Barnacle Rock is a collection of poems about battling against the odds. From the earliest explorers attempting to fill in the map of 'The Great South Land,' to our current failure to preserve our inherited environment, the protagonists find themselves, as the book's title might suggest, 'between a rock and a hard place.' Following on from Coast, this collection deepens our understanding of Australia's fraught history and poses important questions about the future.
“To read Margaret Bradstock’s poems in Barnacle Rock is to be given the gift of place richly layered by its past. The past is opened up for us, slivers and snapshots, voices and visions of early explorers and settlers facing the vast continent and its coastline and their encounters with Australia’s first inhabitants, whose presence is a persistent echo ghosting the entire collection. To live in the twenty-first century is to face the devastations of peoples, land and oceans by settlement, mining and industry. How uncomfortable is our brief stay on this earth when viewed from the deeper perspectives presented here – and yet, with their acute observations and vivid detail these beautifully crafted and researched poems are a real celebration of being alive in the world.”
What the critics said about Coast:
“Judiciously interpolating primary-sourced materials, Bradstock's poems do well by this maritime history, lending intimacy to distant voices…”
—Kerry Leves, Overland.
Margaret Bradstock is a Sydney poet, critic and editor. She lectured at the UNSW and has been Asialink writer-in-residence at Peking University, co-editor of Five Bells, and on the Board of Directors for Australian Poetry. Her poetry is widely published and has won awards, including the Wesley Michel Wright Prize for The Pomelo Tree. Barnacle Rock is her sixth collection.
“Barnacle Rock is time-travelling through poetry. Its significance lies in Margaret Bradstock’s successful inscribing of a journey, from the search for a land of plenty by various explorers, to the position we find ourselves in now: a climate in crisis, a civilisation in error and a country which has displaced its indigenous people, replacing their knowledge with a rusted ‘progress’. Dense, a rich read, it alerts the mind into awareness.”
ROBYN ROWLANDS, Cordite
“…And during this journey through time and space, the reader encounters a full-length portrait of Australia – geographic, social and moral. The examination is close and critical. The title’s metaphor imagines white settlement and society as a layer of barnacles fastened to this continental rock, and the book explores ecosystems of beach, basalt and brutality. There’s elegance in the writing, freshness in the imagery and pace in the telling, but there’s also heart – Margaret Bradstock cares about Australia, and the direction in which it is headed.”
JOHN UPTON, Mascara Literary Review
“Barnacle Rock is her sixth poetry collection and displays a keen eye for the visceral context of some groundbreaking history, embracing the discovery and exploration of Australia.”
IAN MCFARLANE, The Australian