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  • Published: Ginninderra Press
  • ISBN: 978176041776
  • Formats: Print

In First Blood, Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize winner Natalie D-Napoleon brings us a collection of poems that challenge our preconceptions of girlhood. Girls are sung about the world over, yet the selfhood of girls remains unknown: ‘her body was not hers, a stitch / of animal, a pinch of dirt, a girl / is made of words plus liquid minus time’. The daughter of Croatian immigrant farmers, D-Napoleon stitches together this debut collection of poems-as-memoir into a web of poems both created and found. The poems in First Blood explore our sense of belonging, confronting the bodily, visceral, antediluvian connections that we share with our homelands: ‘I am a seedling / plucked from my mother’s womb / …transplanted into the sand’.The fractured, post-colonial world of the poet’s rural Western Australian childhood is found in her formal explorations of the sestina, pantoum and sonnet, a dissimilitude that sits beside erasure poetry, free verse and random text generation. Between carrots and dust, short skirts and books, the poet unlearns herself and the stories of girls, forgotten and unseen, exploring the dreams countless generations have sown into the land – the zemlja – and how this legacy impacts upon the mythic creation and destruction of girlhood.

Tagged: Perth

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