To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Rumour

Kelman, A, Hooper, J, Sanchez, N, Prokop, R, and Lee, V (eds.)
Tide, 9th Edn, 2012, 115pp.
Available at:

Every edition of the Faculty of Creative Art’s journal, Tide, sparks rumours of greatness. For those of you who have not heard of Tide, it is a literary journal produced by third year creative writing students. The 2012, 9th edition of Tide showcases a quality of writing, imagination and vision that I was not prepared for when Ashleigh Kelman proudly presented a copy to the South Coast Writers Centre.

Kelman, and all of the 2012 Tide team, had every reason to be proud! This edition has it all, from poetry and short stories about love, war, popular culture, drugs, death and much more, all connected by the central theme of ‘endings’.

The theme that I am most engrossed by is that of rumours. The literary virtuosity found in the poetry and stories of this edition can only be interpreted as a rumour of the success that awaits these emerging authors and poets.

Elizabeth Stevenson’s story ‘Devotion’ is a cold tale of cause and effect, which details a sibling power struggle and eventually a murder. It ends with the same ‘tap-tap-tapping’ sound that it begins with, but the perpetrator is no longer Michael’s sister, but Michael himself. The story begins:
“She sat on the divan, eyes narrowed and cold, looking down at him… tap-tap-tapping her fan on her smirking lips. They were painted a deep red. Red like the wine. Red like blood” (36).
The tapping at the beginning of the story does not only contribute to the cause of the final murder, but is also a rumour of the kind of anger that lies within the downtrodden Michael, the kind of anger that leaves a man seeing ‘red’. The repetition of colour and sound invites a reader to sympathise with the murderer and positions the victim in the role of the antagonist.

Tide has set off a series of causes and effects, encouraging many of these emerging writers to further experiment with their form and to search out more publishing opportunities. Thus, the ‘tap-tap-tapping’ continues.

Nicholas Brooks is one writer whose work continues to grab my attention. His story ‘Drew’s House’ opens up a families suffering, allowing a reader to view the bubbling rawness of grief, as the characters struggle to accept Drew’s condition.  Brooks has a way of beginning his stories; after the first few lines my blinkers are up, and I have eyes and ears only for the story. It is in the simplicity of his descriptions, and in his short, concise sentences, that I am mesmerised. The combination of these is found in ‘Drew’s House’, which begins:
“Drew’s dad is watching television when I walk in. Something loud, mindless. A cigarette rests in an ashtray on the arm of the couch; smoke rises towards the ceiling” (69).
The pain, confusion and anger that are felt by the characters are expertly suggested, if you will, rumoured in the noise and haze of these first three sentences.

Whispers of Brooks’ determination and skill can be found in dark corners of the internet. I am a proud follower of his WordPress blog ‘readingroomofhell’. Brooks’ voice can also be heard at the Literary Society meetings and at the South Coast Writers Centre’s fiction writing workshop.

I am excited for the writers who were published in Tide 2012, because I truly believe that they are all very talented. I am looking forward to following all of their writing careers.

Samantha Lewis’ poem, ‘Means’, is another piece of writing that details a series of cause and affects. Lewis’ capturing of the events and emotions experienced by a young man fighting in a war in Afghanistan, to an older man, still traumatised by the events of his youth, is powerful. It is a real credit to Lewis that she was able to successfully portray this character. Her poem constructs a moving antiwar argument.

There are so many other poems and stories that I could write about, but I will leave you with a rumour, the rumour that the poets and authors published in Tide 2012 have exciting literary careers in front of them.

This article was first published in Tertangala: University of Wollongong's Student Magazine: The F-Word (2013).

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