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The Herring Lass

by Michelle Cahill

Part of our Arc International Poets series

The Herring Lass explores human and animal migrations: how animals and birds survive extreme climate and resist assailants can provide reflections on our global engagements, the exodus of refugees. These poems consider the threshold between wilderness, history and social order where landscape becomes a place of violence, dispossession and loss. A woman's experience of fragmentation, exile, divorce, motherhood, is an undercurrent, her words wrestling with the consequences of these events.

Michelle Cahill's characteristically bold and restless poems in The Herring Lass migrate across continents and vast bodies of water, fearlessly interrogating dynamics of power and subjugation in both human and animal worlds, always striking against the tyranny and subjugation of the 'desiccating colonies' with a supple intellect and graceful musicality. Cahill fossicks through the detritus of language with a bowerbird's gleaming eye, producing a powerful and muscular lexicon that is hers alone, while always guarding against language's capacity to oppress and wound. The resulting poems are richly lyrical, intelligent and incisive.

Sarah Holland-Batt

A superb and complex book, deeply intelligent, pluralistic, linguistically rich, political with a sophisticated way of seeing place and space, intense in its convictions. It is necessary, startling and even invigorating — because there is no other way to confront the complexities of invasiveness, colonisation, trauma, loss... Cahill offers us a guide to unpicking the opacity of this damage; her poems are a lens to understanding and comprehension. I have world travelled with Cahill in this book, but not as a tourist — as a human observing the impacts humans have on each other, and on some of their many places.

John Kinsella

ISBN pbk 978-1910345-76-4
ISBN hbk 978-1910345-77-1
ISBN ebk 978-1910345-78-8
78 pages
Published 2016

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