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The Lactic Acid in the Calves of Your Despair

Ali Whitelock

The Lactic Acid in the Calves of Your Despair
love is not to tiptoe around the crust of your soul, rather
it is to descend into the fire of your molten core without a harness,
asbestos suit, or dry ice; it is to suffer third-degree burns;
it is to gasp for breath; it is to watch canaries die.

Political, profound, profane. These poems of defiant disobedience crash through the barriers erected to keep us contained. Writing with humour and tenderness, Ali Whitelock takes us through the parched landscape of life, death, love, fear, regret and the unbearable sadness of losing a dog.

And particularly topical in the aftermath of the destructive Australia-wide fires, the powerful 'this is coal don't be afraid' is a found poem made up of statements by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Rural Fire Service, as well as relevant tweets and quotes, collated to create an extraordinary piece to make us shiver.

this is coal don't be scared don't be afraid seek shelter from the heat of the fire. but look, the girls and jen, they love holidaying in hawaii and so we've had a few nice days here. drink water to prevent dehydration evacuate your horse to the beach have your children row for their lives. australians will be inspired by the great feats of our cricketers this is not about climate change

Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet and writer living on the south coast of Sydney with her French chain-smoking husband. This is her second poetry collection. Her debut collection And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can was published in 2018 by Wakefield Press; a UK edition will be published by Polygon in 2020. Her memoir Poking Seaweed With a Stick and Running Away from the Smell was launched to critical acclaim in Australia (2008) and the UK (2009) and she has read at festivals and events in Edinburgh, Ireland and Australia. Her poetry has appeared in The Moth, American Journal of Poetry, Glasgow Review of Books, Bareknuckle Poet, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Tahoma Literary Review and all sorts of other rather fabulous places.

Praise for The Lactic Acid in the Calves of Your Despair
'These intimate poems in Whitelock's second collection pulse with ear-popping language, wit, mischief, heartbreak, and hilarity.' - Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, novelist, poet, reviewer

'Fans of Ali Whitelock's distinctive blend of sharp, insightful, prosaic, no BS humour blended with the intimacy of confession won't be disappointed.' - Magdalena Ball, Compulsive Reader

'This collection is glorious in the true meaning of the word. It is a celebration of the darkness in life, the epiphanies of bereavement and the banality of existence and how important it all is. What a poet. What a voice.' - Jenny Lindsay, Flint & Pitch

'These poems are so miserable that I laugh and I laugh. My heart cries as well. My soul is stirred. I stop mid-verse and go back to the start of the poem, reading in near-disbelief. Reading as if I donít know whatís coming even though Iíve just read the exact same lines. They feel different, surprising and wonderful, each and every time. Congratulations Ali on another very fine book. Your best to date. May you climb many more hills with your words. And burn deep Ė through despair and towards a sustenance that approaches its own form of happiness. The grief in these poems is profound; is palpable. The loss of children and the ability to conceive, the loss of a parent Ė the grieving, still and always, for a relationship that was never really quite there. These are tough hills to climb. And itís Aliís sincere wish that when climbing the mountain of life the lactic acid in the calves of your own despair will not burn too deep.' Ė Simon Sweetman, Off the Tracks
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743057049
Extent 112 pages
Price: AU$22.95 including GST
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