Month January

  • Poetry update

    Hey-o! Today’s the day of the poets!

    1 – You should all come down to Wakefield Press at 4 pm on Saturday 14 February to celebrate one of this state’s premier poets, the inimitable Geoff Goodfellow. There’ll be wine, a giant poster unveiling (!), and I’m pretty sure Geoff can be convinced to give a reading or two —

    <em>Opening the Windows to Catch the Sea Breeze<em> event

    Ever read ‘The Seventh Doctor’? Yeah, of course you have. (If you haven’t, prepare to weep.)

     

    2 – Jill Jones, author of the amazing Dark Bright Doors, has won the Victorian Premier’s Poetry Award!
    Jill’s latest book, The Beautiful Anxiety (Puncher & Wattman $25) has been described as ‘an invigorating and unsettling mix of materialist and speculative writing on the interconnectedness of life amidst the environmental and cultural turmoil of the 21st century’.
    Read more about the winners here, and buy a copy of the gorgeous Dark Bright Doors here.

     

    3 – Maybe not quite poetry, or news, but I feel like y’all have been so well behaved that you deserve some Jackson Browne for your Thursday afternoon:

     

    You’re welcome.

     

  • A lovely review of Kate Strohm’s Siblings

    I think this book is a revelation. It has shone light to a lifetime of feelings and emotions that I could never really make sense of, until now.

    For anyone who has considered reading Kate Strohm’s wonderful book, Siblings:

    <em>Siblings</em>

     

    By Joe Cole (Phoenix Society):

    I think this book is a revelation. It has shone light to a lifetime of feelings and emotions that I could never really make sense of, until now.

    One of the many things that is to be greatly admired about this book is its truly honest account of the family experience in living with a child who has disabilities. Society inverts so much attention to the spiritual benefits of having a child with disabilities in the family, that it often seems like the ‘harsh truths’ – the severe hardships and tremendous difficulties – are being deliberately ignored, specifically the pressure of siblings to excel in effort to ease the pain of parents.

    Being an identical twin to an autistic brother, I have grown up with my ‘other self’ hanging off me, depending on me for guidance and protection. In some ways this was dignifying, but mostly it was a huge burden, especially given the expectations of some of my fellow relatives. For example, my grandmother, who is very religious, often says to me that ‘when God gave your mother two little boys, one was meant to be special, and one was meant to protect them’. My parents have done their utmost to relieve me of such responsibilities, and I love them for that. They didn’t want me to be Sam’s caregiver. They wanted me to have my own life, my own friends, and my own ambitions. And even though to this day I still sometimes feel like the ‘caregiver’, I can honestly say that my life no longer revolves around my ‘other self’.

    Kate Strohm demonstrates an accurate, but more importantly, an intimate understanding of the sibling experience that can only be shared by another sibling.

    Above all this, what I appreciated most about this book was that I felt like I wasn’t reading from the clinical perspective of a psychiatrist or other field professional. Kate Strohm demonstrates an accurate, but more importantly, an intimate understanding of the sibling experience that can only be shared by another sibling. There is something immensely reassuring in reading the stories of other individuals who have siblings with disabilities. Not only does it inform people like myself that we are not alone, but it also helps us to realise that all of the reoccurring emotions such as anger, embarrassment, guilt and grief are all perfectly natural, and need not be denied, bur rather shared and acknowledged.