AustLit logo

AustLit

Sarah Holland-Batt : The Jaguar single work   review  
Issue Details: First known date: 2023... 2023 Sarah Holland-Batt : The Jaguar
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Sarah Holland-Batt’s brilliant new book is very much built around her father’s long illness and eventual passing. Not only is it the subject of the book’s first of four sections but the final section, which looks like being – like the third section of her previous book, The Hazards – about place and culture, is distorted, as it progresses, into poems about firstly her grandfather and his place – Gibraltar during the war – and finally her father in the long concluding sequence, “In My Father’s Country”. Not that readers of Holland-Batt’s work won’t have met the father before. He appears in “The Woodpile” an early poem of her first book, Aria, chopping wood in what seems to be a symbolically significant scene: the stacked wood encourages decay and various kinds of spider although “the heartwood burnt longest”. And in “Embouchure” and “The Flowers on His Bedside Speak of Eternity”, both from The Hazards, we re-encounter him, this time in a serious stage of the illness. The grandfather, especially his painting, also appears in two poems of Aria. In the light of the intense focus of The Jaguar, these seem like preliminary sketches, poems more interested in the poet’s unease than in forensically describing the father’s illness and seeing how something so extended and debilitating can be approached by poetry. We also find a reference to her father’s death in her excellent book of brief studies of individual Australian poems, Fishing for Lightning, when she looks at Brendan Ryan’s “A Father’s Silences” as an example of elegy. She has a response that reminds me of my own when my first child was born: astonishment at the fact that the world seemed to be going on in its ordinary way as though it were unaware that something earth-shattering had occurred. Of course, she met with “things dying, I with things newborn”.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 4 Jul 2023 11:34:41
http://www.australianpoetryreview.com.au/2023/07/sarah-holland-batt-the-jaguar/ Sarah Holland-Batt : The Jaguarsmall AustLit logo Australian Poetry Review
Review of:
  • The Jaguar Sarah Holland-Batt 2022 selected work poetry
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X