby Hart

The cry of a gull from God-knows-where
And the church bells
And the cars forever passing
And the girl screaming at the stopped car
And the horns tooting
And the girl saying: That’s crap, that is
And the little man in the passenger seat laughing his head off
And the lights of Paddy Power, all bright and shiny
And the smell of coal-smoke
And the cheap hotel room
where 1,000 other people have rested their sorry souls
And the broken tiles in the shower
And the chenille bedspreads
And the lace curtains that embrace the smell of cigarette smoke
And the red-emblazoned newsagent across the way
And the slick of the road as cars drive by like one endless engine
And the L-plate drivers who park their cars like dodgems
And the presence of a lack of presence
(and all that is left is desperation)

Here, a young girl scurries with a 12-pack of toilet rolls
against the roof of a pram

There, an old man sways in a gale all of his own making
©  Libby Hart
Published in This Floating World
Five Islands Press 2011
Reproduced on The Tuesday poem with permission.

Editor: Jennifer Compton
This lovely, fresh-faced, percipient book of poetry has done well for itself and it has caught the judge's eye three times. It's not a bit surprising because it is such a frisky yet elegant work, with an over-arching narrative that is elusive and seductive. Honestly it was like traveling around Ireland, clocking that, over-hearing this, breathing in the spirit of the place. And the craic is good. Libby lives in Melbourne and I bump into her from time to time, but somehow or other I have missed out on hearing her read. I must remedy that really soon.
Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year Awards
Longlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Libby Hart’s first collection of poetry, Fresh News from the Arctic, received the Anne Elder Award and was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize. She is a recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in County Monaghan, Ireland and a DJ O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship at The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne. Her poem, ‘The Briefcase Phenomenon’ was chosen for the inaugural Poetry in Film Festival in 2010 and filmmakers produced short films inspired by it. In the same year This Floating World was devised for stage and performed by Teresa Bell and Gavin Blatchford. These performances received the Shelton Lea Award for Best Group Performance at the 9th Melbourne Overload Poetry Festival Awards.

To find out more, you may like to click on:


Today's editor, Jennifer Compton, lives in Melbourne. Five Islands Press published Now You Shall Know last year, and this year Mākaro Press published her verse novella Mr Clean & The Junkie.

In addition to today's feature be sure to check out the wonderful poems featured by the other Tuesday Poets, using our blog roll to the left of this posting.


Helen Lowe said...

This has almost a "rap" feeling about it and paints a vivid, recognizable picture.

Thanks to Libby for giving permission and to you, Jennifer, for featuring it today.

Helen McKinlay said...

Libby uses the 'list' form most effectively to build a number of sharp observations into a poem which uses most of the senses and makes me feel I have been there before. Thanks to both of you Jen for sharing.