Modewarre: Home Ground
In poems that are as concentrated as pearls, Patricia Sykes explores various histories—her own, those of her forebears, and the wider histories of identity and place. Citing the intersection of three distinct philosophies with particular birds—the indigenous modewarre, the colonial biziura lobata, and the common Wathaurong musk duck—these poems set out on the winding paths of memory and aspiration, searching for answers to the questions What is home? and What is identity? Their context is local and universal, their voices are restless and insistent, their themes are as broad or as narrowly defined as the journey demands. Whether inquiring into the futuristic interventions of intra-uterine surgery, the soft and hard arguments of living outside of the placenta, or into the dispossessions of terrorism, these poems seek to confront and understand the complex meanings of belonging. Two of the included poems have received acclaim: "Modewarre—ways you might approach it" was highly commended in the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, and "Sanctuary: Swan Lake, Phillip Island" won the Tom Collins Poetry Prize.
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