a bud


a bud, published by John Leonard Press in 2006, was shortlisted in the John Bray SA Festival Awards for Literature in 2008.

The poems in this collections are spare, in the tradition of imagism, from haiku through to surrealism and since; and they are oblique, worked between logic and illogic. The voice is lucid to hear. It is playful and wise; its reflections take the daily things and emotions, with a background of rural Victoria in some of the imagery; and its rhythms feel fresh to a syllable.

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Praise for a bud

2008 South Australian Festival Awards for Literature, John Bray Prize (shortlisted). Judges’ comments:

‘This is an exceptional first book. Clare Gaskin’s poetry is eloquent and attentive, bright with striking and precise images, yet has a darker undercurrent acknowledging absence and pain. She writes, often obliquely, of the elemental and the transient – children, flowers, cats, clouds, rain, birds, dreams, leaves and wind. Her spare, disciplined structures stringently contain and intensify the emotions evoked, and her sculpted style can make of a poem an almost tangible object of beauty.’

From Gig Ryan, Australian Book Review, March 2007, p.64:

‘In Gaskin’s long-awaited, first substantial book . . . [is] a partly surrealist mysticism, where observation precedes meaning – “the flywire cuts the sky into tiny squares. // in answer to your question there is none. // in answer to the fall is the ground”. . . Gaskin’s poems replicate the slipperiness of sensation and feeling, rarely with any overt continuous commentary; rather, they are often pointillist tics of images, often metaphor, forming matter as they progress . . . . A Bud is shaped around repeated talismanic words, particularly “earth”, “air-wind-breath”, “fire-flame”, “water-river”, and many images and words repeat in different poems to create a reflexive continuity from these basic elements.’

From Chris Grierson, Readings Monthly, December 2006, p.5:

‘Book of the year? Poetry of course! Claire Gaskin’s A Bud. I’ve always held the view that her imagist poetry is some of the finest writing in this country full-stop. Like haiku at its best, it’s beautiful, skewed and chillingly spare.’

From Gregory A Gould, Text Journal, October 2008:

Written in a sparse, yet poignant style, Gaskin’s poems do not hide behind language. In fact they celebrate it. Gaskin’s poems breathe. [Her] bare-bones approach has the ability to stop time. Meaning can be boiled down to a series of everyday objects that, upon reflection, have always held some sort of secret significance.

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