Launch of Verity La Anthology No. 2 EMBODY

What does it mean to be embodied in human or animal form? How does our body — its size, colour, race, gender, abilities and disabilities — define us, and how do we relate to and shape it? How does living in a body empower us, and how does it make us vulnerable? And when we no longer possess a physical form, who are ‘we’ and where do we go…? 

These are just some of the questions the exciting works in Embody explore. From birth to sex to death and beyond, we hope this daring selection of poetry and prose, first published as individual pieces on Verity La between 2010-2020, will pull and push and prod its readers to probe their own unique experiences of embodiment. And we hope that in enjoying these pieces, readers might also come to more fully understand each other’s worlds, to view one another — in the words of Anna Jacobson’s poem ‘Serpent’ — as ‘whole’.  

Because while sharing stories in the face of climate catastrophe, global unrest and contagion might appear to some as futile, at Verity La we believe it is in fact a powerful form of literary activism: for when we read, we walk through our lives ‘together, swapping shoes’; when we read, we develop empathy, and empathy is what will ultimately inspire and equip us to collectively fashion a more peaceful world. — The Editors

What They’re Saying

This masterfully curated collection of top-notch poetry and prose contains familiar names and new voices from across the spectrum of contemporary Australian writing. Pieces from different genres are grouped thematically, leading to fascinating juxtapositions. The yellow gerberas in Rebecca Jessen’s funeral memoir ‘Hello Dolly’ chime with the ‘pink roses on the pew ends’ in the following poem, Amanda Anastasi’s ‘Portrait of a Departed Lady’. Saddiq Dzukogi’s poem ‘A Kind of Burden’ explores a father’s grief for a lost daughter (‘smoke that soars/ into the mouth of a sky/ where it has no voice’), while two poems later the grief reverses its generational flow, with Yvette Henry Holt’s evocation of a daughter’s grief for her ‘mother(s) native tongue’: ‘i am jealous./ what a recipe of speech?/ you never offered me your language./ never./ not once’.

The anthology’s overarching theme of embodiment / the body unifies the whole, without restricting it in a way that feels forced…The achievement is a considerable one: the editorial team and authorial talent of the Verity La community are to be congratulated on delivering a second anthology of vividly arresting writing.
    — Melinda Smith

Playful, passionate, exploratory, adventurous: exactly what we have come to expect from Verity La, and exactly what the world needs right now.
     — Nigel Featherstone

Featuring the writing of Daniel Young, Bronwyn Lovell, Belinda Rule, Robert Adamson, Anne Elvey, Kate Murdoch, Jo Langdon, Ivy Alvarez, Angela Meyer, Andy Jackson, Colin Hambrook, Ben Brooker, Tricia Dearborn, Diane Josefowicz, Rebecca Jessen, Amanda Anastasi, Emmett Stinson, Pete Spence, Justin Lowe, Linda Godfrey, Saddiq Dzukogi, SJ Finn, Yvette Henry Holt, Anthony Lawrence, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Jo Rendle, Shastra Deo, khuld khamis, Nathan Curnow, Craig Billingham, Anna Jacobson, Eileen Chong, Mike Ladd, Emily Riches, Stuart Barnes, Yi Chao Foong, Lucy Dougan, David Thomas Henry Wright, Teena McCarthy, Brenda Saunders, Melanie Saward, Kerri Shying, Julie Maclean, Indigo Perry, Emily Crocker, Autumn Royal, PS Cottier, Anne Casey, David Adès, Krissy Kneen, Jennifer Compton. Cover image: Lily Mae Martin. And a huge shout out to eBook designer Daniel Young!

Buy the Embody eBook from the Verity La Press Bookshop. 

Launch of Grief for Hire by Alise Blayney

Praise for Grief for Hire

The urgent rhythms of spoken word pound through these poems and jump off the page. The poems themselves are by turns frank, cryptic, psychedelic, chilling, funny and sexy as hell. The long final poem is a howling, circling, echoing odyssey through — and tribute to — a grief survived. — Tricia Dearborn

If these poems deal with violence, madness, grief and death they stare down such terrors with both a form and language that are nothing less than high velocity life-affirming, the end result being continuously memorable. It needn’t be every poet’s way, of course, but it sure is the Blayney way. — Alan Wearne

Poetry of love lived and fear uninhibited, remaking language & breaking the past present. Experimental, elegiac, extraordinary work no prescription can fill. — David Stavanger

Buy Grief for Hire in print and eBook from the Verity La Bookshop

About the Author

Alise Blayney completed a Creative Writing degree at the University of Wollongong in 2007. After taking a long hiatus from writing to recover from the trauma of her partner Benjamin Frater’s death in 2007, she is finally back in the saddle.

Alise is intrigued by the relationship between mental and emotional distress, and creativity. What trips her trigger is how word weaponry has the power to transmogrify reality, transcend trauma, dispel distress and make meaning of adverse experience.

She has worked across many facets in varied roles for both public and non-government mental health services as a Peer Support Worker since 2013, and is currently a Senior Educator and Peer Learning Advisor at the South Eastern Sydney Recovery & Wellbeing College. She is proud to be a part of the Mental Health Consumer, Psychiatric Survivor & Mad Pride Movements. Alise has been a Co-Editor with Tim Heffernan for The Clozapine Clinic at online creative arts journal Verity La since 2016. Clozapine Clinic is a creative writing project inspired by the late Benjamin Frater that aims to support writers with mental heallh issues who are wanting to HOWL.

In 2016, Alise co-facilitated the first Mad Poets workshop and featured at The Maddest Tea Party at Wollongong Writers Festival. She performed at Queensland Poetry Festival in 2017 and has performed at various MAD Pride concerts including the first Recovery Camp in NSW in 2016, the Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Conference in Sydney 2017, and the 2018 TheMHS Conference in Adelaide. In 2019 she co-facilitated the first ongoing series of Mad Poetry workshops in Wollongong with David Stavanger. Alise is thrilled to have recently come on board as Co-Managing Editor with Michele Seminara at Verity La.