Published: March 2022
Acanthus is the third collection of poetry by lauded Perth-born poet Claire Potter. Collapsing formal categories such as human/animal, ancient/modern and urban/natural, these poems open up worlds of strange and wonderful combinations. Icarus visits a women’s only swimming pond, a web’s ‘lacy steeple’ is seen from a spider’s eye, Lake Monger and the Wagyl are referenced alongside European landscapes and mythology, while a fox on a night street becomes a magical creature. Many poems register transition, flux and change, even in the frustrating drift of a writer’s draft, away from ‘the invisible’. But the poems equally concern themselves with effort, such as ‘Plant Poem’, which reflects on the decision of a plant to grow towards the sun. The narrator of these poems often seems like a human-animal-poet, one who wanders, desires, observes and remembers, all the while following something like instinct: to seek words that evoke subtle transformations. With meditations woven throughout on the desire to write, Acanthus will appeal to readers who enjoy thinking deeply about the experience of writing.