The Unsuspecting Sky
A6 32pp ISBN 978-0-9805088-1-9
$9.90 including postage
(cover illustration by Elena Elisseva)
Carolyn Fisher's The Unsuspecting Sky was the winner of the 2008 PressPress Chapbook Award. There was a large and competitive field for this award and the competition was close. Fisher's poems are clear and present an accessible vision of the natural and social world around her. The poems in the chapbook have been written over a number of years when Fisher was a recipient of Australia Council and Arts Tasmania grants.
Carolyn Fisher grew up in Somerset, England. She worked as a physiotherapist in Australia, Saudi Arabia and Malawi before migrating to the north west coast of Tasmania in 1992.
She received a mentorship through the Tasmanian Writers' Centre with poet Sarah Day in 2002, an Arts Tasmania grant in 2003 and an Australia Council grant in 2004.
She was selected for the Macquarie Bank Poetry Masterclass comprising of a week at Varuna Writers House in 2006.
Her poems have been widely published in literary journals in Australia and the UK and a number have been anthologized, most recently in the Max Harris Award 2007 anthology. She was also included in the anthologies Best Australian Poems 2004 and Best Australian Poems 2005 and was a runner up in the Gwen Harwood poetry prize 2005.
She was a featured poet at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival in 2001 and 2005 and has read at venues in Tasmania and Victoria.
The Unsuspecting Sky is her first collection of poems and was the winner of the inaugural PressPress Chapbook Award.
I'd like to tell you
how night decked out the village
after a day as hot as the local
fish dish, how the relief
kept folk playing cards
outside their huts by gaslight.
About a man who knew the place
like the back of my hand
as it lingered in his, turning,
palm to face palm, lines read
between lines, about our closed clam
of interlocked fingers.
I want to say it felt reckless
to be led as if blind between
coconut palms to a well.
That rations of moon
were served by each scoop
of wet worn flagstone
and as I flicked the shoes from my feet
I knew this was a moment
I'd replay: the strain stressing
his body's lean lines,
collar-bones like a pair of scales
counterbalanced by the bucket,
drawn hand over hand, tendons
as taut as the rope that held it.
His arms shivering with weight
as he lifted, paused, then tipped.
But the truth is
I was tiddly on a couple of bottles
of Kingfisher beer and remember
clearly just this: a slow smile
on the bucket's lip
as I looked up, the long tongue
of water glancing back over
my head and shoulders,
what its cool fingers said
to the small of my back,
what they did.
So immersed that the past
and the future melted at my feet
in a luminous pool.