Shortlist year: 
2014
Shortlist category: 
Poetry
Published by: 
Pitt Street Poetry

About the book

Book cover of Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call
Winner

A little wonder-bomb arrived tonight,

Lobbed wailing into corridors of white;

Distilling all those possibilities:

Only this head, these hands, this nose, these knees:

Unique and irreversible and here.

Serenity explodes. I need a beer.

Judith Wright’s better-known works include poems such as ‘Woman to Child’. Yet, certainly when compared with Melinda Smith’s poems, Wright’s seem distant, as if she is observing her experience rather than living it, and determined to make it universal rather than personal.

Melinda Smith’s poems about motherhood, in contrast, are vital and vivid and clearly the product of the agonies and joys of a woman’s life lived and felt to the full. For those readers accustomed only to the euphemised or sentimentalised views of motherhood which still dominate mainstream culture, some of these poems may come as a shock.

George Thomas, Quadrant